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?