Work is kicking my butt all of a sudden . Luckily, I work with great people at every level -- supervisors and staff -- and that helps a lot, but things are not going well and we're waaaaaay behind schedule. ARGH! The point is, I've been so busy I haven't had time to write here. But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it. In fact, I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, in part because I've just recently started reading quite a few infertility/loss blogs, most of which are incredibly thoughtful. I also just finished reading 'Waiting for Daisy' and I'm in the middle of 'A Few Good Eggs'.
One subject I'm been thinking about is guilt and self-hatred. I’ve come across many common themes in writings about infertility, but for some reason I feel like I keep stumbling across these issues lately. The thing is, these are not issues I struggle with. I get why women may feel guilty for past life choices that they feel may have contributed to their infertility struggles. I also get why women dealing with this would feel guilty that they are preventing their spouse from becoming a parent, and why they would be angry at themselves because they feel their body is failing them. I’m not saying that I think they should (or shouldn’t) feel guilty–hell, who am I to tell anybody how they should feel–I’m just saying that I can understand why someone might feel that way. In fact, I’ve been wondering why I don’t feel that way – since it seems like such a commonality in the infertility community. It’s also ironic, because I’ve spent a lifetime hating myself for all sorts of reasons. I wish it wasn’t so, but I’ll admit I’m carrying around some seriously heavy emotional baggage that actually doesn’t have anything to do with infertility.
I was a painfully shy child. I refused to order my own dinner in restaurants. I feared most social situations. When I was 7 my family moved; starting a new school and having to make new friends was so difficult that the only things I remember about 3rd grade are the wonderful school counselor I got to visit every week and crying myself to sleep every night. I was an introvert, but not by choice. I wanted to make friends, be part of the crowd, hell, I wanted to be the center of attention. But I just couldn’t, and I hated that. I eventually outgrew the worst of it, but to this day I avoid making cold calls on the telephone (that’s just great for work!) and social situations where I don’t know very many people. And frankly, I still hate that I’m so fearful of people – because really that’s what it is all about. All that fear and inability to be the person I wanted to be created enormous self-esteem and self-confidence issues, which I still struggle with today. Add to all that a short, stocky build and kaboom! I WAS that girl about whom everyone said – she’d be so pretty if she lost a few pounds. Guess what I never lost it, not for very long anyway. I’ve been on and off diets since I was 14 – that’s 23 years!
So, what’s all this got to do with how I feel about myself with regard to infertility? Well, reading about so many other women’s feelings of guilt and anger at their bodies made we wonder why I don’t feel that way too. Especially given all my other emotional baggage, including about my body. The answer is that I really have no idea. Am I angry? Hell yes. I’m angry and bitter and jealous and sad and I feel damn sorry for myself much of the time. But I don’t feel like I did anything to put myself here, so I don’t feel guilty in that respect. As for the impact on my husband: I don’t know, I willing to consider that it could be that I’m just too damn busy feeling sorry for myself to feel guilty about the impact on him. But really I think it’s just that we’ve been such a team in all this. We don’t have a perfect marriage, far from it I’m sorry to say. But when it’s come to parenthood and trying to achieve parenthood, I couldn’t ask for a better partner. When I was hospitalized before our daughter was born, when she was born 8 weeks early, throughout her stay in the NICU, and then the months with the cardiac monitor, the oxygen tanks, the medicines, and the doctors visits, and through 2 miscarriages, 1 surgery, 3 IVF cycles, and 2 years of trying for another baby, he’s been there for me and our family in ways that still surprise and amaze me. Is that the answer? I don’t know, I’d like to think it is, but maybe for now I’ll just be grateful that I didn’t pick up that extra bit of emotional baggage.
Ugh -- quite a long ramble I just wrote. If I'm embarrassed by this in the morning I'll blame on the hour. It's only about 4 hours past my bedtime!