Monday, April 9, 2007

What's wrong with you?

And the answer is not “I’m infertile.” No, not this time.

How do I answer something I don’t understand at all? I mean, 7 years is a looooong time. I should’ve been over this already! How do I explain to them that I really thought I dealt with everything, and that I was totally convinced I was OK?

I was OK enough to go to a friend’s birthday party, even though I knew her 2 grandchildren were going to be there. One of our colleagues on maternity leave with her baby son, and a very pregnant friend of ours too. Why wouldn’t I be OK? I was perfectly fine with all of the announcements of the abovementioned pregnancies. I honestly had other arrangements at the time of their stork teas. (OK. That does start to sound fishy even to me) I was happy for them when these little ones were born.

So why would I say “Not now, thanks!” when another colleague brought me one of these beautiful babies that was crawling around in the dirt? Her excuse was that she was wearing white and my black pants won’t show off too much dirt.

I was fine at first. Then I felt something tugging at my heart. She was looking up at me with these big brown eyes, little hand outstretched to her bottle of milk on the side table. So I gave it to her, feeling the shield of numbness sliding down over my heart and soul.

I can do this. I’m OK. I can do this. I can do this without crying. I HAVE to do this. I’m OK.

When I looked down and saw she fell asleep against my breast I lost it.

I was literally trapped by a sleeping baby. It wasn’t the right thing to do to just jump up, snatch my handbag and keys and run out the door, praying that I’d be able to get to my car before anyone saw me.

So I sat there, praying for strength not to cry. And pleasepleaseplease for someone to come and fetch the baby. Because, thankfully, by that time most of the people were in the kitchen making coffee.

It would’ve been easy to get up with the baby, take her to her cot and just quietly slip out the door. No-one would notice and no-one would know.

But I was paralized.

In the end I got home without starting to cry in front of everybody. My best friend came into the room looking for me. One look at my face and she took the baby without a word.

Thinking back, that was when I realized for the first time after my divorce that I’m not OK. I haven’t dealt with being infertile. I’m heartbroken that my marriage didn’t survive my infertility.

So what do I say to the people asking me what’s wrong with me? Why am I still dwelling on being infertile? On not just loosing my dreams of children but my husband too? Why can’t I just pull myself together and get over it?

I really don’t know. But I do know I’m not going to make myself feel guilty about not having come to terms (yet!) with all the hurt.

Thankfully no-one has come straight out and asked this question to me. But I see it in their eyes. I can feel them hesitating and thinking twice and changing the subject. But one of these days someone is going to loose their patience with me, and blurt out what they want to know.

And I don’t know how I’m going to answer them…


angela said...

Hi, I got your site from Coming2terms and I after reading your post, I just had to comment. My life was rapidly unravelling and I wasn't sure why. After 4 yrs of TTC and 4 failed IVFs, we had to face the fact that we would never get pregnant or have our own children. There were plenty of tears after each negative result and even after deciding we would adopt, I assumed I was fine. I was not.

What I didn't realize that these sad events were not just disappointments, but trauma. Nobody died, but a dream did. It's not a small thing. Getting a new job, moving or even changing your hair colour is not going to make you feel better.

You don't have to think of yourself as a victim, but I do believe that you have to cut yourself some slack and realize that after all you went through, divorce and infertility do actually count as traumatic events.

And while we are busy drying our tears and keeping a stiff upper lip and gritting our teeth through social events where it seems like every other woman is either pregnant or a baby on the breast, we get sideswiped with pain that would cripple an elephant.

I have no idea if this post traumatic feeling ever goes away, but I do know that when I say I'm fine and deny what I'm feeling, I feel worse.

I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

deanna said...

Hi, there....I also found you through Pamela Jeanne, and just wanted to tell you how very valuable your voice is in IF-blogworld. Although my husband and I are still dabbling in treatment options, we are already weary of them. I'm trying to prepare myself for a future that might be different than we had ever planned.......

I hope that blogging will help you find a new peace.