The Circus and Infertility Promises

Today’s soundtrack is brought to you by Cirque du Soleil, La Nouba. Please, take a moment to read along while the man with the dreamy voice tells you a story:

Begin a tale
With a breath, I inhale
I cast a spell use the words that propel
Set you a sail
To a place where dreams of men dwell
Nightmares efficiently await
To test one’s faith
By how well
You can deal with a tale
That tells Itself
Said the Storyteller
A bestseller is what I have in mind
Ladies and gentlemen
Settle in, “Once Upon a Time”
Is where you’ll find me
La Nouba.

Once Upon a Time

Photo by sergio souza on

Once upon a time, I sat in the waiting room of an infertility clinic, waiting to undergo a battery of extremely unpleasant exams to find out why I couldn’t get pregnant. By then, I had solved the fundamental problem which, until then, had been keeping me from getting pregnant.

I was not thrilled with the prospect of these exams, but by then, having a baby had become more than just a wish, or a desire. It felt like a moral imperative. Having walked through the flames of being my own worst enemy and learning to accept and love my body through vaginismus, I knew that if I could do that, I could do anything.

At the time, my indulgent husband and I were avid runners. When we would run, I would always listen to Cirque du Soleil. Specifically, Cirque du Soleil, La Nouba. I felt like the music so beautifully captured what I wanted to feel as I ran: like I was an acrobat, like I was flying, like I was performing death-defying leaps with every ragged step.

Always listening

I am a chronic overthinker. I like things to have meaning. If I loved the show LOST back in the day (I have very fond memories of every Friday night driving over to my mother’s house to watch it, as indulgent husband and I did not have a television…it was our weekly constitution!), it was in part because of the rich mythology and deeper cultural/pop-cultural references.

There is a part of me, probably the part the exists somewhere right there on the kitchen countertop of my mind, right there near the stovetop where the ideas for my novels are constantly simmering, a part of me that is constantly tuning through a kind of police radio looking for something to listen to. It is a constant search for meaning.

I call it my “antenna” and it is impossible for me to turn off. This makes me impossible to live with.

One frequency my antenna tends to pick up, with rather impressive clarity at times, is what God has to say to me. Although I cannot turn it off, I can, sometimes tune it out. But then, suddenly, the circumstances will change and the message will catch my attention. That is what happened that day at the clinic.

What God had to say to me

Although I had listened to this song one hundred million times, I had never, not once listened to the words. But that day, as I waited for some unpleasant tests, I heard the word: Nightmares.

Yes, yes, this could definitely be construed as a nightmare. Sitting there, waiting for this hideously invasive test, to be done by my hideously unpleasant gynecologist, was a nightmare.

So I started listening more closely:
Nightmares efficiently await
To test one’s faith
By how well
You can deal with a tale
That tells Itself
Said the Storyteller
A bestseller is what I have in mind

I listened to that tiny little section over and over and over and over.

The La Nouba Doctrine

So…I have been a Bible reader for a long long time. I know a little bit about pre-determination and about determinism.

For once, though, it finally hit home: pre-determination became personal. If the Storyteller in this case was God, he was saying that there were going to be some trials. Nightmarish trials, should he be believed. The trials themselves are not the point: how I deal with those trials is the point.

This was somewhat reassuring: if something, in any way, can depend on me and how I deal with something, it seems less scary to me. For most of my life, when my life gets out of control, I pick up a pen and start writing. I wrote the premises of what became the first novel of the series I am working on in the parking lot just before a job interview in 2003. When my tension or stress level gets high, I start writing.

So what does the Storyteller promise? A Bestseller is what he has in mind.

Does this mean my books are going to be bestsellers? No, not necessarily. But since that day, lodged deep in my soul is the idea that as I go through the various trials, tests, crises of my life, there will be a reward that is relevant to who I am and how I deal with the challenges life throws my way.


I know that there are people who don’t believe that God would ever talk to them. I just…I just want to suggest, humbly, that maybe he does. Maybe, if you would be willing to start fine-tuning that radio that is constantly playing under the surface, you might find also, in the everyday moments, that there is a little something for you, too.

That is how it starts. It is not where it ends: when a little something catches my attention, it sends me back to the Bible, usually my concordance first, where I start looking for thoughts that would expound on what has caught my attention. I cannot overstate how many times in my life this has happened.

While I may not have memorized the Bible, I do know “Now that we’ve found love what are we gonna do with it?” is a reminder that love isn’t just a feeling, but is something you act on, and that my faith, without acting on it, is worthless. And when unexpected things happen in my life, when it feels like I am in a circus of a “tale that tells itself” I am reminded that all things work together for the good of those who love God.

And they lived bumpily ever after…

It was those tests that revealed that the source of our infertility was my own “toxicity” (does this surprise anyone?). It was a problem that was rather easily solved, shockingly easy to solve, actually. I was pregnant nearly immediately afterwards.

The tale continued to tell itself…after we learned we were pregnant, we learned we would have twins. After we learned we would have twins, we learned they would not survive. After a miscarriage, we got pregnant again almost immediately. And soon after that one was weaned, we were pregnant again.

This tale keeps telling itself, and seems to enjoy using my body as the scenery to play itself out. Today, it is my hormones deciding to go off-script and do a “choose-your-own-adventure” style narrative.

I choose to keep tuning-in to what the Storyteller has in mind.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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