Monthly Archives: January 2013

Abby Day

It came and went.  January 26.  The day that will forever be associated with the day the bottom fell out of my life.  The day that I changed forever.  The day that everything changed.

Her birthday?  Her deathday?  What do you call it?  I simply decided that it’s Abby Day.  And what were we supposed to do?  C said to me on Thursday, we should “do” something.. go out for dinner or something.  And I said.. that feels like we’re celebrating.. and I’m pretty sure we’re not.  There was no cemetary to visit — she sits in a heart-shaped urn on our dresser.  There’s no river or park or woods or anything where ashes are spread — because I can’t bring myself to do anything with them — because then I wouldn’t have the only thing I have left of her.  And it’s January so it’s fucking cold outside!!  I don’t need to freeze my ass off wandering through some outdoor frozen-ness reflecting.  And her garden is still only a tree… and it’s January.

So, I cried for her.  I cried for how much I miss her and I cried for a life that never was.  And as always, I cried for us and the sadness that infertility causes — the fear.  Because it’s all tangled up together — the grief and the infertility — I feel bad that I can’t separate it but it’s all in one big, sad, ball of mess.  I wondered, briefly, if it would feel different if there was a sibling to help fill the void in my heart.. instead of just the scar tissue of failure that fills it currently.  For an even briefer second, I allowed my brain to wonder what it would be like if there’s never another child to love.  But I can’t stay there for very long… I just can’t.

And when I was done crying, we went on about our day.  Without saying what it was, we just decided to do something to distract us from the sadness of the day.  What says “I’m grieving my baby” better than a little movie about torture and capturing a terrorist in the Middle East?!  We had some lunch, watched the movie, shopped, had some Star.bucks and came home.  And then I scrapbooked.  And then somehow the day was over and the sun rose on the 27th.  And just like that, Abby Day was over.

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Obligation to give back?

But first, I’d like to offer a sincere apology to all the poor buggers that goo.gled “fat fuck.ing” and ended up on a site about infertility and dead babies.  Sorry for your luck pal, no porn here.  You’d have to come to my house to see some fat fu.cking — no, wait, infertility and grief have screwed that up too.  Move along, nothing to see here.  Good luck on finding what you’re looking for.

 

The real subject of this post is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  I’ve mentioned it before, but I became the leader of our local infertility support group some time in 2011.  When I went to my first meeting as a member, it was such a huge relief to be with people who understood.  Sure, I’d been reading blogs and “connecting” with people online, but it’s not the same.  It felt so good to be able to share my feelings and have my feelings and thoughts shared by others.  I think it was at that first meeting, that the leader announced that she was looking to step down and was hoping someone would step “up”.  My social worker self made me do it.  I have excellent group facilitation skills… I can do this!  But more than that, I didn’t want to see it die.  I waited to see if anyone else was interested, but when no one showed interest, I knew it had to be me.  I wanted so badly for it to keep going.

And so it did.  But then the bottom fell out of my world and I no longer wanted to do it.  I put the group on hold for several months after we lost Abby.  I could barely do anything, let alone run a group.  And there wasn’t enough of a base to the group that it would run on it’s own.  There was never a strong membership, but rather people just checking it out here and there if the topic appealed to them.  There was no real connection among the members and there was often different people every time.

In September, I got it going again, but nothing had changed.  And why would it?  I never did much of anything to promote it — I barely gave it any of my energy at all.  Because I simply don’t have any energy to spare.  And so, I too, have decided to step down.  The part of me that doesn’t like to fail is crushed, but the part of me that doesn’t have a drop of energy left, wins this one.  Mostly, I’ve made peace with my decision.  I truly believe that the person who runs the group should be “resolved” in their infertility battle.  I compare it to 12-step meetings: the leader is in recovery, not active addiction.

Which brings me to my original thought (damn, that was a big set-up), what is the obligation to give back?  Lots of “resolved” members of the group in it’s previous incarnations remain connected through the online message board, but not one person is interested in taking over the group… much like when the last leader stepped down.  How many infertiles get pregnant/adopt/decide to remain childless and just want to forget the whole damn ordeal of getting there?  I’ll admit that when I was pregnant, there was a big piece of me who just wanted to forget.  I wanted to pretend that I was a normal fertile.  I wanted to leave infertility behind.  I wanted to forget it ever happened.

I have had a grander “vision” for this support group from the very beginning.  One day, I would like to be in private practice and I would like to offer counselling/therapy to other infertiles.  There are huge parts of me that can’t imagine listening to stories of heartbreak and sadness, all thanks to infertility, as a job — but there is a bigger part of me who wants to make sure that no infertile ever has to think they are alone.  When I was seeing a counsellor after my loss, I could not find anyone local who had experience with infertility.  I live in a fairly big city with no shortage of therapists and the only person I found that was “local” was still at least 40 minutes away and was on a sabbatical!  Ultimately, I would like to have a practice that offers both individual and group support for those experiencing infertility.  But I can’t do any of this until I am through it myself.  Hence, my strong belief that the leader of the support group should be resolved.

Perhaps it’s my desperate attempt to give meaning to any of this.  If it means a career shift and an opportunity to help others, maybe it will all be worth it?

What do you think?  If you’ve gone through something in life that changes your life, is there an obligation to give back?


December 31, 2011

No, I’m not confused about the date, nor is that a typo.  That was the last time I was happy.  Content.

We spend NYE with a couple of friends and their older age kids playing board games.  It was so simple and so much fun.  Their boys are so hilarious and easy to be around.  I distinctly remember sitting back on their comfy couch, hands on my belly and thinking: everything is right with the world.  Everything is okay and I am content.  I am truly content and whole.  I was 13 blissful weeks pregnant and naively believing we were in the clear.  Only 1% of women miscarry after 12 weeks.

Little did I know that in a few short hours, my world would begin to turn upside down.  January 1st, 2012 — the beginning of the end.

This year has been the worst year of my life.  Not just losing Abby, but it just seemed like the whole year went to shit.  Losing Abby, the bullshit treatment I got from work, the bullshit treatment I got from the new clinic, the unbelievable behaviour from C’s family, the failed IVF, dad needing surgery for colon cancer after surviving lung cancer… it seemed like nothing good happened this year.  It was like we were constantly waiting for the next ball of shit to be hurled at us.

I feel like I’ve been in a haze for the last year.  Going through the motions.  Truly.  It’s been exhausting.  Existing through this sadness is a lot of effort — and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t played out a scenario from time to time where I didn’t have to exist anymore.

But here I am.

I’ve been absent for nearly 3 months because, quite frankly, I’m not sure what has become of this space.  And it would appear that I’m not alone.  It seems like so many have moved on, got their happy ending.  But more than that, I feel like people check in to see what kind of shit show has happened now.  I feel like people read along and think “wow, that sucks.  so glad it’s not my life”.  But it is my life.  And I’m tired of being the infertile freakshow that makes others thankful for their good fortune.

I went out for lunch recently with a friend who told about some sad things that were happening in her life and I felt relieved because at least someone else’s life wasn’t perfect.  Schadenfreude.  Not really, because I wouldn’t say I felt pleasure.  But just relief.  We live in a world of social media where people post the good and the happy to their Face.book pages.  They post all things that make them appear like their life is perfect.  And quite frankly, it makes me a little wrist-slitty.

Anyways, I’m rambling and I’ll blame that on the wine.  If I can’ t be pregnant, I might as well be drunk… or at least a little head swimmy.

I used to be someone who wrote two blogs.  One about infertility and one about stuff.  Crafty stuff, funny stuff, just stuff.  Last year, I posted on my other blog about my “word” for the year.  Stupid, optimistic, naive self.  Her word for 2012 was grateful.  Grateful.  I was so grateful for finally being pregnant.  For finally being a mom.

Instead, I reflect on the year and what I am grateful for is not at all what I started out being grateful for.  My wonderful, awesome, profoundly flawed husband who is the soul mate to my bossy, bitchy, crazy and profoundly flawed self.  My amazing friends who have been my lifeline — through laughter and tears and sushi and scrapping and weekends away and Saturdays of play and helping me to feel grounded and to know that sometimes life just deals you a really fucking shitty hand and that’s it’s okay and somehow, someway, you’ll keep going because really, what other fucking choice do you have?!

This year, my word is strength.  

Strength to keep going.  Strength to bring my babies home. Strength to be the woman that lies dormant within me.

Strength.

Fuck you, 2012.  Fuck you.