Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

Sharing

I am pretty open about our journey. I’ll tell just about anyone about our losses and what we have gone through. I do this for many reasons. I think the most important reason I am so willing to share is to combat the shame that comes with loss. Even if you don’t want to admit it, you feel a certain amount of shame and embarrassment when you suffer a loss. Your body failed and didn’t do what it was supposed to do. If you suffer multiple losses, you start to feel embarrassed that you failed so many times or that you were dumb/selfish/naive enough to keep trying even when all signs point to you not being able to have kids. I imagine this is also true for other forms of infertility. And if I don’t talk about it–if I treat it like it is something shameful that I don’t want other people to know about, then I am only feeding this belief. So I put it out in the open and readily share with anyone.

Truthfully, I also am just an open person in general. I’m fairly willing to share with other people–which can cause some problems as you can imagine. Sometimes I trust the wrong person with information and it comes back to hurt me. But despite that, I’ve accepted that as part of my personality. I’m not completely out–most people in my life don’t know about this blog–but I have even told a few people IRL about it.

One way that being open has been a huge blessing is that it connects me with other people. When I say something about our losses or mention the word infertility, it opens some other people. People who had stayed silent and felt alone. I connect and share stories. I am able to comfort others who are hurting and help them not feel quite so alone. It’s beautiful and encouraging.

But there is an ugly side to it. I can’t help but feel betrayed when I am open and share and I later learn that a friend was struggling and never told me. I think that I am fostering a relationship where others can feel safe to share, and I am really putting myself out there, and I am a little offended when others don’t do the same. I know that everyone is not like me, and I should be patient and understanding, but I’m not always patient or understanding. It’s something I’ve been struggling with after a friend that we have told all of our woes to and who implied that she wasn’t trying and really wanted to adopt got pregnant and admitted that they tried for two years. Why didn’t she trust me? I could have supported her. It’s hard to put yourself out there with all of your fears and feelings of failure and then feel like you don’t engender the same kind of trust.

Don’t misunderstand me. This is not a post complaining about people who aren’t like me. People who aren’t there yet. People who are still too afraid to speak. This is me being honest about my struggles–including my struggle to not internalize it and feel like there is something wrong with me when someone doesn’t tell me when they are facing some of the same problems I am.

Does anyone else struggle with this?

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Acceptance

Try not to read too much into my silence. I’m mostly just really busy with school stuff–turns out getting your Masters degree in English literature means you have to do an enormous amount of reading, writing, and teaching. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not complaining. As busy as I am and as stressful as school can be, I love it. It feels so good to have forward motion in my life when I spent so long feeling stuck. The rest of our life might still be filled with unknowns, but I know what my next year is going to look like. Class. Teaching. Reading. Writing. The library. I didn’t know I could feel so much comfort from these constants, but I do.

At the moment, I am at the end of the semester and feeling a little overwhelmed with final projects/papers. So I’m taking some time out from all of that to tell you about something that happened last month.

Last month we went to Atlanta to visit some good friends. I was talking to N about the adoption process and about people’s reactions to our choice to move on to adoption. I told her the most frustrating thing is how everyone says “You know what will happen as soon as you adopt.” Everyone I talk to is convinced that I will get pregnant after we adopt–even people who know that getting pregnant is not the problem for us. And they all make it a point to tell me that. After I told her about it, N really surprised me. She looked me straight in the face and told me that she doesn’t think that will happen–that she doesn’t think we will be able to have kids. At first I was really confused because I thought I should be upset or offended, but I wasn’t.

I felt…relieved.

She was the first person to confirm that there is a good chance that I won’t be able to have kids. Seriously, the first person. I felt like the pressure was off–like there was at least one person in the world who didn’t expect the impossible from me. One person who wasn’t setting me up to be devastated all over again when adoption doesn’t magically fix me. The first person to focus on the adoption and the child we will get through adoption instead of glossing over that to the future and the hypothetical babies I will start popping out after we adopt.

Why do we do that? Why do we all feel the need to give hope–even if hope is something that can be painful and detrimental? We do it in the blog world, too. I won’t lie–one of the reasons I quit posting about our process to figuring out what is wrong with me is because I kept getting well-meaning suggestions from readers who didn’t even bother reading old posts. I got tired of readers suggesting I take baby aspirin when I have posted multiple times about my severe anaphylactic allergy to aspirin.

My doctor has found something and has suggested a game plan, and we’re going to try it. But we still plan move forward with adoption because the plan might not work. And you know what? That’s ok.

I don’t believe all of the memes and the encouraging phrases about never giving up–that true strength is always picking yourself up and trying again. I think true strength is being able to recognize when you’ve had enough and being able to move on. The truth is that some women can’t carry a child and I might be one of those women. As much as it hurts, I am acknowledging that and looking at options to move on. That’s not weakness. And what I really need right now is for someone to support that and recognize that my choices are ok and that they reflect strength and determination.

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