I'm in pain. I'm excited. I'm hurt and angry. But I'm also so grateful.
Odd... yes. Sometimes living with the pain of infertility lends itself to moments of contradiction. My brother got married last November and him and his wife are already 9 weeks expecting. I'm sure pregnant on their first try, though I wouldn't want to ask or know.
What followed was not resentment, but a selfless act of compassion and understanding. He wrote me this:
"We just wanted to follow up on our chat because even though you might have been expecting this news, we can only imagine it was a little hard to hear, given what you and Homme Infertile have endured with everything. That said, we wanted you to know we are incredibly empathic to your situation and understand having any mixed emotions about it. Although this is obviously really exciting, we are still sensitive to what you’re going through. Please just know that we love and care about you deeply, and want only the best for you. We will always be here for you, even if it’s just to listen.
Never have I ever been showed that level of understanding... from anyone, at any point on this journey. And to come from him meant the world to me, making me feel so incredibly grateful to have him in my life. So grateful for him and his ability to show empathy. Grateful for his words and kindness. I don't think you can understand how much an act of selflessness and understanding like this can mean to someone dealing with infertility unless you have walked in their shoes. So often people are frustrated with us 'infertiles' not being able to show/express happiness, or attend a baby shower, or whatever it may be. They are too closed off to the pain to understand just how hard every moment of every day is, let alone moments and interactions such as those.
It sucks. There is no way around it. But life goes on, and people have to live their lives. I am so excited to be an aunt, and can't wait to see my brother be a father. I am genuinely looking forward to that day. But the 9 months leading up to the birth are hard. There is no child to love yet, only jealousy over what is to come. But once they arrive, a lot of that pain and jealousy falls away. Not all...
What is also interesting is the effect these announcements can have on an infertile. I have not been ready to pursue another round of IVF, but the feelings of jealousy (and perhaps my competitive spirit) sparked a renewed motivation to go again. I can't explain it, and I judge myself for it. But it's my truth. The conversations between Homme InFertile and myself following this particular announcement were not easy. We both felt pain and fear. Fear that we wouldn't be able to give his child a cousin. Pain that we'd have to watch them become parents and never experience it ourselves. Confusion over how to resolve our broken path.
So we talked. And we cried. And we argued. And we exhausted ourselves running in circles over where to go from here. A relationship can only take so much grief, and we have been so strong for so long that I think we are tired of clawing our way through it all. My response is to fight harder. His is to give up, and those are at odds with each other. And that brews resentment.
These are hard things to face, and I feel grateful I have a husband who is willing to communicate through these struggles. Grateful he is someone who I can speak my truths to and him not fire back angrily, but instead try to understand where I'm coming from. Try to support me, even when it's not in the way I need.
So with that we've talked about counselling. Mostly for Homme InFertile, but I will attend, work, and support when needed. This tele-seminar also serendipitously appeared in my email inbox today so we've registered. If anyone else is struggling with the relationship aspect of coping with and navigating through infertility, check check it out. It's free, and it's this coming Saturday July 16th!
And finally to help me with the words I did a little googling and stumbled upon this gem. My fav (and what resonated most with me today) was the following:
Unfair is the password that gets you into the infertility club. Mary tells a story of a friend asking her if she was angry with God.“No!” she blurted. “I’m angry at pregnant women!” She knew this was irrational, but she also knew that it was good for her soul to be honest in safe places. You actually may be angry with God, and you may need to find some safe places to be honest about that.
The complete article here: http://www.stevewiens.com/2013/03/26/ten-words-that-describe-infertility/
And with that I'll sign off for today.
Love and light to you all on this journey!