Thursday, November 8, 2007

Life Lessons... A.K.A More Than You Really Wanted To Know

A post over at Serenity Now! got my writing juices flowing. She talked about how infertility is something that is hard to explain - the affects on your life, your personality - the struggles and the growth you go through personally from the fight.

It made me think... I have been through a few rough patches in my life... Infertility treatments would just be one of the more apparent ones. It seems that each of these experiences has made me grow wiser, more grown-up.

Most people who know me now have NO IDEA that I was married previously at the very old age of 20. I never speak of it really... It isn't like I avoid talking of it - it just never comes up...

However, from my viewpoint there is a HUGE flashing sign on my life that says "Married an Alcoholic, Con Artist and Thief - Lived to Tell!". Really, it is true... I was sure my life was over at 23, and no one was ever going to love me again.

No, I'm not going to tell all the gory details here - the short version is... Through his constant refrain I came to think I had actually caused my relationship to be horrible. Somehow I deserved the treatment -everything he did to me mentally (not physical abuse, mind you). See, physical abuse would have been obvious to me - duh, that's abuse, RUN!

Folks, it took me 2 years of hell to come to terms with the reality of my situation.

Even my family didn't realize how bad my relationship was. They thought he was funny, bright and fun to be around. He was good to me, and blended pretty well with my family. When the truth of my life came out there were some very shocked people, I'll tell you. Everyone felt pretty bad that they had not seen the signs. Of course, I thought the problem was me, so I never really talked about it. :/

That is, until I reconnected with an old high school friend that told me plainly that I was a shell of my former self. This friend saw that my smile, confidence, and laughter were gone. The path was clear to my friend - RUN!!!!

You see, I didn't realize people could be truly and utterly horrible to their core. I mean yeah, there's all those bad people on the news, but they don't live around me - they couldn't live IN MY HOME!!! You learn from this kind of life experience that those people on the news are just the ones who's stories are exceptional. There are many, many tales of horrible goings on that are never told.

I just wanted to say that even something so horrible as that relationship helped to make me who I am today. I do not regret going through hell, the trip taught me:
- A lot about how bad life can really be - a bad day at work is really just so not a big deal.
- To be good to myself - no one else is going to do that for me.
- You can have faith without organized religion
- To recognize a snake with legs
- To trust my inner voice - when it says "RUN!" I had better already be moving (no not because of fear from the ex - but I can "feel" bad people now).
- To be thankful for what I have - especially my sweet hubby, Bo.

What, you ask, does this have to do with IF?

Infertility has been a different sort of learning and growing, but carries its own lessons and reinforces others:
- A bad day at work is really just so not a big deal.
- To be thankful for what I have - especially my sweet hubby, Bo.
- To be a steward of myself and my health - no one else is going to do that for me.
- You can have faith without organized religion
- That health care professionals DO NOT know everything - quite often they are guessing. Medicine is 45% science and 55% art.

With both of these experiences it is not likely that someone will understand what it is like. They can show you empathy and sympathy, but they will never understand unless they really walk those same miles. Even those that have been nearby during your trials do not really get it.

After a while, you stop trying to explain. You only graze the surface when someone asks questions. Unless you find they are going through a similar hell. Then you will go to great lengths to point out the path - then you try to become a guiding light.

Thank you to all the guiding lights I have found here in the infertility blogging community.

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