I haven’t figured out exactly why yet, but when people ask, “how’s it going”, they aren’t really wanting to hear how I’m doing emotionally. Oh sure, people empathize that it must be “tough” but they are not really looking to hear the really emotional part of our journey. I think it’s basically how we are socialized really. We are a pretty unemotional society… or at least encouraged to suck it up for the most part. Consequently, I think we struggle to deal with negative emotions… ours.. or someone else’s. Because when I’ve had occasion to express the emotional part, people are then uncomfortable with what to say to that… thinking, of course, that they should say something… or provide a suggestion to “fix” it.
This is a big part of why I started this blog. I want to tell you about the emotional part and not make you feel like you need to respond or fix it. I want others to know that they are normal. And I want to explain why infertility is so devastating to people.. and why it effects everything I do.. everything I am.
I feel like a bit of a drama queen here.. and that’s not my intent. The reality is.. I have good days and I have bad days. But everyday, I think about infertility and that I am not a mom. Sometimes I think about it a lot and sometimes just a little. It’s now a piece of who I am. I will be a mom one day, but I will never be a woman who didn’t struggle with infertility.
When we were going through the months with IUI, it was truly an emotional roller coaster. The first two weeks of my cycle are filled with hope and anticipation… on the heels, of course, of the dissappointment of yet another appearance of my period. But the two weeks before ovulation mean that we get another shot. The two weeks after IUI are filled with anticipation. I would monitor every dip in my temps and every twinge in my body… is this a pregnancy symptom? I would madly google “very early pregnancy symptoms” and I swear my body would make them up! And then the inevitable temperature drop would occur and the red would appear… another month.. gone. I began to get really angry with my body. As soon as I’d see that bit of faint red I’d think “just get here you stupid fucking motherfucker”. I’d just want to punish my body for letting me down.. for being so incompetent… for being such a failure. Lots of crying, lots of sadness, lots of hopelessness, lots of anger. But the world doesn’t stop. I’d have to pull it together and go on with the next day as if everything is status quo. And I have a very emotional job… so it meant going to work and hearing lots of sadness and hurt, all the while wanting to scream.. “I’m hurting too!!”.
When I realized we were in for a bumpy road, I began to wonder if I was being punished. What had I done? Or maybe I’m not a good enough person? Or maybe I wouldn’t make a very good mother? Or maybe I don’t have enough money? Or maybe I’m too fat? Or maybe I’m … you name it.. I thought it. It’s this horribly distorted way of thinking and on a rational level, I know it.. but it doesn’t stop the thoughts from coming.
Sometimes the bad days are really bad. I recently had a meltdown of a bad day and the feelings are really scary. I’ve never wanted to be numb more than I did that day. I cried uncontrollably for hours (seriously, hours), and all I could think was “I can’t do it anymore”. I just felt like I couldn’t deal with the way I was feeling. I just wanted to shut it off. I thought about drinking, taking drugs, hurting myself… just to take the pain away. I finally took a Lorazepam just so I could sleep and I can’t tell you that I didn’t think about taking the whole bottle. The crazy thing is.. I have this very rational, Social Worker side of me, who says “well what does that do to solve your problem?” I went to a workshop once, and the presenter said something I’ll never forget, he tells his suicidal clients “how will you solve the problem if you’re dead?”. So then, how will I ever become a mom if I’m dead? And then comes the guilt and anger at myself for feeling so desparate. “You fucking idiot.. you’re pathetic.. you want to die because you can’t have a baby?! Think about your friends with cancer.. what would they say to that?! You don’t deserve to be a mother.. you’re weak”.
It’s a crazy place sometimes.