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
The great Erykah Badu has a song called “Out My Mind, Just In Time”, where she laments, for close to eleven minutes about losing herself in a man she thought she loved, and how she gave more of herself to him, than she even gave to herself. It’s a beautiful song, really, that drifts in and out of changes that reflect the growth and depth of this over-thought and overwrought relationship.
And while she is clearly talking about a man who wasn’t worth the stress, this is a feeling I had about my own damn self recently. That I had been in a relationship with myself and my feelings about infertility for some time now, at the expense of my husband’s feelings. A relationship that it was clearly time to move on from.
There are things that you get to be selfish about in this journey.
You get to be frustrated when the medicines don’t work.
You get to be annoyed when you have to have a painful procedure that no one else could possibly understand.
You get to be angry when you’ve spent six months losing weight to prepare for IVF, only for the hormones to put the weight back on.
You don’t get to be so wrapped up in those feelings, that you forget to think about your actual wellbeing and progress, OR that you forget to think about any person who is on the journey with you.
It is very easy to assume, after going through so very much, that you are the only one who gets this. You and the other women who have had the pleasure of enduring shots, and invasive procedures, are the ONLY ones who can truly understand your particular pain. Your loving, but clueless partner has no idea what you really feel like.
He is not hurting in the way that you are. How could he be? The most he had to do was get friendly with himself.
And can he rattle off the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the doctors, nurses, and phlebotomists?
I didn’t think so.
That means he doesn’t give a damn about it.
Can he quote you the appointment dates for the next three appointments?
I knew it.
He’s practically not even in the game.
But, as we start to think those thoughts, here’s the thing though…
Did we ASK him how he felt about everything?
Have you ever really thought about how it feels to him that he can’t make you know how sufficient you are to him, when you’re basing every piece of your worth on this?
Or how hard it must be for him to not know what to say when you’re gushing the details of how you feel, out of fear that you’ll only tell him he doesn’t understand, or that you won’t listen when he tells his own feelings?
Or how terribly, terribly embarrassing and uncomfortable it is to do something so private and intimate, and know that everyone in that clinic/office knows what you’re doing?
Granted, most of what we do as women in this area, is invasive and humiliating. Just getting through the preliminary workups, our pocketbook, as my grandmother would call it, is known from here to West Leviticus, and has made happy times with many an ultrasound wand or speculum. But to be honest, as women, we are somewhat familiar with the stirrups. For a man, so much of this has to be new and fast, and terrifying.
The more I started to think about that, the worse I felt.
I had made this entire thing, about me. I want this so badly, and I am so very tired of waiting, that I have become incredibly sad but ridiculously headstrong. I will not waiver, because I feel like I cannot, even if it is just to stop and acknowledge that he’s lost his footing. I will drag us both over the finish line before I stop at this point.
And worse still, I’ve been so very tight-lipped about my feelings with everyone else, that he was catching ALL of it. All the frustration, and the angst, and the polarizing aggression. I was pouring everything onto him and leaving absolutely no room for him to feel anything of his own.
And as usual these days, that emotion led right back to anger.
I was angry that this stupid, stupid thing had once again made me a monster. It had made me cold, and irrational, and impatient, and…
I was back in my head, making everything about me. Making every emotion I was feeling, the fault of something or someone else. It was my pity party, and I wanted to just cry and cry.
I couldn’t let myself off that easy. I was wrong. Point blank and the period.
I was wrong for being in my head. I was wrong for internalizing everything to the point of insanity. I was wrong for stealing his voice and swallowing it into my own.
So why am I telling you this? You’re a perfectly respectable infertile, right? You handle your stresses far better than I do, and would never dream of making your partner feel isolated and forgotten. Right?
But just in case you ever find yourself being the raging lunatic I discovered I was capable of being, remember these words I said to myself:
The worst battles we will ever fight, take place in our minds. We play the hero and the villain. We project words and actions and even thoughts onto those around us, based on our own insecurities and fears. We lose sight of reality, and sometimes our partners pay the price.
This path is exhausting, and scary, and rough, and a whole heap of other adjectives I could throw in. I am grateful that I don’t have to move down it by myself. I have to remember to appreciate and acknowledge that, before I ostracize the person who is walking beside me.
Get out of your head. Quickly. See things for what they actually are.
If he honestly isn’t doing everything in his power to really be on the journey with you, then say so. Don’t yell it or accuse it. Address it.
If you discover, however, that you just weren’t seeing the full picture, because you were too busy writing a new script in your head, then address that too. Apologize, and move on.
This is just me. You are perfectly clear-headed, and in control of your thoughts and emotions these days, right? You would absolutely, positively just never, ever, be this person. I know.
We hold names sacred in the infertility community.
They are our little secret smirks at fate.
They symbolize the victory we’re hoping for. They are precursors to rainbows.
A horizon we can barely see, but one we are trying desperately to get a view of. (more…)
I’m gonna say a shitload of things.
Now, before I start on them, I want you to remember these four words okay:
I’m Not Going Anywhere
No matter how it sounds.
No matter what you think I’m trying to say.
At the end of this post, I want you to go back and remind yourself that I already told you those four words.
Now, let’s talk. (more…)
On the way home from one of our Thanksgiving visits, my husband asked me a seemingly innocent question about whether or not I’d be free to do something on a particular date next week. I paused for a moment, tried to think on it, and then had to tell him that without my calendar in front of me, I really didn’t know. I laughed about that and then told him that it was kind of strange that I couldn’t really remember what life was like back when I knew my schedule off the top of my head. I literally could not remember a time where I had fewer things to do, and didn’t feel as burned out.
I know what some of you are thinking. “So what? I never know my schedule either. It comes with being a busy adult.” True. You’re absolutely right. I am a busy person and it only makes sense that my days have to be outlined and scheduled. That wasn’t what unnerved me. What unnerved me, was the revelation about how I’d gotten so busy all of a sudden, and where my motivations were in the things I now do. While I love my job, and I love my service activities, and I love all these little projects I’ve signed myself up for, it became very clear to me that I started them after my life didn’t go the direction I wanted it to, in the time-frame that I’d expected it to. (more…)