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The Clements’ IVF Journey

Stages of Grief February 15, 2009

Filed under: Frustrations,Sadness — Aria @ 7:52 pm

In December, a now-ex-friend of mine was offended I wasn’t more into her friend-with benefits, accusing me of needing “to get over it already”, on Christmas, just three days after getting the call, when I needed my friends most. She told me I needed therapy if I was “still dwelling” about my loss and that I needed to just look on the bright side of things and look at what I do have, which it never occurred to her that I was trying to do. She just presumed. I never expected her to understand my grief or share it, but I sure didn’t expect her to think I should be over it so quickly, I guess because her friend-with-benefits was more important to her as she apparently thought he should be for me too, my priority because he was her priority. I miss my friend, but she is the one who expects me to make her life my priority over my own.

I posted the next day some information about the stages of grief as I started wondering how may people have ever been though something that will mean going through the stages of grief. I figured I’d repost that post here as well:

Some links:

Stages of grief
Myths and Facts About Grief Read the first one of this, if you read nothing else.
Loss Affects People in Different Ways
Help someone who is grieving Some of these things obviously won’t apply since these babies have no things to help clear out. But the last three especially are good, especially the first one.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have been told, more times than I care to count, to “look on the bright side” or to “think positively” about things when it comes to being sad right now. But guess what. A week ago I was pregnant, and now I’m going through losing two more babies. I need time, and it’s really kind of mean to expect me to be able to be all happy and jolly like nothing happened. It was hard work making these babies, VERY hard work, not at all fun like simply throwing out the birth control and having lots of sex would be. Fuck, part of this process is actually no sex. There’s nothing fun about IVF. It’s hard enough losing a baby that wasn’t planned. It’s ten times harder to lose one you planned for and went through something so difficult to conceive.

So don’t tell me to think positively right now or to focus on other things. I just lost two more children. I have every right to have my sad moments. I’ll be honest and tell everyone reading this that these are the wrong things to tell me. Tell me you’re sorry I’m going through something, and that goes a long way to making me feel better. Tell me I’m going about my grief in the “wrong” way and I’m going to feel defensive. No two people handle grief the same way. As long as I’m not self-destructive, doing things like drinking and driving or drugs, then I’m not handling things wrong.

I’ve been through enough shit in my life that I know what works to help me move past things that have happened. I can either try to ignore things and be dealing with it in the back of my mind for a long time, or I can focus on it and work through it in a shorter time. I’ve been through far more shit than anyone else I know, and I’m sorry if it saddens me and can be hard to be so optimistic about certain things when my own experiences have been so bad.

I’m feeling more and more like I have to filter who naming my friends I can share my feelings with, and I don’t want to do that. It’s taken until only a couple years ago for me to feel like I could share anything. Until then, I bottled everything up. I’ve refused to filter far, but I’m wondering if I shouldn’t hold things in again, and just share how I felt after I’ve dealt with it. I’d rather do this than to basically be told to ignore what happened to look only at happy things. I can’t just ignore losing babies. I’m still feeling the physical pain. I’m going to go through IVF again and that will remind me, but the other option is doing nothing and having no children. Not an option!

So far the only people who haven’t told me these things are the people I know who can’t have babies naturally, if at all. So my infertile friends and my mom (total hysterectomy – no chance she can ever have kids in any way). Even Cody isn’t exempt. He’s told me to “look on the bright side.”

Cody and I had this exact conversation this morning, spent the morning arguing about it. His way is to basically ignore what happened and look on the bright side of whatever’s happened, but there’s no bright side to losing babies unless one didn’t want them. I told him just hug me, and, in nicer terms, to shut up about the rest if he wants to tell me to something like that. Really, I don’t need to hear it.

No one can understand completely how I feel unless you’re dealing with infertility, have lost one baby before infertility, then have gone through fertility treatments to conceive babies, had the positive tests, felt elated, even if slightly afraid to believe it could be true, only to lose them, and to know conceiving again isn’t as easy as contraceptive-free sex. It was easier for me to handle my first loss because I knew (or so I thought) that I could always shave another in the future. Losing the baby was hard, but I could always easily actually try and conceive again in the future. I had that thought to make it easier. I don’t have that this time. What I have is a $12,000-procedure (plus medications), and this next time the bill’s going to be mostly, of not all, ours.

So of course I’m going to think about this a lot right now. Just a week ago I genuinely believed we’d be celebrating Christmas and know it was out last childless one, and instead we’re “celebrating” Christmas knowing we lost them, and that to go through it again will mean five figures of debt (and we’re people who don’t even have a single credit card and hate debt).

So.

Don’t tell me to look on the bright side or think about other things. That comes across as telling me to ignore what’s happened, and really, the biggest event to happen in my life recently is losing my babies. Of course I’m going to notice most that which is the biggest event.

Do simply tell me you’re sorry and leave it at that, if you are tempted to tell me the above.

Do ask me to go get coffee or to go to a bookstore or something (obviously if you’re local). Basically help provide a distraction if you want me to think about other things. Thinking about other things is harder to do when I’m home by myself or out doing things by myself. Talk to me and it’s harder for my mind to be consumed by grief.

Don’t tell me I’m grieving wrong. Absolutely do not. Do not say anything that you think will cone across this way. Trying to tell me to handle it by thinking about other things comes across as telling me I’m doing it wrong.

Do let me grieve. It’s been not even a week. Even if they were just clumps of cells to you, to me they were my babies that I had dozens of shots and needles poked through my uterus and celibacy and no baths and orders not to do any exercise at all and living my life on a day-to-day schedule because appointments are often last minute to make.

Don’t tell me to stop. This is a very big deal to me. A lot has happened to me in the past couple years, and this is the worst.

Do realize I’m doing a LOT better than I would if I didn’t have Cody. I know what I have that’s positive, and it’s because I DO see these things that I am not trying to drink myself to death or not eating or hysterically crying non-stop.

I’m telling you all these things so I don’t have to filter my feelings. I really, really don’t want to have to, but I will. I know y’all care or you wouldn’t be saying these things. I know you’re trying to be helpful, so I’m letting you know it actually makes me feel worse. I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but it’s not working. Just tell me you’re sorry. That’s all.

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2 Responses to “Stages of Grief”

  1. lulu Says:

    “I miss my friend, but she is the one who expects me to make her life my priority over my own.”

    and your life is not your priority over anyone else’s ?

  2. Aria Says:

    You misunderstand. I don’t expect my life to be anyone else’s priority. She did. She expected HER life to be MY priority. If it was of the utmost importance to her, then she expected it to be of the utmost importance to everyone else. I would never expect a grieving friend to set aside her grief to make my flavor-of-the-month be the most important thing in her life and get mad at her for crying instead for her lost babies.


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