you can’t be magic if there are no monsters

It’s been quiet around the blog. November is always a hard month, lots of old grief dredged up & the start of the winter hibernation times. We’re still adjusting to the early dark, puttering around the house and working on tiny projects.

I’m looking forward to hanging boughs, filling the house with lovely green smelling things, twinkling lights. If I think back to last Christmas, I really, truly expected to have a baby by this Christmas. That’s one of the crazy things about this fertility journey – you look back at your expectations and feel stupid for thinking it would just happen, be easy – though even the doctors thought so too, so it’s not entirely my naïveté. I’ve since packed up the baby room as it’s become more than apparent that life is on hold and nothing is certain. In a way I’m starting to process the possibility of not having a little family, ever. I’m not quite ready to go there, but it’s lurking in my mind, like a monster under the bed.

When I went off to college a friend made me a tiny book of advice, and it all still rings true, 20 years later. One page said only you can’t be magic if there are no monsters, and I try to remember that when it feels like the monsters are eating me alive. Sometimes, especially in this online world of perfect Pinterest fantasy, we forget that our monsters are what make the magic parts of life sparkle and shine as brightly as they do. The monsters have been winning lately, but it helps to remember that it always is a balance, light and dark, grief and joy.


  1. “you can’t be magic if there are no monsters”. I love it. It is so true…this dark things make us value the joy and grasp it more intensely.
    I am slowly reaching a place where letting go of all control is getting easier, where accepting that life will happen the way it will without my input, knowledge or actions.
    I really do hope this fertility struggle will soon be over for you and that this will be only sad memories in a joyful place to which you guys will soon arrive. Hugs to you, we are right there with you.

  2. I wish I had more to say, but these words are so eloquent and beautiful and I will promise to send any magic I encounter your way :)

    Expectations are the worst, they are one of my biggest personal challenges!

  3. So many people I know are on this same journey. I think it’s wonderful for others that you just write about it. November can be the worst for hope, your world is so beautiful and filled with life and vibrancy, I am certain a little one will come of it. xo.

    1. It’s strange, because it’s this huge life-shattering thing that many women struggle with, and yet there’s not a lot known about it (“unexplained infertility”), we’re not educated about it early enough at the doctor’s office, and no one talks about it in general…

      Thank you for the sweet thoughts & words.

      1. I read this on a week that I had two sets of friends (thankfully trust me enough to) share difficult recent fertility experiences, and another who was pregnant after years. It’s always amazing to me how little we share and how much better it gets when we do. I also don’t know anyone who hasn’t had sorrow mixed in with joy, and when the joy comes, it’s so rarely how we planned it.

  4. Thank you so much for your voice of raw beautiful authenticity. In a time when we all compare our insides to everyone else’s outsides as perfectly painted on Pinterest or FB, your way of sharing the complex weaving of magic and pain is so important. It makes me want to blog. Maybe soon?

  5. This got me right in the heart. July is a hard month, for ghosts. Christmas is hard, too. My aunt died of cancer on Christmas Day. I need a day of the year to celebrate magic. Maybe today is it. Thanks for your candor. Going to go blub now;)

  6. This is something that I’ve always felt on a gut level, but have never been able to put into words, and definitely not words this beautiful. Hoping that 2013 brings you more magic than monsters.

  7. i’ve kept up with your blog for a a couple of years now. for a long time, i’ve wanted to tell you how beautiful it is, how much i appreciate your pictures and your voice. these posts on creating a family pierce my heart. as i inch toward 37 with no partner in sight i have had to re-imagine the possible paths for my future. it can make me ache with envy to see so many of my peers with beautiful families of their own. but that feeling only makes me shrink and burn, and i continually remind myself that there is plenty of happiness to go around, and that i can appreciate and grow the good things in my life too. thank you for being so candid and for sharing yourself on this blog. i wish us both plenty of magic now and in the coming year. xo :)

    1. Of course you want to live your life as it is and make the best of all the good things, but things CAN happen later. A friend who is 41 just got engaged, and then accidentally pregnant (!!!!!) shortly after. I wasn’t married til almost 35 – and it was a very quick “courtship.” I think it’s all about staying open to whatever paths we may take. :)

  8. I agree, no-one talks about the fertility thing enough and it is really nice to read about your journey with it, as it so closely reflects mine (and I’m sure many others) – but every time I try to write about it I just freeze. Your words are perfect.

  9. ‘you can’t be magic if there are no monsters’. That’s wonderful.

    November is a horrible month for hope and light and faith, November does its best to kill all three, but we will survive, because we’re magic. Love to you. x

  10. Oh. Glad I read this today. A year ago I was standing around a bonfire celebrating my brand new union with the love of my life. Now we’re separated and I have no idea where life is headed. Being full on in the grief process has been a road. And some days I can be all, “I’m learning so much!” but today was one of those, “Maybe I’ll wake up soon and it will all have been a bad bad dream” days. Thanks for your words.

  11. I haven’t read your blog in a while, so am late to the game on this. But your post reminds me of some things I’ve been mantra-ing the past few months, as my life’s shattered bits float down to settle into some new, unfamiliar form. I’ve been afraid that now I won’t have children, nest, family like I was imagining just this summer. And then some tiny voice in my heart said, says, keeps repeating: You just don’t know what it’ll look like. Everything you most desire will be in your life; you just have to crack that bony, fleshy heart open enough to receive it all, in whatever form it takes. Our very dreams may be unrecognizable at first glance. I don’t know if this is helpful, but your writings made me think of it. xoxo

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