Il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux.

“La lutte elle-même vers les sommets suffit à remplir un cœur d’homme.”

It was a mantra that I memorized after first reading The Myth of Sisyphus my senior year of high school.  “The struggle to the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.” I determined at that point in my life to try to embrace existentialism and find joy in the process of living, not in those moments when the goal had been accomplished. In fact, I stopped setting real goals for myself, and instead decided that if I was living according to the principles I set for myself, then wherever I ended up would be fine. It would be where I was supposed to be.

Infertility takes a toll on that mindset, because there is a desired goal or outcome, a baby.  And yet, for each new round of treatment, I feel like I am Sisyphus, pushing that rock up the side of the mountain.  In my case, inevitably, it always rolls back down the mountain just when I think that I am to the top. The gods have punished me the same way that they punished Sisyphus in that regard.  I have to retreat back down the mountain and start all over again.  It appears more and more unlikely that pinnacle at the summit will ever be achieved. In my case, conquering infertility appears to be as difficult as balancing a rock on a point, and just as unlikely.

Right now, I am not in a climbing moment. I am in a retreating moment.  I am trying to make my way back down the mountain to start pushing up the rock all over again. That is a slower process this time around (if for no other reason, because I have to take a lot of pit stops along the way because of the returning hot flashes as my estrogen levels again plummet).  Camus stated that he imagined Sisyphus was happy when he was struggling towards the heights, but I don’t know if Sisyphus felt the same way when was walking down the mountain to start all over again.  It is harder to walk back down the mountain after another failure.

Such is the absurdity of mortal life, that I don’t feel like I have a good outlet anymore for dealing with this.  It isn’t anyone else’s fault, but I just don’t feel like people really know how to be particularly supportive (because what does the parent say to the childless?), and so it is one of those situations when I really am forced to deal with things on my own.  That used to be my strong suit, but now I feel like my childless state will forever marginalize me from friends who do have children. Who wants to hang around with a childless couple?  I don’t know if people will want to be our friends as their own children age and progress, and there is this natural inclination for people with kids to want to be around other people with kids. It just sort of sucks in our given demographic, we really don’t have a lot of friends that are childless.  So, I feel like I have to learn to completely be self-sufficient when it comes to handling things. I also don’t want to be depressed about it for the rest of my life, so that means I have to learn to be Sisyphus and be happy regardless of outcomes.

I am just going to say it – Mormons are assholes when it comes to infertility.  If you need further evidence of it, go to this Mormon blog, that is supposedly populated by the more educated and liberal among us. That “satirical” blog post and the comments below, indicate most Mormons are judgmental assholes when it comes to dealing with the childless.  It isn’t funny.  Also, one kid would be enough for me.

So I am doing another round of healing with existentialist literature.  Because one way or another, I am going to come to peace with this absurdist mortal existence.

3 thoughts on “Il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux.

  1. Oh Leslie…I come to your blog often and read your posts although I don’t often comment. Your honesty is so refreshing and your very real pain over infertility is so heart-breaking to me. I will not ever know that same pain, but identify with and understand the pain that comes with pushing a boulder up a hill with no success over and over again in other aspects of my life. It sucks! And, it’s lonely! I hope, though, that you are misjudging your friends with children and that they are not giving you and David the feeling that they don’t want you around. Our closest friends are our friends who are childless…granted many of them are still single, but they are childless nonetheless. Perhaps its that we were single and childless for so long and/or that we both work full time that we identify with our childless friends. Regardless, you’d be welcome in our home any time!

    1. Jen, you are very, very kind. I think part of me is probably externalizing feelings that doesn’t accurately reflect the feelings of others, but rather, my own fears. I think you are right, and that good friends probably don’t feel that way about David and I, but at the same time, I think it is natural for people with children to want to spend time with other people with children, because kids clearly become the priority. I don’t think that it is intended to be exclusive, but I think people naturally like spending time with others that they can relate to. I would love to see you and Billy at some point in time, and I agree with you that real friends stay that way regardless of family situation.

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