Friday, June 28, 2013

Part III: being ourselves

I have this ludicrous feeling that what I'm about to say is original and insightful.  In fact it's been said to death but somehow it's all finally starting to dawn on me.  I'm saying it anyway. 

As infertiles, we all know that infertility causes us to lose ourselves.  Lose all connection with reality, in many instances.  Much as I suspect many would like to distance themselves from me and my uncouth admission of this phenomenon, this is not my suffering that I incurred because - I'm a bad Catholic?  I'm not one of the cool bloggers?  This is not my story.  This is our story. 

Sure, we can tell ourselves that we're not psychos who will do unhinged or illegal things to have a baby.  But when we joke about just grabbing a shopping cart with a baby in it "by accident," we have to admit that it's funny because...we wouldn't do it.  But we can't deny the thought has crossed our minds. 

If we're honest with ourselves, we all know that fertility treatment can be so all-consuming that many women keep trying long after the odds become prohibitive.  In other words, we do things that are not prudent, that are not healthy, that are not rational, because we've been consumed by the pursuit of a baby: it's not whether I'll have a baby.  It's how will I have a baby.  Because I'll do anything.  Go ahead, deny that that's common.  Then look at comments on infertility posts.  Ask yourself, "How many times have I read a comment to the effect of, 'I know this is your month!'  'Don't give up!'  'Baby dust!'  'Your miracle will come!'?"  You do know what's implied there, don't you?  Sure, the impulse is kindness.  But the mentality is, this is not about biology, or grace, or statistics.  You will have a baby.  We all will.  We won't even contemplate the alternative.  And yet, as one psychologist has said, the ones with the most difficulty living with their reality are those who don’t make a decision - at least, if treatment doesn't end up working out for them. 

The "Bitter Infertile" girls discussed this, wisely I thought, on a recent podcast.  These two are women still in treatment, one of whom is pregnant, admitting that infertility and treatment can cause us to lose touch with reason, and with ourselves - not a helpful recipe for making decisions about future treatment, let alone about our families.  And we've all had to admit it to varying degrees.  I've quoted before the blogger who bluntly said, "Infertility is the place where dreams go to die."  But that's not the only thing that dies.  I think a prolonged experience of infertility and treatment means we lose our grip on who we are - not only our familiar personalities, from friendships to hobbies, but also our fundamental feelings of being loved, of being safe, and of being valuable.  I think this experience is much more harmful - more seriously, and more lastingly - than most of us like to admit.  But we are staring the evidence in the face. 

I feel like I lost so much of myself to infertility.

I don’t even like being around people anymore. . . . I feel like a failure . . . . I have become numb . . . . I don’t think I will ever be the same . . . . The insecurities are bleeding into EVERY part of my life. I feel like I’m losing myself piece by piece day by day . . . . I want a baby, but I miss the woman I used to be. I just don’t know how to become her again . . . . I have lost my faith in God and I didn’t want to. I wanted to believe. I can’t anymore . . . . I don’t even feel like me anymore . . . . I haven’t become a stronger person, more loving or more faithful. I have become something quite the opposite and I don’t see myself getting any better . . . . I hate myself for BEING so hateful . . . . I have to force myself to talk to friends and to pretend I am my old self. I am beginning to think I am losing my mind . . . . TTC has robbed me of the joy and hope of life. 

In fact, infertility diagnosis and treatment have been found to cause a six-fold increase in the likelihood of having post-traumatic stress disorder.  Before you hit that link, take a guess what percentage of infertility patients the study found to have PTSD symptoms.  "Among this group, 75 to 80 percent said they felt upset at reminders of their infertility, such as seeing commercials for baby diapers. Other common symptoms included feeling distant or cut off from people, or feeling irritable. Many also said they felt hopeless, and had changes in their personality." 

Sound familiar?  Tell me those things aren't serious. 

The deranged focus that derives from long-term infertility treatment - which I have dubbed "baby or death" - whispers the lie that a baby will make everything better.  And that may be the biggest lie of all.  This woman discusses the feelings I have read about from so many bloggers: "once a previously infertile woman conceives, there often remains a sense of fear, anxiety and stress around waiting for the bad news that might come, or waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop."  Of course.  As those quotes above reflect, and our own experience teaches, infertile women learn to be confident that all good things will be ripped away.  Unsurprisingly, depression during pregnancy has been found to be more common in infertile women.  It makes no sense if you think of a baby as the solution to all problems IF-related.  But it makes a very sound sort of sense if you understand that infertility breaks you.  And pregnancy and parenthood are stressors - they just put more weight on the broken spot. 

Likewise, you've probably read that post-partum depression is more common in infertile women; apparently, infertile mothers are four times more likely to have emotional problems after the birth of a child.  There is also some correlation between infertility and developing PTSD after a subsequent pregnancy (I suspect more will be learned about this in the next few years).  Our own "pookiedoo" describes the experience of post-partum depression after infertility, and the guilt it engenders in a mother who believes she should just be happy about having her hoped-for baby (or babies, in her case).  Something like adding injury to insult to injury.  (Pray for her, by the way.  She's gone silent.) 

Even if the woman chooses adoption the issue of infertility and its associated grief do not go away.

What this says to me is that a woman like me, who has gone through infertility treatment and come out with no baby, needs to go through a period of serious healing before regaining good mental balance, reestablishing healthy social relationships, achieving a sense of hope, rebuilding her faith and relationship with God, repairing harms to her marriage, and regaining some sense of who she is - what she cares about, what her life is about, what she's going to do with herself.  This is relatively uncontroversial - anybody would see the ultimately-childless infertile as being in a major "loss" position (in fact, women like me are supposed to be swept under the rug so we don't spook the newbies.  "No, no, Sally, that will never happen to you.  Please don't worry.  The Misfit was bad."). 

My experience certainly confirms that much healing is necessary, that fertility treatment shakes the foundations of who we are.  Obviously, I haven't had a chance to assess from experience how that is affected by having a baby.  But I've done a lot of observing and a lot of cogitating, and I have a hypothesis. 

First of all, consider that, infertility aside, motherhood is widely agreed to engender a loss of a sense of self.  Someone has even coined the term "Maternal Intrapersonal Anxiety" to describe mothers' loss of a sense of who they are.  I can't count the times I've heard stay-at-home moms say that they're forgetting how to have an adult conversation, or lamenting that they've lost touch with their interests.  And those are just the stresses of motherhood in general.  Caring for a newborn in particular (which is an inescapable phase of at least biological parenthood) is obviously a keen form of psychological abuse, starting with the sleep deprivation.  It's generally acknowledged to be extremely stressful.  And that's without necessarily adding other factors - infant illness, post-partum depression, pre-existing infertility, older siblings, other life stresses. 

In other words, infertility strips your sense of who you are and of the rightness of the world.  Parenting will strip away your sense of who you are even if you had one beforehand.  And caring for an infant is so stressful it can make healthy women completely disoriented - and unhealthy women (like, for example, infertiles) depressed and traumatized. 

Apart from all the gloom and doom, I do have a point here.  Unthinkable as my situation may seem to many, I'm beginning to think I have an advantage (and this flash of insight is not original either).  While I have to contend with lifelong childlessness, an emotional burden most of you have dodged, I actually have some "head room" to deal with that - and all my other issues, infertility-related or otherwise.  Once stepping out of the blinding haze of madly TTC, and with no dependents to mind, life slows down to a hover.  Don't get me wrong - I work full time and have a busy social calendar and can't even keep up with my housekeeping and there are a million things I never seem to get to.  I'll be bored when I'm dead.  But the existential reflection time, once it moves off the frenzied focus on "How can I get this baby?" and "What if I conceived quintuplets and passed up everyone who got married the year I did in one fell swoop and suddenly everything were perfect?" and "Am I defective as a woman?" and "How am I going to survive Christmas like this for the rest of my life?" and "Why would God let this happen to me?"...eventually gets around to, "How angry am I with God?" and "How much has my prayer life changed without me realizing it?" and "How many friends do I still have left?" and "What kind of new friends would I like to have?" and "What work does my marriage need?" and "What kind of life would I find truly fulfilling?" and "Where are the broken places in myself I need to fix?" 

These are precisely the kinds of questions (well, most of them) that the typical parenting article (you know, the kind that's totally oblivious to the fact that infertility exist) notes that mothers need, but never have time for. 

I am not claiming, of course, that the permanently childless have a monopoly on this kind of reflection and healing.  Indeed, some of our wiser bloggers have been here before me: it can be done after infertility, but before parenting.  In fact, if the parenting is going to happen, it's pretty well essential.  I understand that a lot of adoption agencies emphasize that for their clients - "Have you taken the time to mourn the possibility of a biological child?" - but I think there might even be more to it than that: have you taken the time to mourn the loss of yourself, and to find yourself again, and be a whole enough person to add to your burdens this new and very needy person.  And, perhaps more importantly, I don't think it's only adoptive parents who need to take this step.  I reemphasize my point above: all our understanding of the human experience allows us to deduce, and all my observations corroborate, that a baby does not cure the psychological ills created by infertility.  If anything, it is likely to make them worse.  A baby may have enormous symbolic value for infertile women, but we can't lose sight of the fact that what a baby is is a highly-dependent human being, vulnerable to serious harm.  (And I'm not talking about that "am I a good enough mother because I let me kid have sugar" bull$&!%.  I believe it goes without saying that I do not find that interesting.)  As the child of two mentally unstable people, I know this harm well, and the many many years it takes to find healing. 

That is, the manic pursuit of a baby may be the most dangerous when it is successful - a pitfall that, it seems to me, receives no attention at all, and deserves much. 

I think this concern is also borne out by the "infertility amnesia" phenomenon.  We are beaten about the head (generally by one another) with the idea that infertility is supposed to "make us stronger" or be something for which we "should be grateful" (I am a lot closer to gratitude for childlessness than fertility treatment, so that tells you what I think of that), or, at minimum, be something that "teaches us compassion."  The last is the only one I ever go on about; I'm not a roses and unicorns person, but I hate the idea of paying a heavy price for some lesson and not even learning one.  I'm not going to claim that infertility has made my life better; I don't have mental problems that severe.  But I genuinely do think that infertility has taught me to see suffering to which I would have been oblivious, and to respond constructively where before I might have stammered platitudes.  And nevertheless I am regularly tripped up by another silent suffering around me that I missed. 

Given this reflection, I find the frequent behavior of mothers-after-infertility enraging - from heavily-pregnant women leading infertility retreats, to mothers posting on their formerly infertility blogs that their babies are a blessing to the world at large not five years after they've recognized the insanity of someone else (that person not a former infertile) saying the same thing, to new mothers excoriating their former selves (and, by obvious implication, others' current selves) for having the audacity to suffer in their childless days.  And that's on top of eleventy million baby pictures and baby stories, taking over the entire infertility blogosphere, not only battering childless women in their former haven, but stripping away all their allies with the same stroke.  Forget not becoming more attuned to the sufferings of others; this is pouring salt on a wound you are staring at while the sufferer wails.  I ardently hope some form of justice awaits these people - my emotions related to infertility have cooled with time, but not on that point. 

Of course, this need for healing opens a new window on the infertility amnesia point.  I'm not saying a woman broken by her infertility journey who plunges straight into motherhood, placing further (and possibly unbearable) demands on her un-healed self, has any right whatsoever to take out her suffering on people she ought to know are in no position to be a scratching post.  Much pity as she may deserve (and leeway as she might be granted), the people she's hurting deserve more.  But perhaps this offers a new frame from which the (few remaining) childless infertiles may regard the infertile-amnesiac momstander: not jealousy, but pity.  After all, by the time her oldest is five, we may well be able to count the treatments we've done in the intervening time, and the babies we ought to have had.  But in those few years, we may also find something she's unlikely to have for decades: healing. 

Thus, as you might expect, my overriding concern is not with the well-being of the next generation (significant though I think that is).  It is with us, the generation in which IF has ensured that I will be truly invested.  In the final analysis, we do not really need babies (and a knee-jerk objection to that suggestion is probably a serious warning sign).  We need to be whole.  Fertility clinics do not offer that.  The blogosphere pays little attention to that.  NaPro does not mention it.  But it's the only thing that ultimately matters; the thing that makes any other things we may do possible; the thing that will make us happy without a baby, and the lack of which would make us unhappy with a family of twelve.  It's the thing that will allow us to become heroes - as mothers or childless women - in the large and the small things in life; to look back at the end of our lives with joy and peace; and to fit our souls for heaven. 

In other words, I'm starting to understand the deeper meaning in the idea that finally helped me quit fertility treatment: I don't have the right to throw away the life God gave me in pursuit of one He never promised. 

Which should lead neatly into Part IV: Depo-Provera. 

19 comments:

  1. There is much here that I can relate to.

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  2. I appreciate all the research you've put into this point to back up your claim that infertility treatment comes with big risks to mental health and stability. I had never thought about the rates of depression and PPD post-infertility, but it makes total sense. And the risk that that kind of damage poses to the children of infertile couples....yeah, I hadn't thought of that either.

    I took a bioethics course in grad school, and for my term paper, I choose to write about Assisted Reproductive Technology (this was ten years before I got married---oh! Irony of ironies). Anyway, one of the books I read for the paper had an evocative phrase: "the treadmill of despair" of repeated, failed infertility treatments. When I was first diagnosed, I went in with a very clear idea that I had to stop long before I got to my breaking point. And even with the refusal of most medical interventions, I came perilously close to losing my soul. (My own post on the subject: http://sarahwilllaugh.blogspot.com/2013/04/alternative-therpies-when-are-costs-too.html)

    I haven't commented on your recent posts, but they have resonated with me. The purpose in life is to live well, which is the Aristotlian insight. I would only add the Christian insight for myself: The purpose of life is to serve the common good in some way. Mothers can do this in part by raising children, but from what I see of hipster mommy-hood, there is very little of this. It seems mostly to be about getting your child into the best pre-schools, teaching them to play violin from the age of 3, etc.
    Motherhood does not automatically serve the common good.

    And childfree folk have many and varied opportunities to serve the common good.

    I would say that women undergoing IF treatment really need to ask themselves in what way their treatment serves the common good (and maybe it does, if it works rather quickly and they become responsible, mentally healthy mothers), and at what point they need to get off the treadmill and find another way to live the good life.

    Thank you for this rich and thought-provoking post.

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    1. I think this is brilliant. What is the FUNDAMENTAL good we're pursuing? If we lose track of that, we're truly lost.

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  3. Wow...you said so much. Sometimes, I just wished way back when I started, the dr's would have said "PJ, your not going to give birth." period, done. I would have dealt with the grief a long time ago and by now, would have moved on. But that didn't happen, the dr's kept my dh and I hoping. Hoping for something that was never going to happen in the first place. I still wonder why (and pray about) why I'm even taking fertility meds at this point? I feel so stupid but I ask why? Because the Napro surgeon/dr gave us hope..once again. After almost a year after that surgery...I kind of wish she had said "No, I was able to free you from endo but I wouldn't try." Or something...instead she said to try and Lord only knows how many dollars later...we still hang onto something...not sure what. I like one of your sentences " I don't have the right to throw away the life Go gave me in pursuit of one He never promised." That fits me perfectly. God never promised me a child. Never. In ways, I threw my life away but I have to look at positives...we learned more about our faith, grew closer to God and to each other...and I wouldn't have this master's degree if I had children (maybe down the road..but not now). I've had quite the life experiences. So, now the question looms..when do we stop again.

    I love your post...it brought out some thoughts for me.

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    1. "....Lord only knows how many dollars later..."

      I know that many doctors are good people, but I can't help but think that in a for-profit medical system, there is a financial incentive to keep women on the treadmill. How many millions of dollars would be lost if women said, "I'm giving it a year; after that, I'll turn my attention to grieving, healing, and moving on"?

      When I was doing research for that paper on ART, I remember one bioethicist saying that all REs should start by telling women, "You will probably not have a child."

      But I suppose no one ever got rich telling the truth.

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  4. This is my FIFTH attempt to post a comment. I keep getting frozen mid-sentence or it erases my comment when I try to post. (On a side note, adding a name/url option would be helpful as I now harp e tolog out of my reader, log out of google, then sign into google with my blogger email before it will let me comment). And I can't go back and correct those typos or it will freeze and delete my comment. I HAVE to log out is what I meant to write. Sigh.....

    Anyway, I adore this post. While obviously wet are not done (yet) with treatments, we are very close. The treadmill has finally become too much. I have been circling around many of these same ideas for the past year. How cani build a meaningful existence without children? I think our society places too much emphasis on parenting as The Most Important Thing You Can Do, which is terrible considering how many people make a mess out of it. Shifting my focus onto ow I can make the word a better p,ave (place), in both small ways and larger ones, has been a major thought in my head lately. I am saving this post for future reflections as, no matter how this current cycle ends, I don't want to forget the words of wisdome I have found here.


    Ps- I hate my ipad and apologize for the typos.

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  5. Oh, the lengths I have gone to to publish this comment rival infertility treatments! This is my SIXTH attempt. It has frozen mid-sentence or deleted my comment five times. If I attempt to correct a typo, it freezes. When I click publish, it disappears. (Just as a side note, it would be very helpful if you added a name/URL option for commenting. As of right now I have to click out of my reader, pull it up on the Internet browser, log out of google, sign back into google with my blogger email, then sign into commenting before I can even start writing my comment). Still, you are one of a handful of bloggers I will go through that for. :-)

    Anyway, enough about me. I wanted ou to know how much I adore this post. While we are obviously not completely done with treatments, we are very close. And so I have spent much time this past year contemplating what stopping means, for me, for my marriage, for my life from here on out. I think you have hit on a lot of very valid points about knowing when to quit, and knowing that life has meaning even without children. I think our society puts too much emphasis on parenting as The Most Important Thing you can do, which is clearly false when you look at how terribly so many people screw it up. There are so many ways that you and I can make this world a better place, both large and small, and I am saving this post in my reader to remind me of that when the time comes.

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  6. I'm not sure why I'm posting here, after all I'm not even sure you know who I am. I've commented before, but I don't know if you've published them (I haven't checked) and I'm pretty sure that you've never commented on my blog (only a relevant fact because I am sure you don't know who I am). And seeing who you link to on this blog post, you read a lot of secular infertility blogs, so I'm even more convinced you don't know who I am. But before I post anything (which is not much these days) I almost always think, "Would Misfit think this is infertility-amnesia?" (which I now have a name for, thanks to this post!). This in itself is probably crazy, the fact that I care so much about what you think, though I like to think of it not as just YOU in specific terms, but "YOU" almost as if I'm talking to my old-self in a way. Crazy in the way that I'm so invested in what someone who likely doesn't read my blog, thinks of what I'm writing and where I've been, that it basically paralyzes me from writing anything. And as you point out in this post and by linking to pookiedoo's blog and the fact that its "gone silent", its two sides to the same coin, isn't it? Parenting is difficult no matter what, but especially challenging after infertility. We moved shortly before we became pregnant. All the new friends I had made were thus infertile as well, as that's who I found could have interesting conversations and I had things in common with. Actually, until I had my baby those were my only friends. And so when we had our baby, we literally had no help from non family members for the first two or three months because, well, what infertile is going to visit a new baby? And more so, what former infertile is going to ask that a friend visit their new baby and help them? And that was an incredibly hard first few months, not to the fault of anyone, but yes, infertility made it much more complicated. Blogging after infertility is nearly impossible. I don't know what could be done to make it better, posting pictures of your kid is obviously horrible but then disappearing seems to say "I don't care and I've forgotten about you" which is the farthest from the truth. I'm just, stuck. I'm sure others are as well.

    And I'm always shocked when I realize how few women going through infertility haven't thought about the long term possibility of just never having children. This was one of the parts that made infertility the worst, and even the hardest part about just getting my cycle every month. What if I just want to take a break and think about this a little, try to process the possibility without being on this continuous roller coaster? So you could say I'm excited to hear about this next Part...

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    1. You hit the nail on the head. You're d***ed if you do and d***ed if ypu don't. You can't pretend your child doesn't exist nor should you. That child is as much a part of your life now as infertility was before - more so. At the same time, you do still very well remember life and feelings and pain which came during that time. It will always be part of you. You really are caught between a rock and a hard place blogging-wise.

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  7. Sigh. I hope that comment was in moderation and not just deleted :( Argh. Stupid computer.

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  8. Girl,

    When are we going to meet in person to talk about all this stuff? Despite learning not to love VA, I'm willing to get there for you. Not to gossip together or complain but to help each other process the pain.

    I don't have to tell you (as a "never been pregnant/stopped treatment a year and a half ago/still learning how to live w/o kids") that I get you. And I applaud you reading secular blogs. You point me to some of the most interesting writers. Thank you.

    I'm treading on insensitive territory here but... I've been reading matchingmoonheads for a few years and I am particularly annoyed with her attitude sometimes. She says that "posting pictures of your kids is obviously horrible" but uses her kid as a sweater model. I get that former infertiles with kids will post pics of their kids. Please don't placate the childless by disingenuously calling it "horrible." If it were horrible, you wouldn't do it.

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    1. Ooh, you live rather far from VA! I have extended family in LA and environs. I'm afraid I don't get out there remotely as much as they think I should, but next time I am there we need to grab coffee, at least! And if you have any reason to be in the DC area, you know you have a place to stay. And a fellow barren gal to complain with ;).

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    2. Why both saving gossip for in person when you can just do it on the internet, publicly!

      I'm sorry I've offended you by posting pictures of my child in the sweater I made him. It was in his room while he was sleeping when I actually had time to post and the only picture I had of it was of him IN it. I don't know why for the life of me I feel the need to explain myself to you as every interaction I have with you is you telling me something horrible I'm doing.

      I understand how that seems hypocritical to say that infertile women find post-infertile women posting pictures of their kids is insensitive (because they do, and I thought that was at least SOME of the point of misfits post, although I can't be sure because she was gracious and vague enough to make us only wonder if we're doing a bad job) and then post a picture of my child somewhere on my blog, but I decided to not sweat it because I have other people commenting, "Oh, you should post a new picture of him! I haven't seen him in forever!" and then I'm ALSO sure that I'm upsetting the infertile friends that do want to see my kid and think I'm hiding him like they can't handle his existence or something (actually, I know this for a fact). So, this whole "blogging after children" thing is obviously extremely difficult when you're trying to share your thoughts and life and trying to be sensitive to the relationships that were so important to you in the first place.

      I just can't for the life of me figure out why you think I'm being disingenuous in my efforts, airing. I tried to meet up with you when I first moved out here, for purely friendship sake, and you had no desire to meet up and I never heard from you again (until you commented once on my blog "welcome to LA, where they forget about infertiles" (or something like that). So you don't like me and didn't want to meet up, that's fine, I took the hint. I just don't know why you think my intentions to be sensitive are disingenuous, even if I miss the mark from time to time.

      Those types of comments make post-infertile women just want to throw in the towel on blogging and just stop bothering TRYING to be sensitive because "no matter what I do, I'll upset someone." Which I refuse to believe and I hate when people would say that or make comments like that on my blog. It just sucks to hear you repeatedly treat my efforts so insincere.

      We are trying and we are praying and we are not the enemy.

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    3. 'Matching' - you misunderstand/I didn't communicate correctly. I've never had a problem with bloggers with children posting pictures of their kids. I enjoy it, actually. Kids are cute (that's part of the superficial reasons I wanted one). I think your comment about it being horrible to post pictures of your kid(s) on a former infertile blog was a response to Misfit's comment about how baby pictures, "not only battering childless women in their former haven, but stripping away all their allies with the same stroke." In this case, I don't agree with the Misfit. I should have said that first before miscommunicating to you that pictures of your adorable son in sweaters in not horrible and you shouldn't call it as such. Post away, IMO!

      Regarding the personal emails we exchanged several years ago, they are in a closed account so I cannot reference them. However, I do remember that you commented that I lived 'above' or 'north of' the Park. In this case you were referring to Angeles National Forest, one of my most favorite places. Of course, you could not have known my reverence for this special place in nature because I rarely, if ever, talk about my nature pursuits. So, that just kind of annoyed me.

      However, after my great-aunt died, (who was very, very dear to me and something that I wrote about in my blog) you wrote to me and said you were sorry to hear about "the death of your grandmother? [I can't really remember how you were related to her]." In this case, I was very hurt by this comment because the facts could be easily verified on my blog and I felt you didn't care enough to check.

      I am all for having more friends and I certainly would have liked to have an infertile pal close to me rather than across the country. However, I do realize that all the bloggers have in common is ethnicity/marital status/education and now some have kids. These common characteristics do not mean we all become fast friends. I'll readily admit I am not easy to get along with because I rarely make concessions to go along with the crowd.

      I really wish you nothing but happiness and success with your family and career. I do apologize if I was brusque or hurt your feelings unnecessarily.

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    4. Sorry, I was looking at a map and hadn't been out to the area. I (stupidly) didn't even really realize they were actual mountains until we came out to look for a place. And that was pretty insensitive about your great aunt. Im sorry I didn't seek to clarify that first, I can see how that seemed flippant. Either way, I'm glad you said something so at least I know I'm not crazy and that I really couldn't win at a relationship with you from the beginning. I never had bad intentions, I just had a crazy year that year (between being separate from my husband, graduating, surgery, moving). Again I apologize for seeming insincere and I thank misfit for letting us have this all out publicly on her blog. Whew.

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  9. I responded to Matching Moonheads' comment on her blog, to make sure that she saw it. I've also been having a very thought-provoking side discussion with JBTC on this matter (which I note was merely one of the points I made in my post!). I may now have distilled my thoughts on this matter better, so I share my best version of that reflection here:

    There is nothing I am suggesting that former IFers do to change their blogs (sensitivity is always good, but a lot of people do pretty well with that already). With limited specific exceptions, there's nothing people are doing that's a matter of personal sin or immorality or unethical behavior or whatever rubric anyone wants to use, which I am suggesting they change. There may be some global change that's possible, but I've not thought of it yet. What I would like is for everyone who now has a child to really think themselves into the situation, "OK...now all my childless pals are raising kids...and I have no new childless pals to talk to...there's a few new infertiles, but they've been in treatment a year, and will certainly be pregnant within another year, and have no idea what fives years feels like, or ten...and the ones raising kids have sometimes been mothers so long they don't even remember what I'm talking about with the 'pregnant parking' or the belly-rubbing...and some of them are actually really defensive about it and refuse to listen to me, or attack me when I'm upset...and I am still devastated that I don't have a child, and my odds dwindle every day...and there are days I just can't look at baby pictures. So now I don't sign into my blog at all any more. I am completely alone."

    And then recognize that - WHETHER OR NOT any individual person has done anything wrong - that is fundamentally not OK. And not in the sense of "you are making me feel guilty and I want to stop thinking about this," but in the adult sense of not OK: "I cannot afford to stop thinking about this as long as someone is being hurt." Obviously, the childless women don't need me to explain this to them. But I get the impression that most of the women with kids simply cannot see it. I want them to see it and talk about it.

    If that's too much to ask, why are we all here?

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  10. I am glad I found your blog again this latest post in particular. I kept forgetting to add it to my list, I was following you while you were doing your decorating and remodeling you are awesome at those things btw :) OK so wow, there was so much in your post that resonated with me! My husband and I decided to stop all IF treatments by the end of this year and move on with our life. It was a hard decision to make because you have the pull of the Dr. and all those hoping and praying for you then on the flip side you have the pull for self preservation and sanity. When we thought about it like this it was an easy decision because I am not good for anyone God, my husband or the world for that matter if I do not have peace. God never promised me that I would have children I just assumed that's what He wanted to give me. What if He has something better than children planned for me? I know that may sound harsh and the stay at home moms are in an uproar now, for the record I love and support stay at home moms, but maybe that is NOT the life for me.

    After we stop IF treatments we have decided to consider pursuing adoption BUT that is after we take sometime to heal from all of this. Adoption is a crazy business that I know we are not ready for that train yet. I guess the hard questions that I am now dealing with is, what does God want for my life? What does He want me to do? These are questions I will be discerning during this time of treatments and thereafter. Something that my husband has always pointed out to me is that we should only do treatments that are for my long term health like taking away endo or healing PCOS as much as possible. I have thought that I may never have a biological child here in earth and I think of that often. I wil admit though that we are going out of our comfort zone to try clomid in a few months as a last ditch effort before we close the book. I have gotten some comments from my mom friends that I am so young, I have many more fertile years of trying ahead and don't give up. Sometimes I want to scream and say "NO I don't want to be on this train any longer I am young I want to enjoy my marriage," not that I don't enjoy my marriage now I just don't want it to be the focus of my marriage.

    All this to say that I love this post and it is making me think a lot!

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  11. Thanks for the post! It certainly helped validate my PTSD experience with being infertile (unlike most of you, I didn't go through infertility treatments, it was pretty much two months of going through tests with a bump in uterus, ending with the news that the uterus had to be removed). Pretty much a sudden shock after dreaming of being a mom for a long time. I'm still processing the post. Thanks again!

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  12. Hi Misfit,
    It has been a very long time since I have last visited any blogs, including my own. In fact, today was the first time I saw your comments on my posts from 2011. I am okay, and my outlook on life has improved since I last blogged. I honestly don't remember much from the first 8 months of my twins' lives, and am just becoming able to look at pictures from those months. You posts are as truthful and insightful as ever, and I wish you all the best.
    -pookiedoo

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