Are we parents yet?

The Clements’ IVF Journey

Things I Wish I Could Tell People About Grieving Infertility February 15, 2009

Filed under: Frustrations,Sadness — Aria @ 11:54 pm

As I’m sure some can understand and some can’t, it’s been a depressed day for us I’m so glad it’s dreary and rainy out. When I’m happy I can appreciate the beauty of rain, and when I’m sad I feel like the sky shares what I feel. When it’s sunny and I feel sad, it feels like I’m being taunted.

I was sitting on the couch and Cody was in the kitchen doing something. Then he came into the living room and started a fire, where our 23.5-year-old ancient kitty promptly planted himself, went back to the kitchen, and he brought our the marble tray we have that I love with Triscuits, salami, and cheese. When he went to the store to get the dark-chocolate ice cream I love, he also got some treats and I didn’t know.

And we’ve been watching tv. The animals are all sleeping. My eyes feel dry, like the dryness that happens after crying for hours, only I haven’t been able to cry. I’m too miserable. My boobs are slightly sore and my abdomen is crampy and my lower back to the left of my spine keeps having a sharp cramp, and my left thigh just above my stupid knee. If I have to be heart-miserable, do I have to be physically miserable?

A few of my friends have tried to be helpful, but it’s not all been helpful. Believe me, this isn’t one of those things you get over in time. I understand some of my friends have lost parents and siblings, but I would rather see my dad shoot himself again than to have to live with losing three babies and knowing that I won’t have the chance again barring a pure miracle. One type of loss doesn’t equal another. For some people, being parents is so fundamental that taking it away is nothing short than having those people turn their backs on a part of who they are. Yes, some people identify with being parents, and this isn’t “losing” themselves anymore than one “loses” themselves by deciding they’re childfree and consider that as who they are.

I saved this list in December, after the confirmed loss of our twins just three days before Christmas, which I’m posting below with my thoughts in bold italics:

  • 1. I wish you would not be afraid to speak to me about my losses, my infertility, and to ask what you can do to help.
    I’d like to ask not to take it personally if something doesn’t help and I say so.  I understand the intention was right, but it’s asking a lot to want me to just take the daggers you thought were helping.  This kind of loss is much worse than losing an unplanned baby.  I know from experience.  I’ve been there.  This is a lot worse than the first time.  Ask what you can do to help.  Chances are all I need are my friends to listen and let me vent.
  • 2. If I cry or get emotional when we talk about them, I wish you knew that it isn’t because you have hurt me. The fact that I have suffered has caused my tears. You have allowed me to cry, and I thank you. Crying and emotional outbursts are healing.
    Exactly.  Holding it in doesn’t help.  Just thinking about other things doesn’t help.  What helps heal is dealing with it head-on, battling it actively.  This is what I am trying to do.
  • 3. I wish you wouldn’t pretend that nothing is happening to me, because it is a large part of my life. I need my friends and family by my side.
  • 4. I will have emotional highs and lows, ups and downs. I wish you wouldn’t think that if I have a good day, my grief is over, or that if I have a bad day, I need psychiatric counseling.
    I wasn’t very happy over Christmas, so was told I need therapy.  No amount of therapy in the world is going to make this better.  There are no other ways to look at it.  I’m having to deal with a part of my body not working.  In therapy, a therapist will do things such as ask you to evaluate your feelings and dissect why you feel that way.  This isn’t a mental condition or handling something wrong.  This is dealing with a condition I can’t change by just changing my thinking.  I need support from my friends, not therapy.
  • 5. Being an infertile person is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me.
  • 6. I wish you knew that all of the “crazy” grief reactions I am having are in fact very normal. Depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and questioning of values and beliefs are to be expected during and following what is happening to me.
    This loops back into number 4.  I don’t need therapy and I’m not crazy for being depressed right now.  It’s completely normal.  It’s not as easy as just  thinking about something else or looking at the positives, because the fact still remains that I have now lost three babies, and two of them just a matter of days ago.  Going through the most invasive procedure the medical world has to date, which comes with the highest chance of giving birth, and losing them sure feeds into the hopeless feelings.  “If the method with the highest chance failed, how can it ever happen?”  This is completely normal.  It wouldn’t be normal, or even healthy, if I were to be able to just ignore everything and not care or not ever think about anything.
  • 7. I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over if and when I become pregnant or have children.
  • 8. I wish you would understand the physical reactions to grief. I may gain weight or lose weight…sleep all the time or not at all…want to surround myself with business or be all alone, all of which may be related to my grief.
  • 9. My birthday, anniversaries of the failed pregnancies, holidays, and the days I find out that this cycle too was a bust, are all terrible times for me. I wish you could tell me that you are thinking about me, and if I get quite withdrawn, just know I am doing my best to cope. Please don’t try to coerce me into being cheerful or tell me that it will be better soon.
  • 10. It is normal and good that most of us re-examine our faith, values, and beliefs throughout this journey. We will question things we have been taught all our lives, and hopefully come to some new understandings to include those with God. I wish you would let me tangle with my religion, opinions, and beliefs without making me feel guilty.
    I don’t believe in god, but the general gist applies.  I need to be able to think and feel without being made to feel guilty for not caring about minor things on the day I lose babies.
  • 11. I wish you would not offer me drinks or drugs to ease the pain. These are just temporary crutches. The only way I can get through this grief is to experience it, and sometimes immerse myself in it. I have to hurt before I can heal.
  • 12. I wish you understood that infertility changes people. I am not the same person I was before I experienced it nor will I ever be that person again. If you keep waiting for me to “get back to my old self,” you will be frustrated. I am a new creature with new thoughts, dreams, aspirations, values, and beliefs. Please try and get to know the “new me”…maybe you will still like me.
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