The Truth.September 7, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Posted in another cycle! (aka: deja vu), Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy), Infertility | 31 Comments
When you’re struggling to have a baby, before you are successful, all you can do is watch other people around you get what you want so badly. Maybe easily. Maybe with varying degrees of struggle.
It doesn’t matter, though. They’re pregnant and you’re not.
And when they tell you, you KNOW your first reaction should be “YAY!” and give them a hug, but instead it’s personal, and you cry, and you secretly hate them a little. It’s no problem, with people you don’t know well. Easy for you to unsubscribe to their Facebook feed, write them off. You’re Stuck and they’re in a different place. And they were the ones, I’m sure, who were full of the assvice too – the ones who figure that relaxing and maybe not wanting it so much will magically work to get you pregnant.
But then it’s your sister in law, or your cousin, or a girlfriend, or your good blogger friend. And you know they not only DESERVE it, but have tried for a while to get pregnant because it didn’t come easy for them. And they’re scared, at first. They’re SO sweet when they tell you. They ask how you feel. They tell you they’ll give you as much or as little information as you want. They downplay the nausea, the pains, the swelling to spare your feelings. They are more than supportive, they bend over backwards, they offer their shoulder when you’re crying over yet another failed cycle.
And you start to think: What’s wrong with me? You WANT to go to their baby shower. You WANT to hear about the happiness of hearing the heartbeat at the OB, how they told the new baby’s sibling, how they told their parents. You want to BE involved.
Except you steel yourself for the announcement. You have to look away at the belly, the glow. You wonder if you should unsubscribe from their feed, too. But you don’t, and every reference to the pregnancy is a kick in the gut.
And you keep doing failed cycles. And they progress in their pregnancy, get a little less scared about miscarriage, but are still super sweet about sparing your feelings.
You can’t hate them, you see. You love them. You want to be happy for them SO much. But you can’t, because every time you see their belly, the scream from the depths of your very being says I WANT THAT. And that’s all you can hear in the hollowness of your heart – that scream.
And you feel so guilty. You love them; they’re your FAMILY.
So you start to beat yourself up about it. Suck it up. Put your big girl panties on. And you end up pushing yourself to do things that maybe aren’t healthy for you. Because you’re telling yourself, hey, DON’T feel that way. They’re more important than you; just push it aside and go to the shower. Go shopping for baby clothes. Take your MIL out to lunch and tell her you’re great, that you really don’t want anyone to tiptoe around you, you want to help PLAN the shower. And hold your new nephew and go home and cry and cry and cry, because god, you want that so badly and you’re so scared it won’t happen.
The thing is. You do that for years, and the hole inside you grows bigger and bigger and bigger. And then it starts to take over. You get in the car in the morning, and it settles onto your shoulders, and you can’t see through the grey murk. And you’ll wonder some mornings why you don’t just steer the car into that tree over there.
You don’t really want to die, you know. You just want the pain to go away.
And it does, for a while. When your IVF cycle finally culminates in bringing this little baby home, you have this sense of relief, like maybe now you can finally be different.
Until you start trying again.
And it starts all over. And soon, you’re right back in the thick of it, and now it’s even worse. Because now you look at your child and you think, why can’t they BE ENOUGH?
I had a fight with my best friend this week.
Well, fight is a big word. We didn’t really FIGHT, per se.
She just told me that she was having a hard time knowing how to BE around me. That she was trying so hard to be supportive and understanding and downplaying her pregnancy to spare my feelings, that when I posted about how Labor Day marks the Season of Other People’s babies, she was hurt. Because I am her best friend, her lifeline, and she thought maybe she was reduced to just another fertile. And she hated the idea that when I held her son, I’d look at him as a symbol of what I didn’t have, because she thought of me and Lucky and Charlie as family, and she wanted her new baby to be That Important to me, too. And she wished I would stop ignoring her pregnancy, because it was starting to feel like the elephant in the room, and she wanted to feel like I cared about it. Because it’s a really big thing in her life, and she wants to share it with me, and she doesn’t feel like she can.
She’s right, you know. I HAVE been avoiding talking about her pregnancy. And it really, truly sucks she can’t be open and free with me. If I were in her shoes, I’d feel like I wasn’t important either.
Which isn’t true.
But the fact is, it hurts right now. It hurts so much to be staring the reality of not having another baby ever again in the face. Because Charlie Brown and I can’t do this anymore. We don’t have it in us to keep fighting.
And I can tell you already – I’ve been to three monitoring appointments, and my lining STILL isn’t cooperating. It’s growing, but SO. FUCKING. SLOWLY. I’m not certain, at this point, that we’ll actually make it to transfer. The nurse at my clinic is saying things like, No, your lining is growing, so no danger of cancellation yet. But we are watching it closely.
And the overarching FEELING I have about this?
And the hormones and stress when I’m cycling makes it all worse, amplifies these feelings of Fail until it’s all I can hear.
You Fail, Serenity.
A year a half ago, when I first started seeing my therapist, I didn’t see a way that it would really HELP me. I couldn’t see the direct link to being better from my weekly sessions on her couch.
It’s only been recently that I’m starting to see results.
Because when my best friend told me how she felt, I felt ashamed. I was such a selfish bitch that I couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm for her hard-won pregnancy? I couldn’t get excited about meeting her son, ask her about her plans, how she was feeling, whether she was nervous? I couldn’t click “like” on the posts her husband made about how life was good? I couldn’t mention how AWESOME she looked in that hot maternity dress she wore when she was out in Boston that date night?
I thought like this for a bit. Told myself I really should get over this, because I HAD my kid and seriously, it could be so much worse.
But then I stopped.
Fact is, I can’t do those things right now. I’m trying to cope. I’m looking at The End.
And it’s really, REALLY hard. Every time Lucky does something, like write his name, or bring me something he knows I need without me even asking, or having a real conversation with me, all I see is how quickly the time has gone by.
I am grieving, really. I thought I’d have a chance to experience babyhood again.
I might not.
But I will have my nephew, who’s due in November. I’ll have my best friend’s little boy next month. They’re my family, too.
And this time, instead of hiding it, I told her. I told her how I’ve reached out and connected in the moments where I want to run away and cocoon. How I’m learning that it’s possible to feel pain AND happiness, and that’s what I felt for her. And how I can’t wait to meet her son and see what he’s like and watch her daughter as a big sister. And yes, how that will kill me some days. How there will be nights when I’ll flee her house and sob from the longing on my way home.
But that I was okay with that because she’s my best friend and I love her. And that it was the best I could do. And how I wished I was different, but I’m not. And that the best I can do is what I am doing now.
And it was really, really freeing to say those words.
To acknowledge how I felt. To set boundaries around what I can and can’t do.
I drove home that day, and it was like this huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.
Truth is, infertility can be hard, and ugly, and mean. It steals your breath, kicks you in the chest, stomps on your heart. Every loss, every failed cycle, is yet another stone weighing you down. And, man, that loss is in sharp relief when you see so many others around you starting and completing their families, no matter how long it took.
There’s so much Fail when you’re infertile, that the LAST thing you need to do is tell yourself that you’re a failure. It’s not productive, or fair.
I feel how I feel. And I need to acknowledge it.
The best I can do is cope. Ride out the bad days, reconnect on the good days. Be ME.
It’s all I can expect from myself.