Playing in the Sand

Recently, a dear friend who hadn’t seen me in awhile, after hearing me talk about our infertility stuff, sent me a message inviting me to come over and do a little sandtray therapy.  I jumped at the opportunity.  Because it’s something I’d read a little about back in the play therapy course I took in my MSW and because I’d heard her talk about her training and experiences with it.  But mostly because I was touched that she noticed my pain.

It was an emotional experience.  The waterworks began before we even started.  The space was safe to unload everything that I’ve been carrying.  Without judgement.  Without advice.  Just an ear listening.  Bearing witness.

I realized how alone I feel in this whole journey.  Logically, I know I have people around me who care, and I don’t want to discredit the kind words, brief texts of “thinking about you”, chai lattes, and time out doing girlie things, etc.  For those moments, I’m eternally grateful and the people who have offered them have no idea how much it meant to me.  But I feel alone.  I know now, that no one can know what it’s like unless they’ve walked in these shoes.  And sometime that makes me angry.  But most of the time it makes me feel invisible.  And I guess infertility is invisible.  Except for those who notice that there is no stroller to push, no child’s hand for me to hold.  You don’t look “sick” with infertility.  Not that I’m wishing I could trade infertility for a sickness, that’s not what I mean.  I just think it’s easy for people to treat you as if nothing is wrong, when you look like there is nothing wrong.  It’s easy to pretend that everything is normal.  When nothing could be further from the truth.

I realized that infertility has taken away pieces of who I am.  The innocence of thinking that making a baby, having a family would come just as easy to me as it would to the people around me.  My zest for life.  My creativity, my social me, my sense of fun.  All of it fights for the energy that infertility takes from me.  And it makes me angry that I have let that happen.  I miss that me.

I could go on.  And maybe I will.  There is more stuff that has come up for me in this sand.  But I’ll save it for another time… maybe.

A couple things that were interesting to me, is the presence of the ducks in my sand.  A duck totem represents the following:  “Ducks are associated with the element of water. They are good deep water swimmers and also are content to glide on top of a body of water. As a totem the duck teaches getting in touch with your deepest emotions in order to get to a calmer state. Ducks are family oriented and enjoy companionship…. Duck medicine teaches us not to hold on to our past troubles and to live in the moment.”  (

Another piece that you can’t really see in this photo is a couple of little frogs on my bridge.  I chose them because they were there and because they were kind of cute.  Little did I know, they would be filled with meaning.  In short, frog medicine (in native culture) is cleansing.  Replace the mud with clear energy and then replenish your parched spirit, body and mind.

I need to dump the mud from my bucket.  The mud from others, the mud from myself.

If you have the opportunity to play in the sand, take it.  You won’t regret a second.


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