Stream of Consciousness

I don’t know if this is common among those of us infertiles who stop TTC before we’re really ready to, but I’m noticing myself putting walls up in places I formerly left open. I’ve removed myself from a message board I’ve posted to for a long time because the new pregnancies and impending newborns are too much for me. I’ve removed a couple of blogs from my reader because ultrasound pictures and belly photos are too much for every day. I visit those blogs, but I do it when I am in the right space rather than have them pop randomly into my blog reader (and I hope this doesn’t offend or hurt anyone who reads here who’s pregnant, I promise I am still reading.) I’ve hidden some folks on facebook, like our friend’s “oops” pregnant 21 year old daughter, because I don’t know how to deal yet with ultrasound pictures in my daily news feed. The kids watch the Dis.ney show Good Luck Charlie, and the mom on the show is pregnant with kid #5, and the storyline has been really difficult to have even on in the background of the house noise.

I don’t like closing myself off. It’s not how I want to live my life. And I’ve never been particularly good at taking care of myself emotionally. I put my own things away to be there for others, regardless of where I am. It’s one of the things I think that makes me a good friend. But it’s one of the things that also means I’m really good at compartmentalizing and that’s not always a positive thing. And I struggle with taking the time and space to take care of my needs without feeling like I’m letting others down in the process.

This weekend my best friend and I took our kids to the local splash park and of course it was inundated with hugely pregnant women. One in particular was chasing around a barely walking toddler and looked about ready to pop again. I started to wonder when seeing pregnant women will stop hurting. When ultrasound pictures will stop stinging. When holding a newborn baby will stop making me cry.

It’s hard putting things like this out there. And trust me, I’m working on setting up some therapy appointments because I know I need to talk this through and get to a point where this blog isn’t just about how hard this is. I’m also looking at a yoga class, in large part because of Mel’s discussions about the emotional aspects of her yoga experiences. I feel like not only do I need to up my game in terms of getting myself into shape physically, but that the mind/body connection in yoga may be just what I need.

I know sometimes that the more you write about how hard something is the more power you give it. And I certainly don’t want to live the rest of my life feeling like I gave up on myself and my body. What I struggle with in this space, in being encouraged to write about how I feel, is the balance between digging deeper into the hole where I feel like a failure, giving power to those feelings; and ignoring them to write more about the positive things in my life. Does that make sense? I don’t want to seem like I’m NOT dealing with how I feel, but I don’t want it to be the only thing I seem to feel (or write about). Does that come with time? Is it just something that starts to fade into the background? Those of you who’ve lived this for longer than I have, is there an answer?

I sit with my kids and I savor every hug. Every kiss. I feel guilty when I get frustrated with them, guilty when I get angry over something silly. I go to bed at night wanting to bring them to my bed knowing that I won’t get any sleep if I do it but not caring because I feel the passage of time so intensely right now. Soon they will be graduating from kindergarten. How did this happen? How are they such big kids? As much as I feared that another cycle – an IVF to end it all – could serve to pull my focus from them, now I wonder how much I’ve missed already over the last few years. I feel like they were bouncing in the jumper and now they’re almost 1st graders. What did I miss while I was busy focusing on making another one? How do I make that up to them? How do I forgive myself?

I’m learning how to live without TTC in my life. But how do I live without infertility in my life?


7 thoughts on “Stream of Consciousness

  1. I know what you mean about wondering how much is missed of our kids growing up, when our energy is in TTC. I have so many regrets about that… and wish I could rewind the last few years. You write so beautifully… and all your words make so much sense. I’m almost at your point… with only one more IVF left in me…. but have started closing off too and putting things away knowing that I’ll probably never use them again. Thinking of you and here with you always xoxo

  2. We are so alike. I read your thoughts and know I would be doing exactly the same thing – “Ok, decision has been made, time to find new normal as quickly as possible so I can be Healthy and stop hurting so damn much.” So that said, please know that it is with nothing but love that I ask you… Please give yourself permission not to rush this part. Something big has chrome missing from every little mental snapshot you’ve had about your future. That’s huge. It’s ok to take some time to grieve that without second-guessing or feeling frustrated with every feeling that comes up. Again, I would be doing the same exact thing if I were you, so I know this is easier said than done. It just sounds to me from what you’ve written that at least part of you is judging your process, and I hate to see you being anything but supremely gentle with yourself right now. Wherever you are is 100% fine – give yourself permission to be there; especially while this is all so very new.

    One of my favorite bits of advice picked up along our TTC adventures is to be as kind and patient and indulgent with yourself as you would be with anyone else – me, for example – who was going through your same situation. I know from experience that you would bear witness to all of the emotions and not demand any particular timeframe for “moving on.” I understand the desire to make progress in hopes it will make the pain less, I just hope you aren’t judging yourself too harshly in the process.

    If this comes across as preachy or unhelpful, please don’t hesitate to throw it out. You know what is best for you and your family, not me. Sending much love your way, my friend.

    • ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ Thank you. You're right, I do need to allow myself the same I would give anyone else. And that is easier said than done.

  3. Thing is. You don’t live without infertility in your life, because it’s just part of your life now. Which means it’ll always be there in some form or another. That’s just how it is.

    That said? I DO believe that there will come a time when infertility has less power over you because you’ve come to acceptance. I feel that way about me, and it’s taken nearly 7 years of infertility AND more than a year of therapy for me to come to acceptance. And even then it waxes and wanes, depending on circumstances of others around me.

    Romancingthestork said exactly what I want to as well. You’re grieving right now. Please be kind to yourself and allow yourself the space to grieve. Sometimes closing off is the only way you can give yourself the energy to get through another day. And that’s okay. It really is.

    I don’t know if this is helpful, but I want to share anyway. I have spent, over the years, an inordinate amount of energy trying to either talk myself out of, or hiding away from, or generally looking to escape my feelings. Even when I allow myself to feel, I get angry. Okay, fine, I feel crappy. What do I DO about it. Which, I’m discovering, is also a way to try and escape a feeling.

    So my therapist tells me a LOT: “It’s just a feeling.” What I’m learning about that statement is that, you know, allowing myself to have a feeling, really acknowledging it, means that it WILL fade eventually. It always does – anger bleeds away, depression lifts for a bit, the bittersweet aches and then lessens. And somehow, reminding myself I won’t always feel like this gives those feelings a whole lot less power over me.

    Just keep breathing through it. It won’t always feel like this.



  4. I read your post awhile back (the one about not ttc), and — what to say? I did 1 FET and tried 2 fresh IVFs after my DS was born and then … stopped. DH and I had more or less agreed on a stopping point (not the first time, though, I’d said I’d agree not to try anymore after “this” cycle — but the first time after DS was born).

    For me, I was in a different place by the time we quit. I remember reading a post from a friend, similarly situated, who described herself post-IVF-BFN as “gutted.” I wasn’t gutted. I had been gutted, every IVF BFN before DS. I was sad about this one. But I wasn’t gutted. That was 2 years ago. And even then, I didn’t declare I’d quit. I mean, I said, we’re not trying now. I don’t think we’ll try again. And I knew because of my age that trying again would take a different form — DE or adoption — from what it had been before. And I kept in the back of my mind the thought that those options were there. I will say that my DH had always wanted to quit treatment, so the knowledge that he wanted to quit wasn’t clear-cut evidence for not trying again — it had never stopped me before.

    DS starts kindergarten this fall. This spring I took a bunch of his stuff to a consignment sale and looked at all the moms with infants dropping stuff off and all the infant stuff and I didn’t think, “I wish that were me” or “Oh! The tiny baby stuff!” I thought, “Man, I’m so glad I’m past those stages.”

    I will say that now that DS can ride a bike independently (e.g.), I enjoy him so much more. And I kind of wish I had another so I could have another his age. But I don’t want to go through those early years again.

    But as @Serenity said above, the infertility never goes away. I will always be infertile and my experiences of infertility will always shape who I am and how I think about things, including family-building.

  5. This sounds incredibly hard. I agree with the folks above who said that it’s important to make space for your grief right now. This decision is a big deal, and it’s okay to treat it like one. You are grieving a loss, and it’s important to do all of the kinds of self-care that you would for any other kind of loss. You mention being worried that writing about your feelings here will give them power, but it seems to me that they are already very powerful feelings, whether you write about them or try to ignore them. I believe that if you really let yourself feel the grief you will eventually come out the other side. I hope that happens sooner rather than later, for your sake. But I also hope you can be patient with yourself while you get there.

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