Sunday, January 14, 2007

The awful truth... Or, To tell or not to tell?

This is a very long post - so I won't be offended if you do not hang in until the end.

Below are some venting thoughts and questions I needed to get out into the light so I can examine them a little closer... Some of them may be inflammatory, some are going to make you want to tell me why my ideas wouldn't work for you. I want you to know up front that I am simply stating how I see the world and what I would wish for the infertility community I have become a part of. I welcome stories and comments with open arms...

Over the last few days I have been reading through many, many blogs - through the use of Julie's Big List. I am amazed at the number of people out there that have similar or worse TTC stories. Oh My GOSH! F*%K!

Was I really that blind going into this thing?? Was I really that clueless about the breadth and depth of the infertility issue? Was everyone else in on the joke but me? Or is it that people just don't talk about their infertility trials and losses as part of their daily lives?

I am guessing it is the latter... Otherwise, how is it that there are this many woman having this kind of trouble and yet there is sooo little information about it in our daily non-internet world.

Now that I am part of this community, I think it is because it is somehow taboo, or a "no-no" for women/men to have fertility issues. It is taboo to talk about the feelings, frustrations, and trials over becoming pregnant through something other than the "Baby Dance".

For example, The lady sitting across from me at the office - while I don't actually like her, and wouldn't think she would share personal info with me - was TTC for who-knows-how-long and none of us, not even her closest office friends, knew until she became pregnant with twins through IVF. She told no one of her success until she was 3 months along. The sad news is that she soon lost the twins after having told everyone she was pregnant. It left all of us unsure what to say, what to do... She was so sad and so angry at the world, and none of us knew how to handle it!

How is it that a large group of intelligent people can't decide how to handle this loss? From what I am reading in the infertility community, this kind of loss is something that appears to be pretty common, all things considered.

So, how is it that we have no knowledge of how deal with this properly?

I mean really - you know what do to when your friend's brother, sister or uncle dies - you send flowers, food and comfort! You express your condolences - you know how to do that! What do you do for a miscarriage?? What should you say??

Why is this still an uncomfortable thing to deal with?

I think some of it comes from the secret of procreation. No, I don't think tales of sexual adventures are part of your work life. But, when you are going through something really difficult in life, like a loss of a loved one, it is very likely you will tell a few of your closest associates. Why should this be different? Why is it taboo to have trouble in the procreation area?

Have you done something wrong? Did you secretly wish the child/children would not be born? Did you commit some sin? Do you deserve to be an outcast, unable to express your sadness over your loss? Is this the middle ages where you, as the woman, MUST have done something wrong, something to deserve God's wrath?

No -- No -- NO! it is NOT any of these things....

So why don't we start telling our stories openly... Let's heal the wounds and find support in our network of friends and family.

For myself.... I am sharing my story with a few very close female colleagues. I figure if there is the likelihood that I am going to break-out with a crying jag over finding out someone else is pregnant in our office, or if I'm going to be a T-Total Bitch on the Clomid or Follestim (I wasn't, but oh the stories I've heard/read) I want my posse of females that like me to be there to support me - and tell all those non-informed that I am not really that bad, that I am just "going through a rough time at home".

I want some support damn-it!

Actually, I want people to know some important things...

  • That we have had 2 miscarriages, we have cried over them both, yet we do our best to maintain the hope of a baby in our future.
  • All the bruising on my hands is not because I am a drug addict and those are not "drug tracks" up my arms. LOL
  • How f*%king hard I am trying to have my own little bundle of joy.
  • That I am the biggest cheerleader for pregnant women because it gives me hope that I will one day be there too.
  • That I am terribly jealous of those same women (especially the ones that are set to deliver in the month I would have) - I wanted to be there too.
  • That I am stronger than I look.
  • That I need their support and understanding.
  • That I want to be a Mom, and saying "You're young, you still have time." may be the cruelest words in the English language. They may have even lead me to this point - because I thought I had plenty of time - so I played around and didn't get serious when I should have!
  • That I DO NOT blame myself or my husband for having infertility problems.
  • That we did nothing to deserve this.
Well time to get off that line of thinking... I'm starting to cry. I want so much for the world to understand what it is like - how hard it is. They would probably have a WVHBM Day (Working Very Hard to Become a Mother).

Even my doctor needs to understand more about this community. He had the nerve to tell me - "You have plenty of rungs to go on the ladder, you are nowhere near the top!". He was referring to the types of procedures we can do to get me pregnant. To which I replied, "I'm not going to make it to the top, I'm already tired!". He doesn't understand how grueling it is to undergo daily shots - watch every morsel of food or drink - get your blood drawn and an US almost daily for 2 weeks every month- how you try not to get your hopes up - the dreaded 2 WW followed by the BFFN.

HOW CAN HE NOT UNDERSTAND??? It is because he hasn't had to do it - I'm sure.

OK - those are my thoughts for the day. Cheery, I know.

Funny thing is, last night hubby asked me if I wanted him to read my blog or not. I answered that I didn't so much, because I didn't want him to censure me. So much for wanting to express myself honestly and openly huh? Actually though, I do talk with him almost daily on the subject, so he really does know how I feel. :)


Anonymous said...

Well, I can think of another reason why people don't talk about it. Even before I found out I was infertile--during the two years we were trying, before we knew why we couldn't--I didn't tell anyone I was trying. I feel that kind of thing is just not other people's business. Especially considering the whole woman professional thing--I'm in a management position, etc.--I want to control who knows what information about me when. I don't want my boss starting to make plans for what to do when I leave, when I'm not even pregnant yet. And I have been burned before when I have shared personal info at work--not necessarily bad stuff, but when people know something about you outside work they tend to ask you about it all the time--in my case it was a sport I was participating in--and when it's not going well you don't necessarily want to talk about it all the time. As it turns out I am SO glad I never told anyone we were trying, and I'm certainly glad I didn't tell anyone I was doing IVF, since it failed. Even if I wasn't having to use ARC I still think I wouldn't tell anyone at work I was pregnant until I was 3-4 months along...I wouldn't want to have to deal with everyone knowing if the pregnancy ended. So, I know a lot of the "secrecy" has to do with stigma, etc., but I don't think that's the whole story.

Inglewood said...

Totally agree with anonymous. I did tell my boss about the treatments and subsequent success. Somehow it got announced in another department's meeting. By 10weeks almost everyone knew. It added a lot anxiety. Some co-workers didn't understand why I wasn't more excited, (I have had 5 miscarriages), even going so far to assume I didn't want it. It was quite uncomfortable.

As for handling miscarriages, many people don't understand the concept of mourning something that never was or someone you never met. Empathy is difficult.

Baby Blues said...

I agree that IF is something not openly discussed. It really depends, some people feel better talking about it while others, don't want to bring it up at all. It's really up to you and how comfortable you would feel with others knowing.

It's tough and it's really difficult to understand the pain we go through. Being open would help us get the support and encouragement we seek. But we can't expect everyone to understand.

Geohde said...

I'm here via the Roundup.

Thank you for your thought provoking post.

And congrats on your pregnancy!


Kami said...

I agree with everything you said. Because of all the reasons you stated I am very open about what we are going through. Maybe the time will come when people will know how to deal with a miscarriage. Even if they can't really "get it" some part of their experience will tell them to send a card or say "I'm sorry."

Chili said...

It's such a catch twenty-two, because I would love to shout my story from the rooftops in order to help other people know that they are not alone, and help those who've never been through it understand how hard it is. But at the same time, it's hard to open yourself up to constant questions and assvice that always seem to come at *just* the wrong time (not that there really is a right time...).

Great post.