A Different Mindset


One of my favorite morning activities involves reading book related topics on NPR.  It’s fun to figure out what to look for at the library and discover new reads that might typically fall outside of my usual bailiwick.

The other morning, I clicked over to an author interview where the headline read “What It’s Like to be Held Hostage by Somali Pirates for 2 ½ Years” (I mean, how could I not click over with a headline like that?).  As I was reading, I came across this statement by the author of the book, Michael Scott Moore:

“On his line ‘Hope is like heroin to a hostage, and it can be just as destructive’

Hope was a cycle, and after a while, it became a destructive cycle. People say, “Well, how did you hang onto hope for two years and eight months?” And the fact is: I didn’t. I learned to live without hope. So having your hopes raised and then dashed every two weeks, which is what the guards tried to do — they would say, “Michael, don’t worry, you’re going to be out in two weeks, or a month” or something — was devastating. It was actually no way to live. And so I had to find a different level of existing. And it turns out you can live without hope. … Any Hallmark-like quotes to the contrary are wrong.

Well, hope and despair are just two ways of approaching the future. I don’t know which philosopher I’m paraphrasing, I think maybe Sartre, but — those are just two mindsets toward an uncertain future. And if you would recognize that, and simply don’t think forward toward the future, and don’t insist on a rosy outlook for the next couple of weeks or months or years, then you can live in the moment. And that’s what I had to learn to do. I would have snapped if I had done it any other way.”

It really spoke to me.  While infertility is, obviously, not the same thing as being kidnapped by pirates, what the author had to say there about hope made so much sense.  That cycle of having hopes raised, then dashed, then raised is a huge part of what makes infertility so tough to deal with emotionally.  I love the idea that, contrary to conventional ‘wisdom’, there’s another way to consider one’s circumstances.

This post is a part of Microblog Mondays.  If you want to read more, please head over to Stirrup Queens!  Thanks to Mel for originating and hosting.


3 thoughts on “A Different Mindset

  1. Wow! There’s so much wisdom here from someone who clearly lived in a traumatic situation. It’s hard to explain to those who have never been through something like this, but hope for a way out and something better can hinder one’s ability to get through the now.

    And now you’ve given me a lot more to chew on today.

  2. Mali

    Yes, this to me completely explains why infertility is so tough, and why – when you’re in the midst of it – you can’t necessarily imagine accepting what is your worst possible outcome, because hope is there every couple of weeks.

    It also explains Stockholm Syndrome, explains living without children and embracing your life, and perhaps even living with children, especially if it’s not everything you might have imagined it to be. We have to, as he said, find a different level of existing. It’s the human condition – we can adjust to almost anything.

  3. I could not love this more. I love when there are messages that fly in the face of the “never give up” and “always stay positive” greeting card nonsense. You’re so right — the ups and downs and cycles of hope and despair are what make infertility so very difficult to live through. I felt so relieved when we finally had resolution, as sad and grief-stricken as I was to leave without a baby, to be DONE with all the ups and downs was just such a gift. I wish that this mindset of living in the moment and was championed by all the fertility support entities — I feel like through support groups, acupuncture, yoga, etc I was bombarded by messages that to not feel the utmost hope was to curse yourself — and it nearly broke me. Great post.

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