Please don't say...
Hi again! Can I vent to you for a moment? :-b
As I've opened up to friends about my IVF journey over the past couple years I think the most challenging part has been to try and handle comments that make me want to scream.
"Why can’t you have just one drink?"
"Oh good, you're not pregnant now – you can attend XYZ event!"
"It is what it is, whatever is meant to be will be."
Just writing these comments down as I sit here in the peace and quiet of my house (with Bravo on low in the background because when else would I catch up on my reality TV) makes me want to scream and shake these people and tell them how much they're hurting me!
But I can't… at least I haven't yet!
I have always tried to remember that no one - unless they’re going through IVF – can really understand what this feels like. So I'm apologizing in advance if I sound like a bitch or an ungrateful friend, but hey, I promised myself I would be open and honest here in hopes that someone else going through these challenges may be able to relate.
"Luckily you have two beautiful girls. Imagine if you didn't have kids?"
This is the comment that gets to me the most. It makes me feel bad for going through IVF and guilty for wanting to have another child.
First let me say that I'M SO LUCKY TO HAVE MY TWO AMAZINGLY PERFECT DAUGHTERS! I don't know how much louder or clearer I can say that, but yes, I’m VERY blessed to have them and my amazing husband and I thank my lucky stars for them every single day. In fact, I don’t think I would be able to survive the IVF rollercoaster if I didn’t have them in my life. I know that the reason I'm always able to move forward from a loss is because of them!
And yet, this is the struggle I take to my therapist very regularly. While she continues to tell me "it doesn't matter, one doesn't affect the other" or "you have no reason to feel like you don't deserve or want this other child", the guilt that this comment has created inside of me is so overwhelming. I've been trying to figure out how to handle these comments – this one in particular – and I've realized I just can't control what other people say. I've always known that, but going through IVF for two years now has made this very clear.
But how do I handle it when people try to comfort me? That's ultimately what they are trying to do , right? I've tried to shield myself for two years from others in a lot of ways because talking to family, friends, or even acquaintances sometimes makes this harder. For the past couple years I've avoided events, get togethers, conversations, and simply avoided sharing this all together. It's difficult for me because I love to talk, I love to share (hence why this blog is so easy and therapeutic for me) but I also FEEL very deeply. I don't let things go very easily (ask my husband) and I analyze EVERYTHING. Not talking became a very difficult coping mechanism.
I saw my therapist today, and I brought this up AGAIN. Since I was a little more open with this past failed transfer, I received this comment at least three times in one weekend. I felt guilty so I shut down. I changed the conversation immediately and put on a smile. That’s what I'm supposed to do, right?
Wrong! My therapist reminded me that I'm human. I'm supposed to feel crappy and feel depressed at times. I've basically gone through three losses in eight months, and that is a lot!! I should be able to reply to that comment "Yes, I'm so lucky to have my girls, but they have nothing to do with what I'm trying to do here!" But then I seem ungrateful for what I already have, and I have a lot!
I try to relate it to work or to a promotion. Let’s say you really want a specific promotion. You've tried several times to reach whatever goal you're told to reach in order to get this promotion. You've failed but you're trying again. "At least you have a job" is what someone says. What do you say in response? Tough one right?? While I'm not trying to compare a job to a child, that job might be the most important thing in the world to that person and that’s OKAY! Just like trying to have another child right now is very important to me.
Today was a good session with my therapist. I might still retract if I hear you say one of these hurtful comments to me, but I will remind myself that whoever is saying the hurtful comment just doesn't get it, and that’s okay, too.
I would love to hear if you’ve experienced similar comments from those around you. Please share by writing it in the forum or comment below, directly on the blog.