Posts Tagged ‘Coping’
In a moment of devastation recently, I found myself saying out loud that I wished I just didn’t care about this.
I wish I was content to live a life without children in my home that didn’t get “returned to sender” at the close of the weekend or workday. I reckon that would be a peaceful way of life for my husband and I.
But try as I might, I can’t turn this off.
And I’m not sure why.
Could it be the primal instincts of all animals that drives us to procreate? Or perhaps my know-it-all-ness getting the better of me and my assuming that I could do this well if only given the chance? Or in that same vein, maybe it’s my logical mind that is angry that something that SHOULD have worked, has not.
I would very much like to not feel like every baby that doesn’t give that comfortable and knowing reach when I reach out to them isn’t personally casting their vote on my not being suitable.
I would also like to not feel so personally attacked by influxes of mom-driven marketing.
I don’t WANT to feel sad.
I don’t WANT to be insecure.
I don’t WANT to over-think every.little.thing.
But I do.
Last night, around 3am, I was texting with my husband, who was at work, and rattling off things that were driving me crazy.
Finally, he went, “Hey, you shouldn’t be thinking about that right now. There’s nothing that will come of it.”
And it incensed me.
Like, I could FEEL myself become enraged.
Not at him personally, but at the THOUGHT that there was an alternative to thinking about this. As though I’d CHOSEN to be up at 3am pondering the complexities of parental purgatory. Who would do this to THEMSELVES?
I told him as much.
He told me to go ahead and drive myself crazy, but to think about whether he felt like going on the trip before yammering on at him about it.
What do people think about in their lives when they aren’t consumed with this worry and anxiety?
How does one go through life without this constant nag in the background of every decision?
I wonder what it’s like to not CARE about this.
Featured image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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.
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.
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
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
So, we’re stiiiiiiill waiting.
Since learning about our male factor issues, we’ve kind of been on hold. The preliminary moves in the urology department have basically just included a repeat of all the tests that were required from the original visits to the fertility center. The fertility center can’t move forward until we have clear answers from urology on the issues they determine, and the urologist can’t move forward until our insurance approves everything. There is a lot of back and forth, (and copays), between primary care doctors, specialists, and test centers.
And I’m annoyed. For a few reasons.
An Ass Out of U & ME
I’m irked that we fell for the okey doke and relied soo heavily on the issues we knew I had, rather than looking into the male factor issues sooner. The sheer intensity of my PCOS and thyroid complications led us all, (doctors included), to assume that it just had to be only me at the root of this crap. I’m annoyed at myself for not “going wit my first mind”, and being thorough.
My Timeline is Askew
I’m irritated that there really is nothing I can do right now but wait. Again. I’m non-essential personnel at the urologist. If I want to know what step we’re on, I have to pry the information out of the spouse’s one-word answers. LOL Not that he’s being a jerk about anything, but I’ve been the captain of this ship for oh, about six, seven years now…so to not know our itinerary, is eating me alive. Like for real, can I at LEAST be in charge of the drinks on the lido deck or something?
No, Really. My Timeline is Jacked Up.
It’s March, people. MARCH. aka Third month of the year. aka, even if I do get pregnant this year, I still might don’t have a kid until 2015. So in my mind, it’s March, and I’ve lost yet another year. Go me. Cue the band.
It is extremely tiring to go to work every day, or do assignments, or just “be”, when you really want to wrap yourself up in a warm blanket, grab a trashy novel and a glass of wine, and just stop being an adult for like 45 minutes. I’m kind of over adulthood lately. It is NOT keeping up its end of the bargain. Or at least not from what I saw when I was watching television and reading books as a young girl. I mean, we should be living in a hip urban brownstone, working freelance jobs at swanky companies, hosting dinner parties, and on our second “accidental” pregnancy right now, right? I mean, at least that’s what Thursday night lineups of years gone by said. It’s literally exhausting trying to keep the thoughts of your real mind, from seeping out. I don’t want people to know how much of my day is in this mental place, but should the opportunity to speak my truth come about in everyday conversation, I can’t really lie and say I’d know how to stop myself.
So as usual, I’ve just decided to stay busy, busy, busy. All this noise and thought running rampant in my head, has to come out sometime, and hopefully it may benefit you. Stay tuned for more info, including some very special events/blog posts for National Infertility Awareness Week 2014!
In the meantime, check out this month’s Sister2Sister Magazine for an article on Egg Freezing, The Egg has a brief mention. Thank you Shahida Muhammad for thinking of me!
Featured image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This morning, I shared my feelings on infertility and depression. I gave the option for any of my followers who may not wish to share on their personal pages, or who didn’t have their own blogs to share with me and that I would post on their behalf. I’m SO proud of these individuals who answered the call. THANK YOU.
IF often left me feeling empty, hopeless and depressed. Sometimes I felt numb as if I had nothing left to give. I was in mourning and didn’t realize it. It helps to talk to someone who understands and/or can empathize with you whether they are a professional or not. There is light where there is knowledge & understanding. -Tasha L.
I Need Not Suffer Alone
There came a time in my process of infertility where it began to win. I was depressed beyond words. I was in a dark place and unable to see the light. Very shortly after arriving to the dark place I sought therapy as infertility is a disease and they’re is an emotional aspect that needs to be treated. After spending almost a year in therapy I found out a lot about myself and infertility. 1. No longer would I walk in shame. 2. I did nothing wrong. 3. I need not suffer alone.
I called a counseling center this week.
As many times as I’ve told myself to call, or to look into it, or to move forward with it, this time I wouldn’t let myself back out. I need someone to talk to. Someone who isn’t my friend, or my mom, or my spouse. They’ve heard all my gripes before, and they can apply a temporary salve, but they can’t help me “do my work”, as Iyanla would say. They can’t help me unfold and unwrap all the things I’ve bound inside of myself.
The last time I got the courage up to call a therapist, was about a year ago. I had browsed and studied GoodTherapy.org for about a month before finally deciding on someone with a pleasant enough face, and a close enough location. When I finally got her on the phone, she said that she’d recently moved to Atlanta, and that she had a therapist she trusted back here, who I could call.
I decided that was a sign that I didn’t need a therapist. I mean obviously, if I’d done all that research, and the lady wasn’t even here anymore…
So I went back to business as usual.
And just what is business as usual for me?
Well, I work a lot.
I don’t think you understand.
From the minute I open my eyes in the morning, I immediately find a project to complete. I start in on whatever I can get done before leaving for work, and then once I’m there, I boot up whatever I was working on the day before, plus a few extra things I’ve just thought up, and then I’m mentally booked until around 3pm, when we start getting kids in the library, and wouldn’t you know it, that’s when it’s time for programs and meetings.
By the time I make it home, I try to continue whatever items I didn’t finish at work. If there’s nothing left to really do, I throw myself into a video game, Netflix binge, or Pinterest session(yes, session. My pinning is the stuff of legend. LOL).
I usually do these things until I’m too tired to stay awake. Most nights, I get about four hours of actual sleep because I have a hard time closing my eyes and shutting my brain off at the end of the day. After practically wringing it out like a rag all day, my mind rattles with everything from world peace, to job and sorority tasks, to what kind of schools I want my future children to attend.
And it does not stop or pause.
And when I wake up from that four hours, I start it all over again.
Because if I stop, for one second, I will completely fall apart.
The million tasks I do every day, are my coping mechanism. They distract me from the things that frighten me, and frustrate me, and utterly devastate me. I use them to invent things for myself to hope for, because I’ve lost all ability to do so without them. If I don’t have an event planned for next Saturday at 2pm, I’m not confident that there will be a Saturday.
Half of my day, every day, is looking at other people and wondering how they are so calm. I wonder how they are able to get up and go to work, or meetings, and smile, and have ideas, and just not seem to worry as much as I know that I do. My fears and anxiety levels get so high, that I can barely complete simple tasks.
February of 2013 was hard for me. I was severely depressed. Frustrated with not only my body, but this world in general. Then there was a short glimmer of hope as we planned to adopt, but then that went very sour, very quickly. And while having that little girl in my home for the following six months was special, and healing in many ways, it was also a horribly devastating experience. One that I suppressed into myself.
I am a person who suppresses my own grief. This is a symptom of depression.
I did not allow myself to grieve. I did not have time or interest in it. I just went back to work. With all my disappointment, and all my fear, and a double portion of my anxieties tucked into my tote bag.
I was, and still am, disappointed that for all my positive thinking, things still failed. I am constantly fearful that things may never work. I worry that I’ll continue to plan and hope and have the door closed on me year after year. I am always anxious that I will run out of time.
A year later, February is grueling in my heart. I’m uncomfortable, and sad, and just all around off of my game right now. Most days, I’m literally petrified. I’m tired of it. And more importantly, I’m tired of living in the dark about it.
Infertility is a quiet force within the African American community, and so is depression and mental wellness. Culturally, we are conditioned to internalize, suppress, and work through our feelings on our own. We are taught to keep “inside business, inside”, and to never let others know what we’re going through. Those things we know require outside help, are usually directed to our spiritual leaders, and not to medical healers.
I had a hard time writing this post.
Because I hate to be soooo depressing. Ugh. I HATE IT.
I really don’t like talking about the sadness, and the fear, and the emotional voids that have come into my life. I especially hate that I feel as though I’ve allowed them to. I am angry at myself for not being strong enough to not feel this way, and that too, is something those of us who suppress, do.
Instead of reaching out for help, I tell myself:
“You should pray more.”
“You’re being weak.”
“You just need to write it out or talk it out.”
“If you have time to sit here and mope, you aren’t working enough.”
And once I’ve done such a great job of thinking myself out of moving forward,…the feelings pass for a short while. Then, like I know they will, they always come right back.
Infertility, is bigger than babies. I tell people this all the time, and I doubt they really hear me. It is SO much bigger than bellies and bumps.
Infertility is trauma. Every part of this journey has its own scars and sounds, and memories that for many of us will never ever go away. They haunt us, and hurt us, and cause us to drastically change from whoever we were or at the very least thought we were.
Infertility hurts so far beyond the baby. It’s about my marriage, my friendships and my ability to picture a future. It’s about my body, and whether everything I’ve been told about personal power is true. Source
Because we want to be parents, and because we want to be the type of parents we always dreamed we’d be, we suppress the parts of us that are sad, or angry, or frightened. We wrap those feelings up, and we pack them away, so that we can plant a smile on our faces and keep going. But you cannot build a strong new house on a bad foundation.
I’m trying to walk into 2014 with more hope and faith than I had last year. I want nothing in my way. So I am going to do my best to rebuild my foundation.
Are you suffering from depression? Are you suppressing the emotional toll that infertility has taken on your life? You do not have to fight alone. You do not have to be alone. Here are a few resources that will help make sure you aren’t.
Coping With Infertility and Depression
GoodTherapy.Org Fertility Resource List
Resolve: Mental Health Resources
Infertility and Depression 101
#DayOfLight Info and Resources
- The #DayOfLight Campaign is the brainchild of blogger Brandi of MamaKnowsItAll
- Visit my good friend Natasha’s blog for the post that inspired me to participate here.
Would you like to participate?
- If you are a blogger, write a blog post sharing your personal experience of depression and/or share resources to help others. Add the #DayOfLight hashtag in your post title. (If you don’t have a blog, but want to speak about infertility and depression, please send your thoughts to The Egg and I will post them anonymously for you.)
- Watch the #DayOfLight Google Hangout on Wednesday, February 5th at 11 AM EST. Tweet and ask questions. (http://bit.ly/1ilifbP)
- Participate in the #DayOfLight twitter chat on Wednesday, February 5th at 9 PM EST (follow@PushingLovely, @NotoriousSpinks, and @BrandiJeter for more information)
- Turn your social media avatars black and white on Wednesday, February 5th so we can visually represent all of those affected by depression.
- Share inspiring tweets, posts, and photos on social media to encourage those who are suffering with depression to let them know that they are not alone. Use the hashtag #DayOfLight.