Saturday, September 7, 2013

Misdirected Anger

I'll never forget the first time someone pointed out to me how angry my blogs seemed.  "Are you kidding me?" I thought.  Clearly this must have been coming from someone who's fertile and hasn't understood or lived through the struggles of infertility.  It's more than a disease...it ruins your chances of fulfilling what's important to the majority of human beings....having a family.  How could this NOT be important and how could I NOT be angry we weren't blessed with something nearly every other human being doesn't have to give a second though to?  Didn't I earn the right as a woman to have the chance to be a mother? But my motherhood has been taken away from me.  As I've learned from counseling, I have every right to be angry as anyone with this disease or ANY disease does.  One of my goals with this blog was to help others understand why I'm so angry about not being able to have children.....I guess I must not have gotten through to everyone and as life goes, I probably never will.  I'm ok with that, but what I'm NOT ok with is being judged for having normal feelings....especially from someone who's never lived a day in the life of someone infertile.  My job as a therapist is to help people overcome their physical disabilities.....but I know that RIGHTFULLY attached to those physical disabilities is mental and emotional baggage that comes along with them.  I understand and accept that many are angry about what's been dealt to them so it blows my mind that other people can't be more understanding of the anger I or anyone else can  have from being the unlucky one who has to deal with something so life changing.  No, it's not fair....LIFE isn't fair but I've said this before and I'll say it again....it's easy to say that when you aren't on the receiving end of the unfairness.  That cliche hits really close to home when it's YOU...only then can you truly understand the reality of this cliche.    

So yes...of course I'm angry I can't fulfill my lifelong dream of having a family.  Isn't that what most people in this world strive for (a fulfilling career, a family and to be happy)?  Isn't that why most people get married to someone they love so they can make children?  Yet we are shafted and don't get to fulfill the dream that everyone else seems to take for granted....the ease of getting pregnant and having kids. When does anyone ever say...."Gee I'm really glad I could get pregnant and that I'm not infertile"?  Most people don't give it a thought.  It's just expected we can procreate.  When have you seen commercials or walks for infertility like there seems to be for every other disease or problem under the sun?  We often get left out and swept under the rug...like it's no big deal.     Even though enough people live with infertility, it's just not something people talk about or really appreciate the impact of.  I know I never did until the past few years.  It's so easy to blow it off and think or say "just relax, it'll happen" or  "I'm sure it'll all work out" or to come up with a billion million reasons and solutions for not being able to get pregnant and have a baby.  I still have people who are insensitive enough to say: "I'll give you my kids for a day".  What I should say is "I'd love them actually, but only if you learn to live a day in the life of someone who can't have them."  Most people that embark on IVF will get pregnant....however many do not for true medical or unknown reasons.  What about those people?  What about those who will never know because they simply can't afford another treatment to find out?  From talking with friends and  family I know at least 6 other couples (some directly and some indirectly) who've tried IVF.  ALL have gotten pregnant.  My point is that not everyone does....odds are someone won't.  Will that be us?  In my head I'm thinking "well it worked for all of them, so I must be the 1 in 6 who doesn't....it's gotta be someone."  I feel really happy for each and everyone of them because I know how it feels to want this so badly.  But that doesn't mean I can't be angry and upset that it hasn't yet been me too.  I've learned that underneath anger is a whole lot of pain and hurt....the anger is just what we see on the surface.  How does anyone ever get over those scars, baby or not?  

I can't tell you how sad I am when I hear another pregnancy or birth announcement....this is one of the very reasons I quit facebook.  Life is so centered around families and children and I'm reminded and bombarded constantly.  The entire world seems to revolve around families, children and babies: back to school, mother' day, father's day, Christmas, commercials on TV...you name it, it's year round.  How can people without children feel like they fit in?  I know I can't always run away and avoid these things, but my wounds are still pretty fresh and from what I've learned will always somewhat be exposed.  It's something you hold onto forever, even if it's only a little bit.  It never completely heals but hopefully lessens somewhat with time.  Because these things are triggers for me, I learn to avoid them and deal with them on my own time when I'm ready.  No one gives people a time frame to heal from the death of a loved one, but it seems that some people give me a ticking clock for when I should be over not being able to have children....easy to say unless you've lived it.  When will it EVER be ok that I can't be a mom?  

How can I get over my dream to have a family when you hear daily news of reports of child abuse, neglect, or people just killing their children....children I can't have?  It's so difficult to hear anyone complain about their children, family or pregnancies.  Hell, it's difficult to hear them talk about the joys of it all because I  may never know them.  It's an exclusive club I've never got the invite to.  I'm always on the sidelines.  I feel so left out and defeated during these conversations that I'd often rather not participate or place myself in a situation where I'll just end up sobbing in the bathroom later.  What I WOULDN'T do to be in their shoes... if they only realized how lucky they really are.  As an analogy:  would any normal person complain about what's on their dinnerplate in front of a starving person?  Most people unknowingly do this but I just have to deal.  People SHOULD be able to talk about their kids (good or bad)....it's just hard to hear.  I can't help to get so angry at people who have lots of money to afford treatments or people who have lots of money that are blessed enough to not even need treatments in the first place.  I work hard for my money too.  I'm so jealous and frustrated that some people's biggest problem right now is what color to paint the bathroom or what type of kitchen cabinets to get.  I remember those days but they are long gone.  I miss them.  It's hard not to feel a bit angry at people who can afford expensive things when the only thing I want to buy is a chance to have a baby.  I don't want a car, or a nice house, or a boat, or diamond earrings, or a great vacation, I just want a family.  Whoever said money can't buy happiness never  knew of infertility.  

In the three years we've been struggling to have a family, I can count over 2 dozen friends and family that have had children...some even on their second in the time it's taken us to try for one.  It's been over THREE years for us.  That's a long time to feel this way...to try for something so hard.  It's incredibly frustrating watching everyone else.  We feel like we are hitting our heads against a brick wall or are running on a hamster wheel.  Right now, a very good friend of mine is pregnant and she won't be the last.  Of course I'm happy for her, but it doesn't mean I'm not sad as hell inside for myself.  I will admit it takes ALOT of practice to feel happy for someone else when you are dying inside....when all you want in the world is what she has.  It's so hard to brush your feelings to the side just to have a normal conversation.  It's heartbreaking to watching her belly grow while I get to stick mine with needles for the chance to join her on the other side...knowing I may never.  It kills me that soon her house will be decorated with baby pictures while the only one I may ever have is just a Polaroid of two 8 celled embryos.  In a few months she'll get to hold her baby and take it home from the hospital while I have nothing to hold but a photograph of what could've been.  She'll get to have a baby shower, will get to pick out a crib, will be one day sending her baby off to kindergarten and I can't.  It's infuriating we have to try SO damn hard, while they didn't.  I hate it.  I'm angry about it and I'm so sad inside it can't be me too.  It's not her fault she got pregnant and I can't....so how is it fair that I can't bear to hear her share stories about her pregnancy?  It's not.  My point and question to everyone is HOW do you get over not being able to be a mom, HOW do you move on from something you want so badly when you are reminded so frequently?  HOW do you watch someone else live your dream and still remain close?  I don't want to be a bitter person, but really underneath it all I'm whole heartedly devastated and more sad than I could have ever imagined being.  How do you control how you feel when you can't so it doesn't ruin relationships and my chances of happiness as well?  How can I get people to understand the hurt behind the anger?  How can I have meaningful and fulfilling relationships with people who have what I don't?  How can I put my own feelings aside to join the the joy of others?    How can I get people to understand why on "bad" days I can't attend baby-showers, family functions or just hanging out?  How can I stop pretending to plaster a happy face on myself when all I want to do is cry?  How can I ever be happy?

I am doing the best I can to not misdirect my anger towards others.  It's not their fault they have what I don't....but it's also hard to see it.  It's also not my fault that I have to be the one to deal with this.  The problem with infertility is that I have no one to be angry at.  Do I get angry at God, my husband, my friends, myself?  Of course I can't...no one did this to us....so it's hard not to be angry at the universe.  I have no one to direct my anger and hurt at...just a shitty disease that I can't do anything about.  I'm doing my best to keep my emotions at bay and to not misdirect my anger towards others because it's not fair to anyone...but it's so hard not having someone or something to be angry at.  

5 comments:

  1. I have been waiting for you to post another blog, because I have been praying for you during this time. I am still hoping to hear that you will have success and something to hope for this treatment. I hope that is still the case.

    I was talking to my therapist this morning about my anger. He asked me what was my predominant emotion during this time and I admitted to feeling angry. I have felt so angry and confused, but it has done nothing for me. It has gotten me nowhere - and it has built up walls. I'm trying to let go of my anger. If my dreams of holding my own child are shattered I will build an alternative dream from the fragments and move on-even though I will NEVER forget what I always thought I could have so easily. Even though I know I will cry and cry and cry.

    I never wanted to have to build up this strength or resilience, I have resisted all along - and it's been a bumpy and hard road.

    I am praying so hard for you. I know how bad you want a child. Just take one more step . . . and then another . . . and then another. Leave anger behind. Take another step . . . You can do it. You think you can't, but you can. I believe you can.

    You are such a strong woman. Thank you for your posts.

    Praying for you - Jillian

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  2. I have been following your blog from the beginning and really felt the call to reply today. You have every right to be angry! Never let anyone make you feel otherwise! I pray for you (and all the other infertiles I know) every night! Those who have not gone through infertility can not begin to understand what it is like! Don't let others undermine your feelings - they are YOURS! Sending positive thoughts and more prayers your way!

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  3. I just found your blog....and wow...so many of the same thoughts and emotions I have felt as we are past the 1 year mark in our infertility. We just had our 1st IUI and I found out it failed...yesterday. We both make a salary (combined) of around 40K a year- and just a few months back I personally knew 21 ladies who were pregnant. Talk about a slap in the face. We likely CAN'T afford IVF....ever. I know how you feel with crushed dreams and dashed expectations- only to be told or offered another solution likely minimizing your grief. My prayer is that you will find peace in the journey- and hope in the pain. I also recommend the book "Waiting for Daisy"- if you haven't already read it. Your writing style reminds me of hers....and what a journey.

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  5. I stumbled onto your blog. Clearly where you are in a very difficult place! I wish you blessings and success!

    I too have avoided FB for years now, and back-burner'ed many relationships b/c it is just too emotionally difficult for me. So I can relate 100% to creating a emotionally protected space for yourself.

    Anger, Somehow I have moved beyond that one. For me I have forced myself to look at what aspects of having a child are Truly important to me and which are not. I have found that should my IVF journey not result in a success, That (honestly) donor eggs (or adoption) while not what I had pictured in my head, can align with having the parenting experience that I value so much. Digging deep and looking at all options has lifted the weight of this process for me and brought more peace and positivity. I thought I might share, in case this process might be helpful to you. It has become easier )most days). To look for the way god wants me to receive my hearts desire and I realize that it may look the way I pictured in my head with a biological child, or it may look different. I can be more open now. It is still difficult and requires courage and openness. I do feel lots better now for several months.

    You journey will no doubt be different, but thought that i would see if sharing might upturn a nugget that may help you lift the weight you are feeling.

    Wishing you contentment, a process with a littler more peace, and ultimately success :)

    Rachel

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