Posts Tagged ‘Breaking the Silence’

Heart Attack.

Heart Attack

Last night I took off my smile, laid it on the nightstand and wept.

It wasn’t one of those heaving chest numbers, or the famed “ugly cry”, but rather a long, hot, steam-filled weep, where my eyes literally overflowed, and my nose erupted, and my heart jumped a little harder in my chest.

I wept for Endiah Martin.
I wept for Lenore Draper.
I wept for my city.
I wept for my family.
I wept for my dreams.
I wept because I can’t fathom a life for my children in this place where life is so undervalued presently.
I wept for how much these youth have to endure just to get through life right now.
I wept for all the children who will be overcomers of their childhoods and not beneficiaries of it.
I wept for all the parent-minded people, who may never be parents.
I wept for the idea that time is beating me over the head.
I wept for the idea of money being a barrier to my life goals.
I wept for peace of mind that I long for.
I wept for clarity of spirit.
I wept for courage that I feel distant from.
I wept from exhaustion.

Most of all, I wept because I had no idea what else to do.

I often tell people that infertility is bigger than babies.
I wish they would believe me.

Infertility affects who you believe yourself to be.  It chips away at confidence, and perseverance, and fight.  It is an emotional autoimmunity, forcing one to battle with their own very being.  It amplifies every hurdle, and every pain, and every sweetness, and in its wake, you have to force yourself to continue to be YOU, when it has altered everything you thought YOU were.  Everything that I believed about myself has been called into question as I walk through this.

But I’ve said all this before.  So why am I sharing it right now?
Quite simply, because someone needs to hear it.

Someone needs to know that crying themselves to sleep last night wasn’t weakness, or immaturity, but a release.  That these irrational feelings that come at us so quickly and desperately, are not for us to shove way down into ourselves, but to allow.

You have the RIGHT, to be heartbroken.  You have the RIGHT, to be afraid.  You have the RIGHT, to question everything and accept nothing about this.  You have the right to feel.

So many times we attempt to push down the fact that we are overwhelmed and distraught, as though ignoring it means that it isn’t happening.  This is damaging.  You can ignore your brakes screeching for so long, but eventually they will go out.  You have to take care of yourself.

You matter, and your heartbreak is not in vain.  When you add infertility on top of every other thing that is going on around us, it is a lot to digest.  You owe it to yourself to be honest about where you are, and take the time to address it.

I wish you all the support and love in the world, and then some.

 

Featured image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What If…Infertility Were Acknowledged.

What IF - Infertility Were Acknowledged

In my career of working with children over the past fourteen years or so, I’ve sat through many training courses that have stressed the importance of sensitivity to the home lives of children. We make care to have events that embrace “Family” or “Caregivers” rather than parents or mom’s and dad’s because we don’t want to make any child who doesn’t have a traditional home life, to feel out of place or embarrassed. We are careful to encourage the appreciation of all family types, and to acknowledge things like different family names, and the emergence of separate family structures.

What if we did that in all aspects? What if MY family structure was acknowledged and respected in that same manner of care? I wonder how that would look in this hyper-correct world we’ve tried to create for so many others.


There would be a special card section for Mother’s and Father’s Day that included those who are hoping to be parents one day, or who have lost children.

The childless couples in movie plots and books wouldn’t be used as the emotional scapegoats of the story arch.

The mere IDEA of asking someone when they planned to have kids would never cross anyone’s mind, because there would be in us an ingrained understanding that this was neither our business, nor appropriate conversation for the church aisle/family reunion/grocery store parking lot/class reunion/etc.

Teens in health classes would learn about things like Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome, and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and would be taught to preserve their reproductive health so that they can have the lives they want as ADULTS, rather than being scared straight about pregnancy.

Maybe children would be more greatly appreciated in our society in general.

Perhaps adoption wouldn’t be considered so much of a consolation prize, and people would take into account ALL forms of reproductive health options as viable paths to parenthood.

People would be thoughtful and considerate of what and how they ask questions of adoptive parents. They’d refrain from asking whether your kids knew their “real parents”, or if you were ever afraid that they’d pop up and take “their” kids back.

If infertility were acknowledged, more than five states would have received an A on Resolve’s Fertility Scorecard, with each of them doing their best to treat and serve patients of this disease with compassion and equality.

If infertility were acknowledged, maybe it wouldn’t hit each of us so hard when we receive our diagnoses. We would always know that it is a possibility, but not a period on our sentences, and we would use that knowledge to make plans and stick with them rather than cower at the sheer magnitude of it. We would discuss a plan with our doctors, and move forward with the peace that comes from knowing that we are not alone, because it would never have to hit any of us as the first time we’d heard about it.

If infertility were acknowledged, honestly and truly acknowledged, perhaps we’d be miles ahead of where we are, in its treatment, prevention, and care.

By acknowledging infertility for what it is: a disease that affects 7.4 million people, and speaking out about it in your own way, you can help it become a topic that is not covered in taboos and myths.

By resolving to know more about infertility, you and I can help to make sure that no on we come in contact with, will ever feel like this diagnosis is the end of their dreams, because we can speak to them assuredly.

By resolving to take control of our reproductive health, we can do our part to change the infertility conversation.

So let’s do that.
Together, we can move beyond “What IF’s”, to making a better what is.

Thank you for joining me this week for my National Infertility Awareness Week journey through the land of “What IF”.  For more information on Infertility and Infertility Resources, check out Resolve: The National Infertility Association.  Be sure and check out all the posts from this year’s NIAW blogger’s unite project.  Lastly, to read the other entries in my “What IF” series, click here:

A Week of What IF’s.
What IF…I Said What I Was Thinking.
What IF…I Were A Mom.
What IF…This Wasn’t So Hard.
What IF…I Could Just Stop Caring About This.
What IF…Infertility Were Acknowledged.

Featured image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What IF…This Wasn’t So Hard

What IF - This Weren't So Hard

I was talking to a friend yesterday about the ridiculous changes the both of us have had to endure over the past year or so regarding our infertility. We droned on and on about most of it, but then in a brief moment of clarity, one of us finally went, “This is HARD!”, and the other of us replied with, “RIGHT?!”

It really, truly is hard.

There are no “right” answers.
Life doesn’t stop and give you the opportunity to catch up to yourself.
You can’t call in “infertile and devastated” to work.
It just keeps moving.

What IF infertility wasn’t so hard, though? What IF I didn’t have to fight for every single inch? What IF this had come easy for me like it has for so many others? Who would I be, and what would infertility mean to me?

If this weren’t so hard:
I probably wouldn’t know as much about my body as I do now.
I can admit to being rather flighty about it when I was younger and thought that all bodies were created equal. I track everything about myself now to the point where there is a separate section in my google calendar just for monitoring. I’m my own obsession now.

I would be one of the ones who didn’t get it.
As a teen, I can remember asking my mother why some family members didn’t have children, and my FIRST thought was always that they must not have wanted any. Because if you wanted kids, you had them, right? So to be an adult, with a job and a house, and still no children of your own, you must have decided that kids just weren’t for you, and that you didn’t want to be bothered. The millisecond that this thing gets real for you, all that ignorance falls away like leaves.

I wouldn’t be so aware of how much my community is lacking in reproductive health information.
You really never know what’s missing until you’re looking for it. In my years of haphazard pap smears and birth control pills thrown in my direction, I never even knew there was something else I should have been asking about. All I knew about fibroids was taught through the radio commercials that proclaimed loudly about how there was a “NEW procedure that would only require outpatient surgery and no hysterectomy!”. These commercials usually aired midday on V103, right after an Anita Baker song, and just before Luther Vandross.
I can remember no pamphlet or discussion with any doctor of mine which explained fibroids themselves OR hysterectomies.
I never knew to ask why my periods lasted so long, or what kind of effects my birth control pills could have on my future reproductive health. I did whatever my doctors told me was best. They said hypothyroid, and I stopped at hypothyroid.
Which brings me to my next revelation…

I wouldn’t know how to advocate for myself medically.
I never questioned a doctor in my life prior to fighting for my infertility choices.
I never willingly CHANGED doctors in my life prior to fighting for my infertility choices.
I never brought a pen and pad, or researched before an appointment, prior to fighting for my infertility choices.
I never mapped out my medical choices so extensively.
I never checked my doctor’s “report cards”.
I never got to know the nurses at my doctor’s offices, or even thought much about the office itself after my appointments.
But now?
I have conversations. I recognize that while that doctor is in the room with me, they are on MY dime and MY time, and neither of us is leaving until I’M satisfied.

I wouldn’t know how to advocate for and with YOU.
In learning to speak up for myself, or at least get some of this really difficultness off of my chest, I’ve been able to interact and support hundreds of others who found themselves in very similar positions. Together, we’ve cried, yelled, laughed, and pushed through to our own resolutions. Some have gone to become parents, others have decided enough was enough, but each of us have grown just a little more. I owe those friendships to this struggle. As hard as it has been.

I wouldn’t know my own strength.
I have learned a lot about myself in these past years, but some things I’ve always known. I know that when I’m hurting, I tend to shut down and deflect. I know that when I’m afraid, I roll into a ball and try to protect myself. I know that I scare pretty easily, overall, and that my pain threshold is meek.
BUT.
I have learned that when I’m afraid, I will go anyway, and do whatever is needed.
I have learned that when I’m hurting, I find peace in helping others, and in speaking out.
I have learned that trying to protect myself is secondary for me when others are in danger, or uninformed.
I have learned that while many things scare me, never having tried, is my most frightening thought.
I have learned that when it matters, my pain threshold is far higher than I ever would have imagined.
I have learned that I can be stronger than I ever thought possible, because it’s often all I have left.
I have learned that I DO NOT GIVE UP.

 

Featured image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What IF…I Were A Mom…

What IF - I were a mom

If I were a mom, we’d start our morning’s with prayer, and listen to “Happy”, as we got dressed and ate our breakfast.

We’d walk to school and leave early enough to stop and observe the morning leaves, and the birds as they went about their business.
We’d have a number hunt on the way to school, and see which of us could find a number 4 along our path, or see the letter B.
We’d say a prayer at the gate of the school for a good day, and good friends, and a happy recess, and promise to tell each other something new when we saw each other in the afternoon!

I’d go to work, and recommend books to mom’s, and not fumble for the wording when I explained who I’d read the book to myself.
“I read this to MY son/daughter”, I’d be able to say, and not “I read this to my cousin/goddaughter/godson/niece/friend’s daughter”…
And they’d take my word immediately, because mom’s are faster to take advice from other mom’s than they are from people who don’t have children.

There would be no more awkward pauses when someone asks “How many kids do YOU have?”, because I wouldn’t have to think of a soft way to let THEM down about MY misfortune. No one would tiptoe around me when they discussed babies and pregnancies, because they would assume that I’m over all those icky sensitive infertile feelings. I would be able to request Mother’s Day off, because people would know that my family was obviously going to need me home that day.

Leading storytime at work would be fun, and I wouldn’t wish I could take the crafts home to do at my own kitchen table. When new books came in, I’d order my own copies so that I could add them to our bedtime collection. We would play library at home, because what I do at work every day would be something my children would aspire to.

I’d leave work on time, because there was someone waiting for me, with their something new to tell me. Dinner would be a recipe from Pinterest, prepped and in the fridge, ready for the oven. We would finish up homework and share our something new’s while we waited for it to cook.

My husband would get home just in time for a little bit of tv.
And there would be laughter.
Lots of laughter.
And even more laughter.
And a few more giggles, as we picked out our clothes for tomorrow.
And we’d each have our baths, and then all tell a story that we’d make up piece by piece, and then we’d pray for everyone near and far, before we turned out the lights.

And when little eyes were closed, I’d clean up the evening’s fun from the floor, and put everything away. I’d finish up any work that I hadn’t done, and I’d plan our next fun day. The zoo, or the museum, or the children’s play room. And I would be able to invite nieces/cousins/godkids, etc., rather than collecting them.

And I would feel STABLE.
In my life.
In my position.
In my future.
Because I’d know that no matter what else fell away, I was THEIR mom, and that it was something no one could take away from me.
I would know that I had the final say, in their care, and their education, and their diet, and their activities, and that no agency could dictate those choices based on any arbitrary guidelines.

I would feel like a whole person.
I would feel like a whole woman.
I would be confident.
I would be happy, on more days than I’m sad.
I wouldn’t have an undercurrent of rage.
I would be blessed to know that I was doing my part for the world by raising an intelligent, empathetic, thoughtful, caring, well-mannered, and creative person to contribute to society.
I would be proud.

I would be at peace.
Real peace.
Not the shroud of peace that comes from numbness.
But real peace.

I would be grateful to God for hearing me and answering me.
I would be thankful that my prayers were effective.
I wouldn’t hesitate opening my Bible because doubt was eating away at me.
I wouldn’t question my faith, or whether I’d offended God, and no one else would either.

I would attend baby showers.
I would buy baby gifts.
I would CARE.
I wouldn’t feel so incredibly defeated.
Or so immensely sad.
Or so devastatingly stupid.
Or so cheated.

I would go to sleep with excitement on my face, knowing that in a few short hours, I’d get to see those little faces all over again, and that we’d have new adventures to share.

But,…
I’m not a mom.
And at times, I truly doubt, against my highest of hopes,
That I will ever be one.
Despite my TWO journeys towards adoption.
And my TWO corrective surgeries.
Or my five dosage changes.
And my 8 years of “trying”.
Or my thousands of dollars spent.

But man, even without the frills, what a mom I’d be.


This post is a part of my “What IF” series for National Infertility Awareness Week.  It is my hope that these words will help someone who doesn’t understand why we can’t just “let it go”, or why we “care so much” about becoming parents, will somehow begin to see where the pain lies, and empathize with the 7.4 million others who feel just as I do.  Resolve to know more about infertility, for yourself, and those around you.  We need your support and your love, and your empathy.

For more information on Infertility and Infertility Resources, check out Resolve: The National Infertility Association.

To read the other posts in this series:
A Week of What IF’s.
What IF…I Said What I Was Thinking.
What IF…I Were A Mom.
What IF…This Wasn’t So Hard.
What IF…I Could Just Stop Caring About This.
What IF…Infertility Were Acknowledged.
Featured image courtesy of imagerymajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What IF…I Said What I Was Thinking.

What IF - I Said What I Was Thinking In the years that infertility and I have been going steady, my sensitivity to the things that people say and do without thinking, has fluctuated. There are times where I am super-sensitive and ready to slap down a RESOLVE pamphlet on anyone who utters something out of pocket, and there are times where I’m just like, “Ah, whatever…”.

I wonder often if people think before they let words fall out of their mouths. I think I get so wrapped up in it because I know that most of us dealing with infertility don’t have the luxury of just blurting out what’s on our minds.  When in fact, there’s usually so much going on in ours, that if we started, I doubt we’d ever be able to stop.

There are so many days that I find myself trying to control my feelings, and stop myself from blurting out something so direct and honest that it would ostracize me from the general population. Infertility does a good enough job on its own of making me feel separate and often less-than. It doesn’t need my help. But there are days where I can’t move. Days where I just can’t stand to think about this any more. And I start to wonder to myself, what IF on those days, I said the first things that came to my mind?

What IF I admitted that sometimes I’m deathly afraid that this will never happen?

What IF I admitted that I see myself getting older, and losing time EVERY SINGLE TIME I think about this now.

What IF I said out loud how devastated I feel every time I think about my grandfather getting older and NEVER seeing any children of mine?

What IF I said that sweet children make me sad and not happy because I just can’t stop feeling sorry for myself?

What IF I answered people honestly when they asked me how I felt every day?

What IF I told the truth when my husband asks “What are you thinking about?”

What IF I said “NO.”, when someone asked me “Are you okay?”

What IF I told people when they were going on and on about nonsense, that I was barely alive, and that if they only knew how much it took for me to BREATHE every day, they wouldn’t want me to waste my breath on trivialities.

What IF I was honest about how many times I have wanted to close this very blog because I’m just SICK of feeling like I’m in the same position I was when I started it?

Recently, I had a passing conversation with a person who is expecting, and sometime during our chat, she offhandedly said that she wished she weren’t pregnant. Had I uncensored myself and told her about the FIVE couples I know who’ve lost babies in the last year that they’d prayed and fought to even conceive, I wonder what would have happened?

Maybe she would have thought more carefully about tossing phrases like that out into the atmosphere. Maybe she would have gotten offended that I’d “taken it there”. Or maybe, at the very least, it wouldn’t still be bothering me to have heard it.

I walked away from the encounter with a sour taste in my mouth. Should I have used that opportunity to educate this person about how many people struggle with childlessness? Should I have said that I was personally offended? Was it the time or the place for that discussion at all?  Was that one of the rare opportunities for me to actually say what I was thinking?

I wonder,…what if…

 

Featured image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Week of What IF’s…A National Infertility Awareness Week Journey

Week of What Ifs

One of the most clever infertility acronyms to me, is IF(InFertility). So many times we find ourselves saying it to the universe.

If I could just get pregnant on my own…

If I just had the money to…

If that specialist would only take my insurance…

If. We put so much weight on those two little letters. We wrap up the idea of hope into them, and we wish they were actually as powerful as they appeared to be.

I began preparing early this year for National Infertility Awareness Week, after having been through the most tumultuous year in my infertility journey ever. I was sad and angry and frustrated and feeling powerless. Then that word started to swirl around in my head again.

IF.

The more I thought about that word, the more conversations started to bubble in my mind. The more those conversations started to bubble, the more I started to realize it was actually soothing to allow myself to feel. No matter how good or bad the thoughts were, it was a great sense of relief to be allowed to just think them, and I realized that this year, that’s what I want for myself and for others. The permission to feel, and to let it all out.

So for this NIAW, I’m going to spend the week pondering the many IF’s that infertility has left with me. If you’d like to participate, please feel free to chime in! Drop me an email at regina@thebrokenbrownegg.org or inbox me on the Facebook page: facebook.com/thebrokenbrownegg

What is that nagging IF that you can’t seem to let go of? Positive or negative, just get it out. Allow yourself to feel and grow.

Let’s resolve to be real, this NIAW.

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