The Gumby Story

When I was in college for my bachelor’s degree, my mother gave me a Gumby figurine.  This wasn’t on the order of a usual gift, she explained.  The Gumby figurine represented a reminder of how to cope with stress in my life.  “Gumby is flexible,” my mother told me, “Sometimes he winds up tied in knots.  Sometimes he stands tall.  He bends – sometimes a lot – but he doesn’t break.”

I hate to admit this, but I’m fairly sure I rolled my eyes internally.

Despite my belief that this was a bit silly, I kept Gumby on my desk all through finishing my bachelor’s degree.  When Arthur and I got married, he found a place in our new apartment.  Gumby finally has landed a spot on our bookcase in the living room, near to the clock.  Both of us glance at the clock regularly, and thus, see Gumby sitting there too, our visual reminder.

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Gumby sitting on our bookcase

With infertility, remaining flexible is a particularly important skill that I continue to work hard towards mastering fully.  It’s much easier for me to be flexible in other areas of my life, and I feel I’ve gotten quite good at it in a number of places.  Infertility, however, is such a high-stakes issue that it’s a bit harder to be flexible there.  I worry that if I’m too flexible, I’ll miss my chance to become a mother.

After my cycle was cancelled on Friday, a wave of “I can’t do this” swept through me.  Again, my infertility situation had shifted underneath me just as I was finding a footing, without warning and it knocked me right back onto my rear end.  Arthur and I had another sea change, one of several we’ve had to deal with since last October.  Yet again, we would have to dust ourselves off, orient ourselves in a new place, figure out which way was up, and how we wanted to deal.

So I cried for a little bit.  I called my mother, who was lovely and sympathetic.  I let myself feel sad and overwhelmed for a few minutes.  It sucked.  I walked into the living room, with the intention of going to the adjoining kitchen to get a glass of water.  Gumby caught my eye, smiling from the bookcase.  “I really hate you,” I told him, marching into the kitchen to grab my water.

The reminder was helpful, however, no matter how resentful I felt at that moment for it (what can I say, my mother was right about Gumby).  This isn’t to say I’ve picked myself up by my bootstraps and marched on – I’m still sorting out the surprise of getting the phone call yesterday afternoon that the doctor was cancelling my cycle and that this is the second cancelled cycle in a row (third, if you count the one that was cancelled at the outset for the cysts).

I’ve calmed down a lot about the idea of IVF if that’s what Dr. D recommends.  I think some of my initial intense fear/worry was more of a reaction to the surprise and upset of being told my cycle was cancelled.  I read blogs from people who have been through IVF cycles – both successful and unsuccessful – and recognize that if IVF is indeed where Arthur and I are headed, we are in good company.  I am in complete awe of these many people who have written so honestly about their IVF experiences.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.  It helps so much.

In the end, all I can do is continue to try to be like Gumby.  And apply plenty of metaphorical ice to those aching places when I just can’t be that flexible right then.

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2 thoughts on “The Gumby Story

  1. I am a big fan of wandering around the house randomly telling objects I hate them. I think it would be more freaky if you were super calm and philosophical about everything all the time. Telling stuff you hate it is… therapeutic.

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