Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm…

The Feelings are the Same

I recently learned that a friend in my program is one of us. Just as I mentioned in my last post, if you are open enough, you will meet other infertiles and hear their stories. It’s empowering. Terribly sad, but empowering to know that you are not alone. Even in a department full of academics who have no interest in having children right now, I have found a kindred (bitter) soul. After she told me about their situation, I gave her a link to my blog, as well as a few other blogs in the community (hey, you ladies are awesome and I’m sharing you!). Apparently she sat and read through my blog, and today she said the most incredible thing to me: our situations are so different but the feelings are the same. Can I get an amen? Seriously. There are so many ways to join our “club,” so many situations, but the feelings are the same.

We all feel grief: That deep, soul-crushing grief that makes it hard to breathe and makes you wonder if you will ever be happy again. Whether you have never seen that second line or you’ve seen more than you care to remember while still sitting with empty arms, we all grieve the children we don’t have.

We all feel fear: Fear that we will never be parents. Fear that our spouses will give up on us. Fear that we are alone. Fear that we are going through all of the treatments, anxiety, money, etc. for nothing.

We all feel inadequacy: It might come from an inability to get pregnant. It might come from the feeling that your body keeps killing your children. None of us are fulfilling this basic human purpose, and that is really hard to swallow.

We all feel longing: We all see little babies and feel a deep longing. An emptiness in our wombs. We all long to be mothers–some of us more than anything else.

I know that many bloggers have written about pain olympics–the need some members of this community have to to show that they have it worse than anyone else. I even feel like there is an inherit pressure to constantly be anxious and miserable or you are a bad infertile or your situation is not as bad or painful as everyone else’s. Sometimes I feel like I need to prove my suffering through anxiety-ridden posts where I constantly talk about how much pain I am in. But the truth is, even if I will never experience what it is like to see that single line month after month, year after year and even if you will never experience what it is like to lose a precious life that was growing inside of you, the feelings are the same. We all feel the grief. We all feel the fear. We all feel the inadequacy. We all feel the longing. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded that we aren’t that different–that we share a common goal and that we are all feeling the pain of being kept from that goal.

The feelings are the same.

4 Comments »

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?

2 Comments »

The Truth

I have a lot of practical reasons why I’ve been so absent from this space. When I first started this blog, I was working a desk job with a lot of down time so I would write blog posts when I was waiting for the phones to ring at work. Since I started school, however, I am no longer in the position where I am stuck in front of a computer with nothing to do. Also, I spend so much of my time reading and writing now that at the end of the day, I just don’t want to write anymore. These are all good excuses for not being present in the blog world anymore. They are also just that: excuses.

The truth is that this space has been too painful for me ever since Tup died because it is much too lonely. For the longest time, this space gave me hope. I loved reading about my infertile bloggie friends’ pregnancies and watching IVF and rainbow babies grow up because I knew that one day, after I did my time, I would join those ranks. I thought about it, worried about it, even feared it, but I never truly believed that I wouldn’t be able to carry and birth children. I always saw our struggles as a season that we had to pass before emerging on the other side with a baby in our arms. But after two and a half years and five losses, I’m having to face the very real possibility that we may never have biological children. Even as we are filling out our adoption application, I’ve realized that I still believe that we will adopt a child and then I will have a successful pregnancy, but that is not realistic. Unless there is some change in medication, procedure, something, I don’t think that I will ever make it out of the first trimester–we can’t keep trying the same thing and expect different results. I’ve always heard that part of the adoption process is grieving the biological children that you will not have, but that is something that you cannot truly understand until you face it.

So as I am in the process of coming to terms with the fact that I may never carry and give birth to my children, I have reached a new level of intolerance for pregnant women. I feel nothing but anger and resentment when I see them, and I have no sympathy for the struggles that come with pregnancy. This means that not only am I having to deal with the anger I feel towards myself and my body for failing to protect my children, I’m also having to deal with the guilt that I feel about some of the hateful bitterness I feel towards others–some of whom I love dearly. Like our good friend who is an adoption lawyer and is helping us through this process in every way she can. She has been such a wonderful friend and support, but I can barely stand to look at her because she has a beautiful baby bump.

The worst part is how alone I feel. Especially in blogland. The place where I once I found comfort, camaraderie, and hope is now extremely painful. I’m fairly certain I can count on one hand how many of the blogs I’ve followed through this struggle that are still active and childless. Even the RPL blogs I follow are all carrying seemingly healthy pregnancies. And the number of pregnancies among my friends is almost unbearable. We started early trying to have children, so for most of our struggle, we only had a handful of friends have kids. Now I am facing pregnancy announcements on almost a weekly basis, and some of my friends are even having their second child. And where do I go to escape? Where do I go to vent and commiserate? This place doesn’t provide that for me anymore. I cheered on so many blog friends and celebrated their victories, and at some point, I was left behind.

So that’s why I don’t really write anymore. That’s why I don’t comment. Coming here is a chore. A reminder of all of my loss. I thought about starting an adoption blog, about creating a clean slate, but I’m still unsure. The truth is I would just like to feel less alone. Filling out all of this paperwork is daunting. And it’s hard. I’m having to dig up a lot of emotional baggage at a time that I’m already pretty fragile. And while I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I may never have biological children and filling out paperwork with tough questions where I have to write about things like the sexual abuse that I endured as a child, people just keep popping out babies and making cutesy announcements and I keep feeling more and more isolated.

That is the truth.

9 Comments »

Support

I’ve seen quite a few posts about how to support someone who is going through IF or loss. I think it’s great that people have written these posts because, let’s face it, we aren’t an easy group to understand and support. Statements that are meant to be helpful and supportive can be really hurtful to many in our community. I’m learning that this is not necessarily unique to to IF/loss, and being a good source of support for anyone isn’t easy.

Over the past few months, I have been struggling with how to support my husband as he deals with Crohn’s disease. My heart just breaks when I see him in pain, and I desperately want to make him better. But I can’t. I can’t heal him. I can’t alleviate his pain. I can’t promise him that he will feel better soon. So what can I do? Over the past week I’ve been in prayer about how to support him, how to be a good wife to him as he faces this terrible disease. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Pray for him I pray for my husband’s health regularly. I don’t just pray that he will be healed–I also pray that the Lord will walk with him through the desert. I pray for strength to endure and peace to deal with a diagnosis that sucks. And I make sure that hubby knows that he is being surrounded by prayer by telling him when I pray for him. 
  • Serve him When hubby has bad days where he can’t really leave the couch, I serve him. I make him something to eat that won’t make him hurt more. I bring him anything he needs. I take care of things he is usually in charge of (like mowing the lawn or putting the dog up at night) so he won’t stress about it. It’s exhausting, but it’s so rewarding and giving him the opportunity to rest makes a big difference to his pain levels.
  • Abide with him Earlier this week, hubby was hurting too much to stay in bed, so he took another pain pill and went to living room and propped himself in a more comfortable position on the couch. Instead of taking my usual approach (silently bemoaning the interruption in my sleep and shutting the bedroom door so he doesn’t keep me up), I got up and went into the living room. I held his hand and talked with him to help distract him until the pain pill kicked in. I let him know that he’s not alone in this.
  • Love him I try to use every opportunity to remind my husband of how much I love him. Sometimes he will say something like, “I’m sorry you are stuck with a broken hubby” and I refuse to accept that. I remind him that I meant it when I said “in sickness and in health.” I make it a point to show him and tell him that I love him and his illness cannot change that, and in some ways, his illness has made me love him even more because it has given me the opportunity to serve and support him in a big way.

So that is how I have learned to support my hubby: pray, serve, abide, and love. And you know what? I think that’s a good way to support someone through just about anything.

What kind of support have you received that has been particularly helpful or encouraging?

7 Comments »

Kindness Friday

After my last post, Theresa from Journey to the Finish Line and I have decided that we need a kindness Friday. The idea is that every Friday you write a post where you are kind to yourself and fight against some of the negative internal dialogue we all subject ourselves to. People in this community can provide such great support, but the support always seems to go outward–to other people, and it is time fore us to start sending some of that support inward.

This can take lots of different forms, so get creative. Here are some ideas I have thought of if you are unsure of where to start:

  • Confront a specific lie that you tell yourself and write about it. Write about why you tell yourself this lie and why it isn’t true. Then replace it with something else–something encouraging, kind, and maybe even flattering.
  • Write yourself an encouraging letter or comment and post it on your blog.
  • Draw/paint/doodle a kind truth about yourself and put it up where you will see it. It could be as simple as one word. Post a picture of it.
  • Take some time where you pamper yourself and surround yourself with things that make you happy. Do this for no other reason than the fact that you deserve it, and then tell us about it. 
  • Write a post where you tell us all something awesome about you. Don’t be modest, brag on yourself.

I’m looking forward to seeing some of the kindness tomorrow, and on Fridays to come! Also, since I have started writing about hubby’s Crohn’s disease, I seem to have acquired a new group of followers, and I encourage you all to participate as well. A lot of my posts are directed to the IF/loss community, but I know that those suffering from a painful and frustrating disease like Crohn’s could use some kindness as well!

6 Comments »

Insensitive Comments and a Sad Day

Yesterday hubby’s volunteer fire department had their annual banquet. Despite being sickly, hubby insisted on going because he loves the department and the guys he volunteers with. In an earlier post, I briefly mentioned that one of the guys at the department just got married and a month after the wedding, he told hubby that his wife is pregnant. At the banquet, a few of us were talking with him and I asked him how he is enjoying married life. He told me that they are expecting a baby boy, and I had already braced myself for the announcement, so I handled alright, but I was really upset when he followed this announcement with “That’s right, I’ve got Olympic swimmers!” Seriously? Is that necessary? I was hurt and offended and we aren’t even dealing with male factor. I’ve learned so much since I’ve entered the IF/loss community, and one of the things that I have learned is how damaging a diagnosis of male factor can be on a man’s ego and self image. Honestly, I don’t see how these men do it, because a lot of men don’t announce pregnancy by talking about how excited they are to have a baby–they announce it by talking about how they are man enough to knock a girl up. I have never heard a women announce pregnancy and then say, “That’s right, my uterus is so much better than yours at sustaining life!” If I do ever hear that, I will punch her in the face. Last night we were in a big group of people, and there were a lot of excited high fives and cheers so I kept my mouth shut, but I feel sick every time I think about it and my heart breaks for men who have to put up with that when they are already down.

In other news, my pregnancy twin had a baby girl this past weekend. I’m going to refrain from further comment on this because it will be petty and unfair.

Also, today was the due date of my first pregnancy. I wanted to write a whole post about this, but I’m still processing, and I don’t need to tell this community about how today makes me feel.

15 Comments »

2012 Creme de la Creme

I just wanted to remind everyone to check out the Stirrup Queen’s Creme de la Creme of 2012. 156 bloggers submitted what they consider to be their personal best post for the year, and this lovely blogger has compiled a list complete with blurbs describing each post. Reading through these posts definitely gives you a sense of community moving into this new year, and it might help you expand your reader a little and meet more bloggy friends.

2012-Creme-Badge-3

 

This is the post I chose for the Creme de la Creme. It’s not necessarily my best post, but it does seem to some up my year pretty well. If you didn’t participate, which of your posts would you choose?

Leave a comment »

Thank You

Happy Thanksgiving! I have so many things in my life to be thankful for, and one of them is all of you lovely bloggy friends :o) You all have helped me more than I can possibly tell you and I love this community so very much. I know this can be a hard time for those of us in the IF and loss community, but I hope and pray that each and every one of you ladies is showered with blessings today.

Leave a comment »

Community

Lately I’ve been wondering what role this blog needs to play in my life while hubby and I are taking a break from TTC. I wonder if I am really letting myself step back and take a break when I am still reading, posting, and surrounding myself with this world. In wondering this, I have begun to really evaluate what this community means to me and what role it plays in my life.

I love having support from people who understand (at least on some level–everyone’s story is different) what I am going through, and I love knowing that I can be that support to some other people. It always amazes me how much love and encouragement I can receive just from a comment on a post or an email from someone else in the community, and lately I’ve been trying to make the effort to leave some love on the posts that I read. Every time I read about a BFP or a birth, I get so excited and celebrate for that couple. It gives me hope, and I truly feel joy for them because I know the road that they have traveled to get to that BFP was long and hard.

But being part of this community is also heartbreaking. I feel a connection with some of these couples, and I will cheer and hope and pray so hard for them. But sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes my WP reader is full of BFN’s, failed IVF’s and FET’s, and miscarriages. It’s easy to feel hopeless when you are surrounded by these stories, and sometimes it is so hard to deal with other couples’ losses when I’m already dealing with my own. But you what? That’s what community is all about: sharing joy and sharing pain. It’s about encouragement and commiseration. It’s about letting yourself care about people enough that your heart will break for them. It’s about posting funny stuff that will brighten everyone’s day.

This community is important to me, and I plan on sticking around, even when we aren’t currently TTC.

Speaking of funny stuff, because we want to give my body time to heal and I’m not emotionally ready for another pregnancy right now, we are preventing pregnancy. Believe me, the irony is not lost on us. Anyway, little Miss Molly likes to get into the trashcan in our bathroom, and while we usually are good about keeping the door shut and keeping her out of the bathroom, she still manages to get into to it every once in awhile. Earlier this week, I was outside with her and saw something weird when she pooped. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was a condom. Oh my goodness. We are now buying a new trashcan with a lid.

3 Comments »

When an infertility/loss blog becomes a pregnancy blog

I want to start by saying that I’m not entirely sure what to do with my blog right now. I know many women and couples start a blog when they start TTC  intending for it to be a pregnancy blog, and it unfortunately becomes a infertility or loss blog. When they finally get pregnant, the transition into pregnancy blog is fairly smooth because that was the original purpose of the blog. I started this blog to help me deal with my fertility issues and losses, not knowing how much more we would have to endure before we would get pregnant. I wanted a way to connect with other women who have stories similar to mine and enter into a supportive community, and I feel like I have started to do that. Having said that, I honestly got that second line a whole lot earlier than I thought I would, which of course is wonderful, but I guess I’m not sure where I stand now in the community I was just starting to become familiar with. It would not surprise me if many of the women who visited my blog in the last two months stop reading because it is too painful to read updates on my pregnancy, and I totally understand because I would do the same thing if I were in that situation. I guess I’m mostly afraid that I will lose this community that I am so new to, and I won’t have their support if something happens and I lose this pregnancy. Not that they would abandon me and not support me, but that they wouldn’t know about it because they are avoiding me like the plague because I’m pregnant. I know that sounds ridiculous and I’m over thinking everything (a common habit of mine), but it’s how I feel. I want to feel free to write about my pregnancy and the joys/fears that go along with it, but I’m hesitant because I really don’t want my blog to cause any sadness or pain to women who follow this blog and are struggling with fertility. So if you are one of these women and you choose not to read this blog anymore, I completely understand, and I will continue to follow your story and cheer for you.

Now that I’ve gotten that long, convoluted disclaimer out of the way, I can write about my appointment yesterday.

First, I am sooo excited that I have actually gone to my first prenatal appointment! That’s right, despite this being my third pregnancy, yesterday was my first prenatal appointment. I was planning on insisting that they check my progesterone and take a quantitative hCG test, but Jill told me right off the bat that she would run both of those tests without me even having to ask. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I truly love the midwives at the birth and women’s center in our town. She told me that my EDD (estimated due date) is May 4 according to my DOC (date of conception)–we aren’t using the first day of my last menstrual flow because I didn’t ovulate until day 25. We also scheduled a dating ultrasound for Sept 27 (8wks) to make sure that May 4 is  a good estimate, and I’m so excited/nervous about it because we should be able to hear the heartbeat by then! Whew, one step at a time. First, I have to go back on Wednesday for another blood draw so they can compare my numbers and make sure my hCG is doubling like it is supposed to. Hopefully I will have good news about a viable pregnancy on Thursday! Apparently, pregnancy is just as much of a waiting game as TTC. I’ve been trying so hard to stay calm and not get my hopes up, but I have to admit, despite all of this worry, that I am starting to get really excited. I just hope and pray that this little baby sticks.

6 Comments »

Bit of Earth Farm

Raising plants and animals in simple partnership with nature.

Laura Grace Weldon

Free Range Learning, Creative Living, Gentle Encouragement, Big Questions, Poetry, Occasional Drollery

The Crunchy Dungeon

Life with a Crunchy Wife

A Woman Like That

...I have been her kind.

Our Egg, Her Nest?

My journey to Motherhood through gestational surrogacy

Catching Our Rainbow

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm...

Stepping Stones

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm...

Sabine Daily

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

My Perfect Breakdown

-- Surviving. Living. Hoping. -- Recurrent Pregnancy Loss & Adoption

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

Recurrently Lost

My honest account of life with recurrent pregnancy loss

Caring for Crohn's & UC

Caring for a loved one with Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis

my german life:

an american girl in hamburg

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm...

Stories of a Son

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm...

Eighteenyears's Blog

Just another WordPress.com site

IBDaily

The tales of a girl with unruly guts.

SocialJerk

Because writing about social work can be funny, too! (Sorry Precious)

No Air Radio

Hoping for a rainbow after the storm...

Growing Globe

"I am a pal of the world: I came from the wilderness." - Carl Sandburg

lamenting the lentil

unexplained infertility, twin pregnancy, and me

tales from the waiting room

Just another IF blog

The Moon on a Stick

Infertility and all that jazz.