So the EPIC POST (must be all in caps, you see...it's that epic) will be coming, probably tomorrow afternoon. In the mean time, I actually have a few things to say regarding infertility and what's going on with us lately.
We had a very interesting visit with our therapist last week. He really has been such a huge help to us and I would highly recommend finding someone you are comfortable with. He is very blunt and up front with us and said that he wanted to talk about where we felt we were at and if the therapy was helping us. We both felt that it had been helpful and really appreciated being able to put words to what's been going on. His main goal is not to get couples to feel "OK" with infertility or push them toward adoption. He really just wants you to be able to improve your quality of life regardless of what the future brings.
I talked with him about how I have all these babies upcoming in the family and would love to be able to be excited for everyone rather than feel like its a personal reminder of my own inadequacy. He asked why I felt I had to be excited, and that it's OK to feel sad about it. It's even OK to start crying in front of people because if they really care they know that I'm not doing it to try to get attention or make everyone wallow in misery with me. Also, he helped me realize that even before the infertility stuff, I wasn't really the type to get all that excited about a pregnancy anyway, so why do I feel I need to create feelings that aren't in my nature? I suppose life is a series of those moments of insight. I had never really let myself be OK with the emotions I am experiencing. I was mocked mercilessly as a child for crying and, at the ripe old age of 8, decided that crying in front of people was showing weakness that would invariably be exploited, so no more crying for me. He also said that when people we love ask us how we are doing, it's not fair to either of us to put on the brave face and say "Oh, just great," since we all knew it was a lie. Much better to be honest and say "You know, it's hard but we're getting through it."
I guess things like that would be obvious to other people, but sometimes you just need to hear the right thing at the right time put in the right words. I spent the next week allowing myself to experience my emotions, while still realizing where they were coming from. I would see a pregnant woman and instantly feel the sadness and loss that comes from someone having the audacity to procreate when I cannot. Normally, I would feel mean and rude for thinking such things and then start beating myself up over how I am not only broken but envious and bitter. Instead, I would hear our therapist in my head saying, "Yeah, you know what that does really suck and it does hurt, and it's OK to feel those things." And you know what? After that, I was able to move on. I can't tell you how amazing that feels to not have to dwell on those negative feelings. It wasn't the easiest at first, but I've been making progress.
A few days ago I was at an event where I saw roughly 25 hugely pregnant women, which would normally put me in a massive panic attack and downward spiral. Instead, I was able to experience the sad feelings, recognize where they were really coming from, and then move the hell on. Amazing! I know that infertility will always be a part of our lives. That even if we adopt, there will still be that pang of loss whenever I see a pregnant woman and realize that will never be me, but I am a realistic person. Pregnancy is overrated. Parenthood is what we really care about.
Biggest progress of all? I was able to actually look my sister in the eye and give her a hug. She is due end of April and is really getting quite big. I was able to ask her how things were going without the intent being a masochistic desire to be reminded what I will never have, but genuine interest in my soon-arriving niece.
I read infertility blogs that are full of pain and grief, and I get it. I've been there, gotten the t-shirt, filled up my punch card, and will no doubt come back to visit quite often, but I feel like I have finally moved out. At the very least, I have bought a nice time share in a happier place that I can visit. Has the analogy been beaten thoroughly enough? Yes? Good.
So where is the good story? Well if you've managed to wade through my jumbled thoughts this far you deserve a reward, so here you go.
Possibly my best story
I have a relative who is not the most sensitive. OK, lots of them are pretty callous, but she really deserves a medal sometimes. I have been on a restrictive diet for over a year to help with the endo pain, which I was OK with, but apparently other people found weird. She offers me some cake and the following interchange happened.
"Hey, have some cake!"
"No thanks, I don't want any."
"Oh come on! You're too skinny, have some."
"Actually I can't have any"
"See, too skinny and now your on a diet."
"Well, I actually can't have the wheat, dairy, sugar or chocolate because it makes the pain from the endometriosis much worse."
"You know, you should see a doctor about that. There are all sorts of new things they can do now."
"Actually, I have seen several doctors and medical knowledge about endometriosis is still very limited and most treatment options don't work well and aren't permanent. They don't even know what causes it."
"But if you got pregnant that would cure it right?"
"Um, it can. Or I can get a hysterectomy. Those are about my only options right now."
"You can't get a hysterectomy! The pain isn't THAT bad!"
"Well, actually it is, but we are still a long way off from deciding on something so drastic."
"Could you at least save your eggs?"
"Well, my endo is wrapped around my ovaries, so probably not."
"You could freeze your eggs!"
"Yes, but I wouldn't exactly have a uterus to put them in so..."
"But you could get a surrogate!!"
"Uh....pretty sure we would go with adoption over something so expensive and intense."
"You can't adopt!!! You're too pretty to adopt!!!!!"
Yes, she actually told me I was too pretty to adopt. The word you are looking for is "Wow."
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