An interesting thought...I still have so many things to work on in my life, and can claim to no particular progress. Certainly restoring the closeness in my marriage after all the travel and separation is high on the priority list, and in truth I've no idea what best to do to tackle that. But (here's the interesting thought) in the past few weeks I think I've felt less misery associated with the IF specifically. I still feel that the medium-term future is a blank and I don't know what we'll be doing with our lives (and have developed some ideas about what I want to do, but not any real hope of being able to accomplish any of that). So it's not that all is rosy. But while I know I still have a lot of growth and grieving and resolution to get through, I don't feel the sort of wretchedness over being childless that I think is often there below the surface.
Do you know what I realized? I've been blogging a lot less - just haven't had things to say, in many cases, I guess. I don't think that it's reading IF blogs that makes IF harder to bear. (Maybe I'm wrong.) I think it's reading about other people's babies that does it. I have to deal with babies to some degree in my real life, of course, as is natural (although fortunately it is to a limited degree, because it always carries some degree of stress). But as far as I can discern, reading about others' parenting experiences and small children and pregnancies and deliveries is a poison in my life - brings suffering with no alloy of joy or goodness at all. I can pretend to joy and occasionally be happy that someone else has a blessing and is happy about it, but I'm not happy about the baby, don't want to hold the baby, don't want to see the baby, nor pictures of the baby. If I don't have to hear about babies at all for even a few weeks, my life is perceptibly more peaceful.
And for anyone who is struggling with the question of what to do with crossed-over infertile mommy bloggers when it is hard to read them - I found that separating into "with" and "without" babies blogrolls (I still have to update a bit), though a symbolic gesture, made all the difference in the world. It was effectively giving myself permission to stop torturing myself. I don't check the second blogroll every time I do a run-through to see what new posts I've not read yet. And I've fallen behind on most of those bloggers' lives, and that's regrettable in a sense, but honestly, with few exceptions, even when I kept following the mommies and commenting, they stopped following me - not after the births of the babes, but within at most weeks of the BFP. As I said, there are exceptions (those blogs I still read every time I check in!).
It's life, like sisters and cousins we would never want to experience IF but whose babies torment us all the same; and giving yourself permission to acknowledge reality is the kindest thing you can do as an infertile woman. You don't have to go to baby showers (let alone throw them). You don't have to look at baby pictures ("No, thank you" is polite. You can say it. The world will spin on). You don't have to go to BRU ever. You don't have to visit a new mother in the hospital unless she is your daughter. You don't have to listen to labor and delivery stories (*smile* "I'm afraid I have trouble listening to that sort of thing. Can I get you something while I'm up?" is polite too). You don't have to read mommy blogs. You don't have to ask to hold the baby just because the other girls do. And if you want to do those things, then you can do them, and if you usually want to but on some particular day you don't want to, you don't have to. You don't have to.
Finally, though most everyone has probably heard this already, I "hear" these but don't hear them often enough, so here is this Sunday's first reading:
How long, O Lord? I cry for help(From the book of Habakkuk. I look forward to a "vision that will not disappoint," even if its identity is unknown; even though I know by now that this does not mean I am to hope for a baby.)
but You do not listen!
I cry out to You "Violence!"
but You do not intervene.
Why do You let me see ruin;
why must I look at misery?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and clamorous discord.
Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
if it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.