Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Sad Truth About Infertility

NOTE: This was written about a week ago. I took some time to process it before posting to avoid any knee jerk reaction type scenarios. Funny how things work. This particular friend actually face-timed me AS I was writing this. If you believe in energetic connections like I do, this was definitely one of those moments. I believe she just knew I was feeling upset, and related to her... subconsciously of course. Anyways, enough of that mumbo jumbo. Feel free to read my emotional rant below. Take it with a grain of salt knowing I was just having a really crummy day all around.

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I'm not entirely sure what compelled me to write this today. I could pinpoint a moment scrolling through Facebook perhaps, but it's more likely a culmination of things, a build up to this moment in time. So with that, I want to share some thoughts on the sad truth about infertility.

First though, I want to acknowledge it's not all bad. There are good days too. Infertility can be something that makes us stronger, that tests us to our very limits, and breaks us down to little pieces, forcing us to build ourselves back up. We become warriors, and fearless. We learn perspective and grace. But we also carry a lot that is less than pretty... ugly at times, in fact. 

The sad truth is, infertility makes us jealous. It makes us resentful. It can even turn us into anti-social and closed-off individuals if we let it. Facebook for instance, a place of social interaction, sharing of pictures and our life adventures, becomes a place to fear for us infertiles. It becomes a place to avoid. Why? Because it bears so many reminders of the life we so desperately desire, and our inability to achieve it. It depresses at a time when we so desperately need to be lifted up. The irony is we log on to escape boredom or to be lifted, but it can have the opposite effect. Sure we can be happy for our friends and their beautiful children, but those images that they share so freely feel like a dagger to our hearts with each and every post. We love seeing the smiles on your face, and love in your eyes, but it simultaneously makes us sad. We don't have beautiful maternity photos of ourselves. We have no beautiful memories with our children to share. We lack, or feel our lives lack. 

As our friends and family move forward with their lives, we feel like we are being excluded from a very precious and prestigious (although I'll acknowledge, seemingly tiring and challenging) club. We aren't ignorant. We know motherhood is no walk in the park. Those warrior mothers deserve to share their triumph. I don't suggest we take away from their glory. But, unfortunately, their glory can make us feel like even more of a failure. See, infertility is something you can't really understand until you experience it. You might think you know the pain, or can imagine it, but it overwhelms. Life is filled with constant reminders of our ineptitude. I can't conceive, therefore I am not worthy. I am not worthy of bearing a child. I am not worthy of a family. I am not worthy of your precious mommy's club. 

You can't commiserate with me on your lack of sleep, because you know I will likely feel little sympathy, either feigning it unconvincingly, or instead telling you to be grateful for the precious gift of experiencing motherhood. You tell me I say this now, that I don't know or understand what's in store, and that is exactly the point. I don't know. I don't KNOW if I'll ever know. But at the same time, I know so much. 
I know the pain of years and years of sleepless nights wondering if this treatment finally worked. 
I know the exhaustion of self-administering needle after needle with nothing to show for it.
I know the emotional turmoil of feeling like I've let my husband down.
I know the sadness of a heart that aches for something I don't know that I'll ever experience.
I know the heartbreak of wanting so fully, and working so hard for it, to come up empty handed, month after month... year after year. 
I know I don't KNOW. And that hurts. 

We are no longer part of the same world, you and me. We are no longer sharing in the same human experience. Mine differs drastically from yours, and yours from mine. And that's okay. But you see, I am forced to accept and be comfortable with your over-sharing of baby pictures, while a small mention of my infertility is off-putting. It's taboo. It makes you and everyone else uncomfortable. You don't know what to say. You think I am trying to make you feel bad for me, or guilty for being happy, but that couldn't be further from the truth. I want you to be happy, and am glad you are. I want to be happy too. Some days I am! Some days I'm filled with so much joy that I forget about my struggles temporarily. Some days are harder. Society doesn't know how to handle us. We're the outliers, or are led to believe we are. But we infertiles are millions. It's just that society doesn't like talking about it. 

The sad truth is that today I feel ugly inside. I feel jealous and resentful. I feel like I've been dealt a crap hand deal after deal with no option to trade in, while those around me are handed royal flushes. I am sad for myself. And I judge myself for that. As if being infertile and dealing with all of this isn't enough, I feel bad, for feeling bad. 

I feel like I should be grateful for my health. 
I feel like I should be grateful for a roof over my head, and a healthy meal to eat. 
I feel like I should be grateful to have found the love of my life, and even be working towards a family.
I feel like I should forget about the pain and suffering I am experiencing because it could be worse.

Well of course it could be. Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone experiences pain and heartbreak. If you look for someone who has it worse, you're undoubtedly going to find them. The world is full of pain and misery. Maybe you are scrolling Facebook and sick of seeing pictures of me and my husband adorably traveling the world side by side with smiles on our faces, and that causes you pain because your relationship isn't strong, or maybe you are doing this solo. I get it. I'm blessed with a beautiful relationship I believe is 1 in a million. I AM grateful. I DO feel blessed. But that doesn't mean the pain I feel surrounding my inability to start a family is any less valid. 

I have friends afraid to come crying or complaining to me about trying for 3 months. DO it. COMPLAIN! It's okay, I'm not going to bite your head off so long as you do it with empathy in your heart. I've been there. I remember the psycho mess I was back then. I'll help guide you. Don't face this pain alone because you think mine is worse. Accept mine, and I'll accept yours. We're in this together! When you do get pregnant, don't just post it on Facebook and avoid me, that only wedges our worlds further apart. Instead build a bridge of understanding between us. Text me your news very lightly and allow me time to absorb it on my own. Don't Facetime me and put me on the spot, in a position to put a smile on my face to make you feel good. I don't ever want to take away from your glory, but understand it will be hard for me, just as I did for you. Continue to reach out to me, ask me how I am, how I'm doing. Don't stop asking because I don't bring it up. Since you've had a kid, I feel like maybe you don't care anymore... and I feel very alone. 

I know my mommy friends feel this way. They feel afraid to share their lives with me. Just above I told you I wasn't going to feel bad for you when you complain about the pains of motherhood. Don't misunderstand... I will serve as a reminder to why you did it. I will serve as a reminder to be grateful. And if you don't like that, maybe complain to your other mommy friends, and instead let me enjoy your company without the conversation always being about you and baby. It may be hard for me, but the truth it I never want to stop being part of your life. You feeling awkward about it makes me feel like the kid that got invited to the party that no one is friends with... they're just there because people felt bad discluding them. Don't include me just for the sake of it. Include me because you want me to be part of your life, and because you want to continue to be part of mine... even if it no longer matches yours, or isn't always rosy rainbows and sunshine. Because I love you, and cherish our friendship, even if our lives have veered in different directions. Hopefully it's only temporarily. But be patient with me as I am unbearably impatient with myself and my own circumstances.

Right now I need a friend. I need the comfort of feeling my battalion at my side. But yet I feel very, very alone. 

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