Following my last post, you’ll know that both my sisters are pregnant (about 5 weeks apart) and it was so great to see them both (& my nephew) today because it’s not that often these days that we are all in the same place at the same time! We are all so close and they are absolutely lovely, kind-hearted, funny people. Normally we are all very close as well, but today they were having a conversation about “what pregnancy symptoms are you having” and “when should you start to wear maternity clothes”….and I felt like such an outsider. And then my period started later today and now I have horrible cramps. Why is it that having your period is such an awful reminder that you’re not pregnant and then to make matters worse you are in a lot of pain too…God must have had a sense of humour failure when he thought about that one!!
Hope you all had a better day!
So, since my last post, my other sister has told me she has ‘accidentally’ fallen pregnant with her second baby, my best friend from playschool has also fallen pregnant with her second baby and some other friends have told us they are pregnant with their first baby….I got all this news in the space of 48 hours…..that was an intense 48 hours!
I am obviously delighted for all of my family and friends, but now having both my sisters pregnant at the same time (and both younger than me), it is really hitting home that I am the ‘barren’ daughter….and it feels horrible. I have tried walking, going to the beach and running today….all in the hope of trying to numb some of the pain and sadness…..but it’s still there and won’t go away. It’s like a gnawing toothache and sometimes it’s unbearable and other times it is OK. Today has not been a good day though.
I’m trying to remember the Anne of Green Gables quote (abridged) that I love so much:
“tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it”!
….which is a fantastic, wonderful thing and I am so delighted for her, especially because she had a miscarriage earlier this year (her first pregnancy). But, I also feel so guilty for having cried my eyes out after she told me on the phone too. It was like a double-edged sword….one side full of happiness and delight for her and her husband…..and the other side full of sadness, grief and longing for the child my husband and I can’t have.
We’ve just come back from a fabulous holiday in Spain which was so needed after a full-on few weeks at work for both of us. But we stayed in a very family-orientated village and area, so we were constantly surrounded by pregnant women, babies and children….and when you don’t have the distraction of work, you tend to over-think the more personal aspects of your life….like ‘why can’t we have children?’ etc etc. Also, Sod’s law, on the last full day of the holiday, I was stung by a jelly-fish and then half an hour later, I started my period (not that the two things were in any way related (!) but I was 2 days late, so I was holding out a teeny bit of hope, but the timing was pretty bad in that 30 mins!!). However, overall, we did have the most amazing, stress-free time and came back feeling very refreshed on Monday.
I wasn’t entirely shocked by the phone call from my sister last night, because I knew they were going to start trying again quite quickly after their miscarriage….but somehow the news of someone else’s pregnancy always seems to open a fresh wound again. I cried and cried last night until I was exhausted….and I guess that was somehow cathartic too because I haven’t been upset about it all for a while. It also forced my husband and I to discuss the ‘elephant in the room’ again and we talked about going for some more blood tests to see where ‘my hormone levels are at now’ as well as options such as surrogacy.
I guess the hardest thing is not having a close friend who is going through the same thing. I literally don’t know anyone who I can talk to and who can empathise with me about this. I know ‘of’ people (friends tell me “oh yeah, my friend _________ has gone through IVF/is infertile” etc), but I don’t actually know these people myself to talk to in person.
I just have to be thankful that I have the most wonderful, loving, kind husband (as well as Tilly our dog!) and I know there are lots of people in the world who are not as fortunate as I am.
View from our balcony
….if you’re feeling a bit crap, don’t watch ‘Long Lost Family’….it might just tip you over the edge!!! I’m sitting here sobbing and cuddling Tilly….but there’s something cathartic about having a good cry too! I wasn’t even feeling that rubbish about the infertility thing today, but a ridiculously hectic 12 hour day at work mixed together with this TV programme meant that I dissolved fairly quickly!! But now I feel a bit better in a weird kind of way….maybe a sad TV programme/movie is the catalyst you need?!
Tilly is now just over 2 years old. We got her at 10 weeks old in an attempt to try to fill a child-less shaped hole in our lives….and to a certain extent she has filled that gap! During the first summer we had her, she seemed to take up all our time and we spent a lot of time worrying and fretting about all her puppy behaviour….all very simliar to having a baby! We absolutely adore her and she has gone from a neurotic crazy lab (most of them are!) to a more chilled, loving addition to our family. Of course she isn’t a substitute for a baby, but we do lavish her with affection and attention and sometimes it helps our grieving and sadness about not having our own child.
I know some of my friends/family who have children have said that they now can’t watch anything on TV/hear anything about a baby/child suffering because it just pulls too much at their heartstrings….and, bizarre as it sounds, since having Tilly, I can no longer watch or hear anything about dog/animal suffering without dissolving into tears! Even watching the Britain’s Got Talent final last night sent me over the edge when the lady and her dog performed and then won….I was a blubbering mess!
I thank God for giving us Tilly to help us through the sadness of infertility….she doesn’t take away any of the grieving or longing or emptiness….but she does help in a small way and being able to cuddle her whilst crying is definitely comforting.
I’ve just finished writing two ‘regret’ cards to friends who have invited my husband and I to their daughters’ christenings. In both instances, we can’t go because we are not available….however, it is with a heavy heart that I say I am actually a little bit relieved. It sounds so harsh, even writing this, because I know just how special a christening (or naming ceremony) is for the parents of their beloved children and it really is a momentous occasion for them and their family and friends. I am a christian (more liberal than fundamentalist!) and I go to my local church on quite a regular basis….but on my drive to the car park on a Sunday morning, if I ever see a large amount of unfamiliar faces dressed up to the nines with a lot of small children in suits (and bow ties?!), then I do a quick u-turn and head home. Is that really awful? I pray that God forgives me each time, but I’ve had my fair share of sitting somewhere at the back of my church when a christening is taking place and I feel such overwhelming sadness (or I cry…even worse), that it feels wrong and almost like self-flagellation (which I’m not really into….I’m more of a ‘taking care of yourself and others’ type of christian!). Some people might say that I’m just ‘not dealing with it’….but having seen a psychotherapist for a while now, I know how to take care of myself better and I know that there are some situations worth battling through because the end result will be worth it, but in this case, it doesn’t serve any purpose – it is like picking a scab over and over (which I don’t ever want to do!).
The only christenings I/we can never really avoid are those where we have been made godparents….and this appears to be an increasingly common thing to happen! As our close friends know more about our battles with infertility, they appear to want to ‘help’ by asking us to be godparents. I wonder if this is just us, or if this is common for other infertile couples?! I do really love all my godchildren (we have 4 between us) and I enjoy being part of their lives…but I just hope we weren’t asked to be godparents out of pity. I guess we’ll never know.
So, as I write another regret card, I have feelings of guilt tinged with a bit of relief….and I’m just going to have to come to terms with those feelings at the moment. Hopefully, like grief, christenings will get easier with time. After all, they are public declarations of God’s love for babies and children….and I do want to feel some of that myself….so I’ll keep praying.
Probably TMI (!), but it’s that hideous time of the month again….made even more awful when you’re suffering from unexplained infertility i.e. there is always a teeny tiny glimmer of hope it could be ‘this month’ and then all your hopes are dashed when you realise it’s that time of the month once more. The disappointment is of course made worse by the physical pain as well (what a double whammy hey?!) and you just put a brave face on and just ‘get on with it’ in true British fashion! It’s been 52 lots of ‘period blues’ since we started ‘trying’….and it doesn’t get any easier, but you just become better at putting on a brave face. Just trying to be thankful for all the small things over the last couple of days….it helps in a small way!
A photo which always cheers me up from a holiday in Portugal from a few years ago
So….here we go! I hope that over the next few days/weeks/months (years?!) I’ll write about the craziness of my infertile life, documenting personal trials and tribulations as well as discussing various information/articles from the media about infertility. I hope that my musings and thoughts will perhaps help some other people suffering from infertility for whatever reason….even if it’s just to know that there’s at least one other person who ‘gets’ what you’re feeling….and we can laugh and cry together!