I’ve been thinking about this post for a while… trying to decide just how much to say… how much truth to get into… and I guess I’ve decided since I’m here writing it down.
I’ve talked before about how there’s a lot of emotions that come with this infertility thing. I’ve talked about the ups and downs and feeling all the things. But I haven’t gotten into many of the difficult emotions beyond sadness, the really hard ones to admit out loud.
Guilt. Shame. Self-loathing.
Since we’ve made this an open space, an honest, truth-telling space I thought we’d get it all out there. You’re on this journey with us; you should know every aspect of this road we’re walking. I’ve found that each time I get a negative answer it’s harder to push away these uglier feelings and it takes a little longer to pull myself out of the hurt.
Most people understand sadness, you don’t have to go through infertility to understand that sadness is part of the journey. What’s harder to explain is that sadness doesn’t even begin to cover what’s happening inside you when another month passes and you’ve failed. Again.
It’s hard to explain to someone who’s never felt like their body is broken, like their body is a betrayal, what that feels like. It’s hard to explain that not being able to have a child makes you feel like less of a woman. There are moments I think I’ve cheated my husband; that he’s made a horrible mistake in marrying a woman who can’t give him a child.
I was driving down the interstate when I felt the cramps this time. I’ve never mistaken that feeling, I knew exactly what it meant. I am not pregnant. And when the tears started falling and wouldn’t stop my first thought was that I just wanted to drive far enough to escape the pain. But, of course, the ugly truth is that I can’t escape my body and therefore can’t escape the pain of it not working. I hate myself. In that moment, when this body has let me down yet again that is the truth. It’s well past a matter of ‘relax and it’ll happen’, it’s pushed my limit of ‘in God’s timing’. I’ve felt humiliated, I’ve asked for help, we’ve let Dr’s and nurses in the most intimate of our moments as a couple and it’s all a big fat failure. Can you even imagine what it’s like? When most babies are created in love and intimacy between two people, can you imagine what is like to have to break that apart and share it with strangers? When creating life is clinical and not special anymore? Can you imagine the shame you might feel every time someone asks if you have kids? Or when you hear another story of accidental/unwanted pregnancy? Can you imagine the guilt when your husband writes another thousand dollar check for nothing? To have nothing? Years of prayer and trust and belief and hope and trying and… for nothing. Can you picture yourself screaming Why? Why can’t I just be normal? Why do I have to go through all of this? Why does everything have to be so hard? Why does God hate me? That’s no longer just sadness. It stretches to sorrow and dives into hard places within you that hurt so bad you’d give anything to escape it. And there is no escaping it.
You can’t talk yourself out of wanting to have a baby. And while I absolutely adore adoption it doesn’t fix the ache of wanting to experience pregnancy and birth. ‘There’s always adoption’ is not truth. While it is an option it does not diminish the hurt and loss, it does not negate guilt or shame. Adoption is not a solution for infertility, it’s just an avenue around it. Infertility stays with you. I am barren. Doesn’t feel less awful because you can adopt.
I’m not saying that I dwell in these emotions every second. I’m not saying that I stop hoping and believing for a happy ending to this story. What I am saying is that there’s darkness along the way. Times when I ask myself if this is worth the pain it causes. Maybe it’s easier to go back to being mostly numb and not do this at all. Maybe it’s easier to push all those emotions down down and live childless pretending it’s a choice and not a sentence. Can I picture myself still living that way when I’m 70? Can I live the rest of my life having run from the scary difficult emotions and still ask What if?
The answer is No.
So I tell the truth on the hard days. That I’d give anything to not feel sorrow, guilt, shame, anger, hatred, despair. There’s no running from the emotions and you have to let them come. They carry you down into dark places and it’s a long climb to bring it all back into the light. I’ve found that wounds heal better when exposed to fresh air. The heavy stuff is easier to carry when you admit what’s in your pack. The burden doesn’t go away but gets a tiny bit easier when you share it.
We’re trying again. A third and probably last IUI. If this time doesn’t work our Dr had said it’s unlikely this avenue will work at all. So we’ll have another discussion at that point about what comes next. For now we’ve got another month of the process to go through and another month of hope and prayer that this time will be successful. Thanks for continuing to walk with us; through the quiet days, the long wait, the pits and valleys. We just keep taking another step.