Life Lessons from How I Met Your Mother

17 May

****Spoiler Alert! if you haven’t seen the season finale of How I Met Your Mother and you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read this. 

This little space of the blogoverse has been devoid of my true feelings for a while now. I’ve been stopping, starting, and stopping posts over and over again for the last couple of  weeks, and each time I get stuck. I can’t seem to put anything into words.

So – spurred on by – of course – my unending addiction to pop culture, I think I’m ready to break my silence on what’s been going on in my head.

But first – a quick word from our sponsors medical update. Twofer consulted with the specialists, and they decided to start with the least invasive procedure first. So, I looked at the calendar, guessed (educated guess of course) when AF will be making her appearance, and scheduled the HSG for June 5th.

Now – back to our regularly scheduled program blog post.

I’ve been going around feeling defeated. For some reason, I thought, perhaps, getting the procedure scheduled would make me feel better. But it didn’t. It made me feel worse. Because what if the HSG shows a blockage? Then I have to wait FSM knows how long to get whatever procedures scheduled and done. And what if it’s clear? Then we’re right back where we started, freaking out and hoping for the best once we start trying again.

It’s a lose-lose. And it all sucks.

Which brings me back – somehow – to last night’s How I Met Your Mother. For those of you who don’t follow the show, here’s the important stuff you need to know for the sake of this post:

The longest lasting couple in the show, Lilly and Marshall, spent the beginning of the season trying to get pregnant. They were kind of having problems, and went to a fertility specialist. Then it all got put on hold when Marshall’s father passed away. Oh, and after that Marshall became unemployed. So yeah. Lilly and Marshall had a crap-tastic year.

At the end of this episode, Marshall has seemingly blown a job interview, because he’s on the verge of getting sick from food poisoning. He gets home,  completely broken, and rants about how the last year has sucked for him.

Watching this, all I could do was smile and nod. Hell yeah. This last year has been the suckfest to end all suckfests.

In ten days, Shmerson and I will be celebrating our one year anniversary. And gearing up for what may or may not be a battery of tests and procedures, and for what may or may not be another round of trying without actually knowing what the hell is up with my body.

I can pretty much say that Shmerson and I have had possibly the suckiest first year of marriage possible.

Don’t get me wrong – I love him more today than I did on the day I married him. But we spent our two month anniversary recovering from our first loss, our 5 month anniversary recovering from our second, and we’ll be spending our one year anniversary still recovering from our third, knowing that now – whether or not we get any clear answers, we’re facing even greater challenges ahead.

You’re bang-on Marshall. This last year has sucked!

As the episode draws to a close, Marshall finishes his rant and goes to lie down, convinced that he will be spending the night puking his guts out.

He falls asleep, and wakes up the next morning, realizing that he’s made it through the night,  a huge smile on his face.

At that moment Lilly comes to him and announces that she’s pregnant.

We leave the couple at the end of the season, with Marshall’s father still gone, him still unemployed, but there’s sunlight streaming through the window and a ray of hope.

As viewers, we know these guys are going to be fine. That’s kind of a thing with HIMYM. We’re hearing this story from “Future Ted” – a man who’s all grown up, and we see flashes of “old” Lilly and Marshall, as happily married as ever, and presumably with a few kids to boot.

I think that’s both the problem and the wonderful thing about TV. There’s a structure. There’s a comfort. On one hand, it gives us hope, but on the other, it sets up unreasonable expectations.

Although I have to say – that in the case of HIMYM, the producers aren’t afraid to get dark and deep at times. It’s a sitcom, yet they take creative risks. If you’re not a viewer of the show on a regular basis, I would still recommend you watch the episode where Marshall’s father passes away. It’s beautifully handled. Masterfully. The people who make this show are truly artists. And what I love about it is that they even manage to make the cliche’ not completely cliche’.

But once again, I digress. Back to Marshall and Lilly, their crappy year, and why it made me want to blog.

This episode of HIMYM kind of hit a fast forward button. They covered a few months in the course of one episode. Kind of skated over them, explained what happened, and then moved on to the important part of the story.

That’s TV. And especially this show. They love the fast-forward button, The story is told in retrospect, so the viewers already know the outcome.

And sometimes, that’s what I wish my life was. I just want to fast forward through the part where Shmerson and I wait nervously for a diagnosis. I want to fast forward through a first trimester. I want to fast forward and get to the good parts.

I sometimes wish my life was like HIMYM. I still want to live it, but I want a narrator in my head – a “Future Me” – telling me that everything will be ok.

I guess it’s a little like what Shmerson wrote about the other day. I want to know that there’s a grand plan, and I’m not sure if there is one. I know I’m still – on a lot of levels – a victim of fate, or randomness, or whatever. I don’t have a female Ted narrating my life story, telling me that everything is ok.

And that’s what frustrates me most of all. I want one. I really do.

I keep on trying to make sense of things. See a path ahead of me. If X happens then by September we will be here. If Y happens then by this time next year….

And on and on it goes.

As I sat there watching Marshall and Lilly embrace over her pregnancy, I thought to myself that I’ll be seeing this scene again come September, when HIMYM kicks off its next season. Where will I be then? Will I watch it with a newly swelling pregnant belly? Will we be in the same place we are now? Or worse – with more losses and frustration under our belt?

In my head, I was saying “By the time I see this scene again I will be pregnant. And it will be a healthy pregnancy.”

And I guess it gave me some hope. But as I write this I know that thinking this won’t make it true. A few months ago I was convinced Shmerson and I would be celebrating our one year anniversary happily knocked up. That didn’t happen.

So I can’t say where I’ll be when I see that scene recapped in next season’s premier. I can HOPE I’ll be stroking my pregnant belly, maybe crying a tear of joy remembering this blog post. If I had a female Ted narrating my story that’s what I’d want her to say.

But I don’t have a narrator. I don’t know where we’ll be. I don’t know what the grand plan is. That’s what is so terrible about this process. I hope that one day I’ll be able to embrace not knowing and enjoy the moment. But for now – I hate it. I hate not knowing what lies ahead.

Ahh well, at least all it takes for me to put my feelings into words is one episode of a well written television show.

It’s not much, but it’s something.

16 Responses to “Life Lessons from How I Met Your Mother”

  1. me0me May 17, 2011 at 15:34 #

    First post in three days but must. Not. Read. Hate. Spoilers. Haven’t STARTED season 6 yet :-/

    • Mo May 17, 2011 at 15:39 #

      Then watch it quick cause you should read it! 🙂

  2. Kristin May 17, 2011 at 16:57 #

    Great post! We love HIMYM and i truly adore the mix of humor and deep and serious topics/issues.

    Really hope you get to watch this scene next fall while basking in happines.

  3. A. May 17, 2011 at 18:30 #

    I couldn’t agree more – the hardest part of this journey for me has been not knowing what the future holds. I have often thought that every failed treatment, the loss, everything, would be more bearable if we knew what the ending was – if somehow I could know well, I’ll have one more loss and 2 failed IVFs but then after that we are going to have a healthy pregnancy and beautiful baby(ies?) or I could know now that this IVF cycle is going to be our magic ticket or that we will try 8 IVFs and none of them will work. It is so hard to think about and plan for the future when you have absolutely no indication of how close or far away those elusive healthy children are from you. I also always imagined that by certain milestones we would be pregnant or have a child – by our first anniversary, by the due date of our loss, etc. It feels like a new stab to the heart every time one of those milestones passes, so now I just try to think of it in terms of happening some day during some year.

  4. Cattiz J May 17, 2011 at 22:00 #

    If there was some way of knowing it would be so much easier. That’s the most frustrating thing about all this. If we only had a crystal ball.

  5. Esperanza May 17, 2011 at 23:17 #

    I sometimes feel so overwhelmed by the uncertainty of life. Sometimes I just want to know that it’s going to be okay. I don’t need to know the details, but just that it’s going to be okay. I think all the time of fast forwarding (I did constantly when I was pregnant and in the end I was sad I hadn’t enjoyed that time while it lasted) because, like you, I just want to KNOW that it will be fine. I want to know the ending. Lately I’ve been wanting just to know that it’ll be okay. Then one day I realized I am the one who will decide if things are fine. If I can handle what life throws at me, then no matter what happens I will be okay. I try to think that way, that I have at least that amount of control over my life in the way that I react to it. That is helpful to me sometimes, when I’m feeling upset that I don’t know how life will end up. Sometimes it doesn’t help and I’m inconsolable with worry about all the bad that can happen. And sometimes the burden on uncertainty just doesn’t seem so bad.

    I once read a quote that helps me with the anxiety I feel about my future. Worry doesn’t steal strength from tomorrow’s suffering, it only diminishes the joy of today. (I’m butchering it, but you get the point). That has helped me a lot. Maybe it can help you too.

    I hope that have found happiness and peace by the time you see that scene again. I truly do.

  6. bodegabliss May 18, 2011 at 00:04 #

    Geez, I wish I could watch that show. I loooooove it (Tim’s hates it).

    Funny, last night in therapy we talked about the fact I’m quite incapable of living in the moment, and it has caused a lot of difficulties for me. In fact, I just wrote a post about it. (Are you surprised we’re thinking about the same thing? I’m certainly not!)

    I hope we can both find it…and with it, our happiness, whatever form that’s in.

    Love you!

  7. Mrs. Brightside May 18, 2011 at 02:36 #

    Once again you have nailed something that I think about all the time. It is just such torture to not know the ending, to know if all this pain and suffering will be “worth it” or just lead to more and more and more of it. You hear all the stories of what people have gone through before getting their happy ending — will I be the story of “the girl who lost 5 pregnancies and then *poof* had a healthy baby” or of “the girl who lost 6, 7, 8… and then it happened” or of “the girl who went through hell but found bliss through adoption” or “the girl who lost 5+ pregnancies and then her mind and subsequent will to live.” Okay, being dramatic on the last one, but the not knowing is agony. And it totally leads to the hope roller coaster – “I believe it will happen!” – “Oh crap I’m screwed” – “But wait, there’s a chance!” – “Hmm, really is there? I think you’re still screwed” and on and on. Ugh. Sending a hug across the big ocean.

  8. Christina May 18, 2011 at 03:06 #

    I haven’t watched any HIMYM episodes, so I can’t comment on anything about those things.

    I can, however, totally commiserate on the difficulty of “not knowing” and wishing there was some crystal ball or I has psychic ability. The hardest lesson of TTC w/ IF was learning there was nothing I could do to change any of the outcomes and just enjoy what I can, when I can.

    I hope the testing shows you something and gives you direction!
    PS- Your anniversary is the same as my Bday! (or a day diff).

  9. BleedingTulip May 18, 2011 at 07:21 #

    If you figure out how to tap into your own personal narrator, you HAVE to share, because that is basically all I want too.

  10. Kelly May 21, 2011 at 08:22 #

    I know how you feel! Honestly! Together for 7, married for 1 (May 15). I’ve been 700 kms away for work (contract – DH is 1/2 German, and stubborn about not leaving our tiny town FOR anything). Found out in August about his MIF, he reacted poorly. subsquent tests are also poor and all over the place. Urologist and RE are monitoring him with samples every 6 weeks to get a baseline.
    After 2 years – nada.
    I had an HSG (every other test showed up fine) on a lark on May 13. The radiologist had a weird look and said he was sorry as both my tubes are blocked.
    Moving home, but starting an new job doing 7 in and 7 out in a mine!
    Find out June 2nd how bad it is (preparing for the worst – total removal).

    • Mo May 21, 2011 at 10:22 #

      So sorry to hear about your story! Crossing my fingers for you that everything works out. The wait is the worst part, isn’t it?

      • Kelly May 22, 2011 at 23:41 #

        Thanks! It’s great to know there’s so many women in the same boat thru no fault of their own (it seems the majority are in 20’s to 30’s, stable relationships, aware of the biological clocks, and healthy). Prepare for the worst? Hope for the best?
        Homer and Marge never had this problem though!
        I guess Troy and Selma did because Troy was only attracted to fish!

  11. Junebug May 21, 2011 at 13:06 #

    I love HIMYM but to be honestly while I haven’t yet seen this episode. I’ll still watch it because nothing compares to seeing it. I was kind of disappointed to hear this storyline got wrapped up in one season. I’ve been at it for 8 years. One season is so not realistic to me but, of course, it is TV and TV is not reality. I sure wish my life was more like TV. Let me know if you figure out the narrator secret.

  12. missohkay May 23, 2011 at 14:30 #

    I had to wait on this post for a few days because HIMYM was waiting on my DVR. First, I have to say that I totally ruined it for my husband because, the moment Lily threw up, I said “shit, she’s pregnant.” He’s the one who usually ruins tv/movie-surprises for me, but he doesn’t have the pregdar that I have. As to the real point of your post, I have often said I would go through *anything* if I knew that I’d get a live baby in the end. I just want to know when and how.

  13. JM June 24, 2011 at 19:05 #

    HIMYM is one of my favorite shows. DH and I watch it together. And I totally ruined it for him this season by crying every time there was talk of their short-lived IF. ESPECIALLY during the season finale, where I pretty much spent the whole 22 minutes bawling.

    I have been doing EXACTLY the same thing as you- hoping I’ll have a belly to hold onto when the show comes back. It’s going to be hard. But hopefully it won’t, right? Hopefully we can all celebrate together by the time fall rolls around?

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