Thursday, March 28, 2013

10 Words - Molly

I friend dealing with infertility, loss and IVF sent me this link to a blog,

I would like to provide my own explanations and descriptions (in bold).

1. Lonely. We saw couple after couple get pregnant before us, our best friends included. When they told us, we high-fived them, then we went home, and hardly knew what to say to each other. We felt lost, sad, and even lonelier than before. We were excited for them; we were just very sad for us.
It’s okay to go home and cry your eyes out when your friends get pregnant.
I do it, a lot. I am not proud of it. I am not proud of the jealous feelings or inabilities to express happiness for others. I stare at bellies. I throw away catalogs, delete emails and avoid Facebook posts and pics. 

2. Exposed. Everybody wants to give you advice, and some people say incredibly stupid things. My favorite: “You just need to stop trying so hard!” Some people want to know every excruciating detail of what you’re doing to get pregnant. Suddenly, your most private details are the subject of casual conversation. Once people know you’re trying, people want to know how it’s going, if you’ve done artificial insemination, if you’d consider IVF, and how it felt in that small white room with the gross leather chair & the bad magazines.
It’s okay to avoid the question, smile, and change the subject. Keep as many things private as you can (except to a few trusted friends).
This I blame myself for. I blog about it. I put it out there for everyone to read. I don't really mind this one too much. It has been my choice.

3. On Hold. We were always checking the calendar, wondering if we should plan that vacation, or that work trip, because what if we’re pregnant? Then we stopped doing that, because we would have never lived if we would have scheduled everything around a “what if.”
It’s okay to miss a month or two; you have to live your life. This is hard, but over the long haul, it will create more stress if you feel so trapped that you can’t plan anything. We even found that it’s good to take a month off now and then.
People think it's great to do whatever I want when I want, but it's very stressful. We have avoided trips, canceled plans and not made any plans because "we might be pregnant". Two weeks of every month are "what ifs". Until last Christmas (before our cycle) I hadn't gotten in a hot tub in over 2 years. I gave up hot yoga for over a year and I feared protein powders. 

4. Invaded. For women, there are so many things entering your body (probes, needles, drugs) and so many people measuring your progress. Even sex, at the mercy of a calendar or a temperature reading, can feel invasive. The loss of control can almost merge into a loss of self.  But, it feels like once you’ve started down this road, there’s no stopping until you get pregnant.
It’s okay to say what you need, and it’s okay to shore up your boundaries in whatever ways you can.
This one I don't mind as much either. I call the probe "my other husband". Being an athlete, I had little modesty it's completely gone.

5. Awkward. During one of the first visits where I was given the small cup and ceremoniously ushered into the small room, I actually ran into some people from my church afterwards. Of course they had their baby with them. I had a small cup that contained very personal contents with me. They asked, “What are you doing here?” I mean, what do you say?
It’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes. And when someone catches you with your cup in your hand, that’s all you can do.
I don't know if my husband thinks he "part" in all of this is awkward. It's over pretty quick compared to me. My awkward is more in my dealings with people, especially at church. Many assume we are choosing not to have kids and just living it up. Many don't know how to act around me, what to say, what to do. Many cannot look me in the eyes. Many feel guilty complaining about their own issues (child wise). And many just say the wrong things.

6. Angry. 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.
It’s okay to express the darkness, even the stuff you’re terribly embarrassed about, because it’s good for your soul. But in the right places, with people who can handle it.
I deal with anger a lot. Anger, frustration, hurt, jealousy - you name it. I can be very irrational. I don't always express it. I save a lot of it for myself. Even my husband doesn't see a lot of it. I know I should be a bigger person, but I struggle. Good days, bad days. I just roll with it and do the best I can. Most of my anger comes from feeling that I am always the "one". That everyone else around me has their baby, because I am the "one" that doesn't.

7. Stressed. Even though it seems like a stressed out couple is less likely to get pregnant, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine finds that there is no proof stress causes infertility. Besides, trying hard to “not be so stressed about it” never worked for us. It also didn’t help to “just stop trying.” Everybody has a friend who was infertile for 73 years, and the day they stopped trying, they got pregnant. That never happened with us.
It’s okay to be stressed. Don’t stress about your stress. Trying hard not to be stressed is silly.
Isn't trying to get pregnant the old fashioned way stressful enough? Try adding shots, stimulants, pills, patches, appointments, ultrasounds, ER trips, more appointments, not exercising, fearing everything you do, eat and think, not having sex, miscarriages, deciding what to do next....that's STRESS.

8. Despair. The cycle of hope and despair with infertility can take you out. I remember getting so excited when Mary was 2 days late, and just knowing that this time, it’s going to happen! Then, a few days or hours later, when she told me she got “it,” I would plunge into despair. The alternative is to temper your hope so that your despair doesn’t get so low. After about a hundred months of experiencing this cycle, we found that the best route is to keep hoping, and if it doesn’t happen, keep crying. It’s too hard to pretend that you’re not excited and that you’re not depressed. Be excited. Be depressed.
It’s okay to hope, and it’s okay to cry. Keep hoping and keep crying.
The extreme high and the ultimate low. All I can do is hope...then cry...then hope...then cry. Over and over.

9. Loss. This was not how it was supposed to be. This was not what you dreamed it would be. And you don’t know how it will end.
It’s okay if you don’t know how to wrap your mind around your emotions. Be gentle with yourself for not totally having control of how you feel from moment to moment.
I know this one ALL too well. Makes me afraid to try again. Makes me afraid to do anything. But I still keep moving. Sometimes I wonder if I should "talk" to someone, but somehow, someday it's got to work out.

10. Ambivalence. Every time you have to go through another kind of treatment, you ask yourself: “Is it worth it? Do I really want it that bad?” And then in the very next breath, you are taken out by the sheer magnitude of how much you want a baby.
It’s okay to want and not want. That’s normal. 
This is where I am constantly at. The fork in the road. Which way do I go? What is the right decision? What decision will give me a successful outcome? Will I ever get a successful outcome? Am I not supposed to have kids? Is there something else out there I am supposed to do? Ask? Eat? Not eat? Get tested for? How long do I fight? When do I give up?

If you’re struggling with infertility, it can be such a dark time. You have to be out loud with each other about what you need, and every journey will be different. You have to give yourselves permission to do this journey in whatever way makes the most sense for you.

I hope that I am able to be the type of person that despite my own struggles, I can be happy and embrace other in their joys and serve them in their struggles. I hope that I have not defined myself as "unhappy or jealous". I hope that I can come to a place of peace and the right decision of what to do next. I pray my Heavenly Father stays with me and that I can feel His presence. I wish...

I wish...


Devon T. said...

You have definitely NOT defined yourself as "unhappy or jealous," but as strong, hopeful, and HUMAN! Still sending lots of love your way.

Steph said...

I am amazed at applicable this list is to so many trials! I am single and in my 30's and I desperately desire a happy marriage. All 10 of these apply just as easy to that situation. Or to many others - divorce, death of a loved one, severe illness, etc. The awkward "why aren't you married?" questions, the loneliness, the hope and cry cycles, the constant next step question, the inability to plan just in case I've met someone by then, etc. Though you feel like the "one" in this trial, there are many others that feel like the "one" in theirs - the single girl who can't handle one more bridal shower, the guy who thought his cancer was is remission, the process of a divorce, etc. Though we may be the one in our trial, it gives us tremendous empathy for the ones in theirs. I may not have your trial (or at least not yet - I have to get married first to find out!), but I sure feel like we understand each other! You're not as alone as it may seem! There are many besides those struggling with infertility that understand!

Wife of a Wounded Soldier said...

I'm praying for you.

Anna said...

Oh Molly. You are so gracious, optimistic and capable - I can bet that not a single person could define you as anything but. When I lost my pregnancy halfway through I felt the most profound sense of failure and derailment which felt unbelievably unfair and undeserved. And I hated that I couldn't bare to see any of my friends who were due around the same time as me. They felt deserted for doing nothing wrong and some were even mad at me for it, and then I felt doubly awful! I'm coming to find that more than a few women have endured this, and they are the ones we can instantly click with and comfort, like we've served in the same war and can share our stories with mutual understanding and not feel so singled out but entrusted with such a trial.

You have a great family and support system; you will know what to do and when to do it. Let yourself grieve and regroup. Things will work out!

Tiffertoes said...

This PERFECTLY describes the infertility Journey. Thank you so much for sharing! and I hope you won't mind If I link your blog and pass it on :)

TRS said...

I agree with Steph... This struggle is very similar to prolonged singleness. The feeling of " everyone gets a husband and a baby but me." I've always identified best with those struggling with infertility, because the frustration is so similar. " don't try so hard! Don't try what? Going on dates? Meeting people? Wanting to be loved?

It's supposed to happen in daily life, am I supposed to stop living daily life so that I'm not tortured by having hope? That's like telling a couple to stop having sex so that they can get pregnant!!

The struggle is very similar ... My life continues as if I'm infertile - but in reality, I'll never know.
The end result... No baby for me.

You have more partners in your loss than you know. All the single women are right here with you. ( but we don't even get to have sex!)