Feeling Lost

Posted in Infertility by

ducksEveryone keeps asking what its like to be a new mom after infertility. This is a complex question and the answer is not a simple one. Being a new mom after infertility is a lot of things, both wonderful and difficult. But the overriding emotion I feel is one of loneliness and isolation.

I never in my wildest dreams, imagined it would be this way, but in our group of friends, W and I are the only ones to have a child. All of our friends are still trying to get to where we are. I so badly wish, for all of my IF sista’s, that things could be different, I so badly wish they too could also have success and not just because I’m a lovely person, but also for my own selfish reasons. I wish I had close friends to share this with, I miss the camaraderie I had when I was walking the same path as my friends. But the simple fact of the matter is that I am now on a different journey.

I feel isolated in the blogaspere as well. I think a lot of people forget that just because I have a child now, everything that made me infertile is still there. I am, indeed, still infertile. I am unable to have a child of my own through the traditional means and through the intervention of medical science. All the emotions that went with the struggle to conceive are still there. Granted, I don’t have the pain anymore, but I do remember the pain, I remember it well, I won’t easily forget where I came from and how I got to this wonderful place called motherhood.

And yet, there are blogs out there that have made me feel unwelcome, like I shouldn’t comment or offer support because I have a child now, so what would I know?  Some have been down right snippy with me when I’ve tried to offer support. Do they not realize, I’m still the same person I was 6 weeks ago? I’m still capable of understanding their pain and empathizing with them? I feel very isolated, like I don’t belong anywhere at the moment. I mean, I don’t belong with the infertility and ttc bloggers anymore, I definitely don’t feel like I belong with the mommy bloggers because I can’t really relate to them either given the complexity of my journey to get to this point. I feel guilty joining the adoption bloggers given that our adoption was a breeze and a whole 3 week process, which is pretty unheard of and I’m afraid if I offered support to this group they’d look at me as if I was nuts, like what the hell do I know about long waiting periods etc?

So where do I fit in these days? I’m still infertile, yet to the outside world, I must look fertile because I have a child, but I’m not.

So a lot of my friends have asked  me what this part of the journey has been like and my honest answer is? Lonely.

January 20, 2010
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32 Comments

  • Reply Denise

    Sharon, you describe the feeling so well. No longer fitting in with infertiles but still not being a “tummy mummy” yet having a baby. Its not easy. My SW suggested that we join a group for adoptive parents but the lowveld is quite conservative and culturally different from us so we haven’t pursued that option yet. Perhaps you could find something similar in jhb with like minded people? As with being IF we are going through emotions that are hard to describe to someone who hasn’t been on this path and the best medicine is probably someone who is on the same path?

    For me the big issue is guilt when my patience is tested. I feel like J has had enough drama in his little life without me being impatient. My rational mind knows that all mom’s lose patience at times but my emotive side feels like I need to be perfect all the time for him.

    January 20, 2010 at 8:19 am
  • Reply Roz

    Shaz…I am so sorry that you have felt so lonely. Please know that I am here for you and that I hope that we can grow closer as friends as your journey progresses.
    x x x x

    January 20, 2010 at 8:46 am
  • Reply Abs

    I’m so sorry that you are feeling so lonely Shaz. Crossing over was never going to be easy for you after such a long, hard journey. It will take time to get out there and make some mommy friends but Denise has the right idea. Try to find others in a similar situation like moms through surrogacy or adoption who still never got to experience being a ‘tummy mummy.’ It’s only natural that you would want to be with people who get it! I’m always here if you get lonely okay?! xxx

    January 20, 2010 at 9:18 am
  • Reply Dee

    Im sorry Shaz but I know, for one still being on this side hasnt changed how I see you. I am inspired by you and know that Ill join you one day. I still marvel at how one day we are discussing FET’s and emotions of being battered by infertility and the next you are talking about sleep routines, its wonderful!! Only problem is I cant identify, I can only dream of “the other side”, so yes, I imagine you must be lonely…Although Im still here, reading each day and still with you on this journey!

    January 20, 2010 at 9:20 am
  • Reply Hanneke

    It breaks my heart in a million pieces as i read your blog today, i see you no different that i saw you 3 monts ago, i read your blog everyday and i marvel in the joy that your LO has brought you. I personally appreciate every little comment or advice that you have given me. You have travelled such a long and hard road to be where you are today, and for that i commend you. I hope that you know that if you need anything, i will be right here !!

    January 20, 2010 at 9:45 am
  • Reply Daryl

    I’m sorry you are feeling so lonely and isolated, but I can well empathise. Remember that your feelings are also aggravated by a lack of sleep and the exhaustion that goes with the first 6 weeks of a new baby.

    You are not alone!!!! You have now graduated to the IF Mommy Club, and it is a very special club. I think us IF mommy’s have an extra special bond and love for our children, because they are such hard fought for blessings.

    I am at the end of a telephone or e mail if you ever want to talk or just moan or whatever.

    Big Hugs

    January 20, 2010 at 10:16 am
  • Reply Hela

    Shaz, it’s sad reading your blog today. Mostly because in some sense I can understand that feeling of loneliness and isolation. I don’t think it’s just a feeling that comes to IF Moms, but to all moms who don’t have those friends with babies. or with friends far away. And it is so hard to relate to many moms because many make you feel unwelcome (not to mention the ‘groups’ moms place themselves in). I find moms have become very snobby instead of supportive.

    Being at home with your little one and very little adult conversation isn’t easy and it compounds that feeling of loneliness and isolation. Something many people forget, don’t understand or don’t want to understand.

    (((Hugs)))

    January 20, 2010 at 10:40 am
  • Reply Gwen

    Yes, it’s not so cool when you don’t match any of the categories perfectly. On the other hand, maybe there’s something liberating in it, especially when you’ve worn a label for so long. Why on earth do you need to “fit in”? You’re not a “mommy blogger” or a “ttc blogger” or an “adoption blogger”, you’re a Sharon blogger, and people will come to you, just as they always have, because that’s the kind of person you are.

    January 20, 2010 at 10:44 am
  • Reply Adi

    Infertility can be such a dark place. Even though I have a big pregnant tummy now, we are also still infertile, the difference is that treatment actually worked. Didn’t fix the issues. Yet one feels one is not allowed to think that way, just… be grateful and shut up now, move along. I heard about such a nasty comment from someone on the forum said behind my back about how it is so unfair that we only had one IVF (from someone who not only already has a child but has has abortions). Really alienating. Makes you want to walk away and never look back. And all you can really taks from it in the end is: this infertility thing is a bitch. Often brings out the mean in people. We’ve all been there. I hope you know that even though our circumstances are vastly different and can not be compared, I feel your loneliness and so do a lot of other people. And we’re not going anywhere.

    January 20, 2010 at 10:46 am
  • Reply Mash

    I was just thinking today how the fertility community is a safe haven, a place of belonging and recognition. Almost giving a false sense of security, like it’s OK to be infertile because we have an identity here and lots of people to agree with how we feel.

    At some stage we have to move on from that false sense of security, because we either become mothers or choose a child free life. During the childless TTC infertility, we all throw ourselves into one big bucket. But afterwards, it seems to get more complicated. There aren’t any forums for “used-to-be-infertile-but-adopted-in-the-space-of-three-weeks”.

    I don’t know how you feel at all, but I think I can imagine it somehow!

    January 20, 2010 at 10:50 am
  • Reply Bratty

    Personally…I say “S… those that reject you”. There are plenty of infertiles (like me) who still value your opinion. Having a child does not mean that “poof” all those feelings have disappeared. On my journey in IF, I have learnt that you become so used to being “abused” and “silent” that it becomes second habit. Mom always said, after every heartbreak, “there are plenty of fish in the sea”….and that same principle applies now. There are many people that would welcome you as a friend, regardless of being Infertile or not….so maybe the time has come for you to re-evaluate your “friendship” list….start a new life with friends that are worthy your friendship……Life is too short to waste energy on people with no vision

    January 20, 2010 at 11:44 am
  • Reply Lea White

    You are always welcome with me! I can say that when we got Bianca I also felt really lonely because we were the only ones of our friends to have a child and they didn’t always understand. Suddenly our priorities changed – it wasn’t about partying and staying out late at night, suddenly there was a little person with her own little routine to worry about.

    I’m sorry that you have to feel lonely. I’m sorry that you feel like you are an outsider. I’m so incredibly sorry that there are those who are rejecting you (well stuff them).

    I don’t know the infertile world, but I do know when Bianca was diagnosed how being at hospital felt better than being at home (at times) because only there were we reminded how we were not the only ones. Suddenly there we could connect with others who understood. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent looking for blogs of others who are walking in our shoes, I found many and for a long time that is what brought the most comfort. And one of the hardest things to learn was that family and friends may not actually care enough to stay in touch, some have not spoken to us since their brief “sorry to hear about Bianca” emails more than 2 years ago, but oh well, that’s their choice.

    Sharon, I hope that soon you will feel that you belong. I hope that soon you won’t feel so lonely anymore and that you will find your place in a support structure again. I hope that soon you are able to find a group of people who would welcome somebody with your experience and realise that you are able to provide hope and that miracles do come true.

    Hugs, thoughts and prayers.

    January 20, 2010 at 12:12 pm
  • Reply Kirsty

    Shaz – I am so sorry that you feel this way! Please don’t feel lonely… being a mommy, or being an IF, it’s not about being part of a club.
    Life is not all about fitting into a box or a club… it’s about mingling, and whilst trying to always find a connection with someone via common ground is comforting, it can also be limiting.
    No-one is going to exclude you because of how you got to where you are. And really – it doesn’t matter! What matters is that you are a new Mum at the moment, and it is overwhelming in every sense!
    Overwhelmingly joyful, overwhelmingly emotional, overwhelmingly beautiful… and overwhelmingly difficuilt! No matter how you got your baby, every new Mum feels all these emotions. You are tired, overwhelmed, hormonal… it does all get better! I promise x-x Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday x

    January 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm
  • Reply Jeanette

    My word, cannot believe that bloggers have been so nasty!
    (((HUGS)))

    January 20, 2010 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply Cam

    Hi Sharon

    Please don’t feel lonely – believe me you still have so much support from so many of us who walked the road with you. You have every right to still belong to any forum and your advice and input is so very welcomed by me and I know I speak for many other women too. We would miss you if you didn’t pop in to TTCVets especially as you have so much to offer – so please carry on posting!!! Don’t let a few grumpy IF’s make you feel unwelcomed! I am so proud of you for accepting little Ava into your life and it happened so fast because that is exactly how it was supposed to happen! So trust that and trust yourself! Wishing you all the best and hope you get some sleep soon!!! Camxxx

    January 20, 2010 at 1:52 pm
  • Reply WiseGuy

    Oh, but Sharon I always love your comments on my blog….they are always warm and supportive….I don’t know why somebody would treat you so.

    This nook of the blogosphere is full of Single Parents; People like me trying to have their first; trying for their second kid; trying for fourth kid; adoptive parents and so on….there is enough space for everybody….I have always felt that…

    You belong here, dear.

    January 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm
  • Reply Sian

    (((HUGS))) Don’t know what to say.
    Still love ya!

    January 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply Amanda

    We live our lives in cycles, and you are on a very different journey now. Alot of ttc’ers will not want to read your blog, it represents something they want, but alot of the tcc’ers WILL read here and support you through this. You just have to find your new normal, and like Kirsty said, it’s not about fitting in and belonging to a club. The people in your life that are still with you are the ones that matter. A parent is a parent is a parent, no matter how you got to parenthood.

    January 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm
  • Reply Mommy-in-Waiting

    Sharon, I am so sad to hear you are feeling lonely. You have been such an inspiration to so many of us, that it seems sad that we are ‘parted’ since you ‘crossed over’. I can’t relate to your new life, but I know how much you can relate to mine. Wish I could be of more support.

    January 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm
  • Reply Kristin

    I’m so very sorry you are feeling lonely and rejected. That totally sucks.

    January 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm
  • Reply loribeth

    I’m sorry you’re feeling isolated. I have to admit, I may not have left many comments lately, but that’s partly a function of not relating to new mom-type posts & partly a time factor. I know what it’s taken for you to reach this point, & I know you haven’t forgotten! (((hugs)))

    January 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm
  • Reply charne

    i am so sorry to hear you lonely my fried….

    but i hear you….

    have you maybe considred joining a post natal group… it will never replace your friends but it will give you some company… i find that it was wonderful for us… and everyone was/is so supportive of us adopting… i guess it also helps cause 2 of the ladies in the group did struggle to fall preggies so they know the pain

    xxx

    January 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm
  • Reply Elana Kahn

    You fit in with me!! Even though we had very different journeys, I’m still here! By the way, I love the pic you chose for this post.

    January 20, 2010 at 4:43 pm
  • Reply Pamela

    In my own way, I’ve felt left out with the success that many of my online friends have had the last year or more with adoptions and pregnancies. When talk turns to parenting and babies I automatically tune out — as I have the past several years in my real life. I just can’t relate. My posts about embracing freedom and the small victories associated with not getting angry or sad when someone at work announces a new birth or the latest parenting triumph feels weird to celebrate amid women who are eager to talk about their new children. The adjustments are never-ending!!!

    Maybe we can highlight blog topics that are completely neutral: discussions about movies, books, music and the like that allow us all to focus on a common interest, rather than what’s radically different in our lives. I honestly continue to face this same challenge with local friends. We’re operating on different planes…not better, not worse, just different.

    January 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm
  • Reply Stacey

    Sharon, this post makes me sad and kinda makes me angry! I believe with all of my heart that you, in fact, fit in with EACH of those groups. You know the pain of IF, the heartache of loss, the torture of waiting years and years to be a parent. You have been a mother in your heart for years already, and now you have a beautiful daughter in your arms through the miracle of adoption. I don’t know many women who could understand ALL of these things at once. You have such a unique perspective and so much to offer to those of us in so many of these stages.

    I value your support, and will always appreciate your comments and encouragement. You belong in this community and you are always welcome on the blogs (and in the lives) of those who care about you and love you!

    January 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm
  • Reply Andrea

    Wow, this took my breath away. I have been reading your story for almost 1 year. Keep doing what you are doing because many of us are so happy that you take us along for your journey. You will find where you fit in.

    January 21, 2010 at 7:57 am
  • Reply Yvonne

    Big big hugs Shaz.
    I don’t know if it’s any consolation to you but you are definitely not alone. I know your journey has been very different and infinitely harder to that of most mothers, but at the beginning we are all lonely. Our social lives screech to a halt, the baby rules the house with an iron fist, our husbands and friends don’t recognise us..heck half the time we don’t even recognise ourselves!

    But along with that it’s also an incredibly special time. And Shaz I know this is the biggest cliche in the book but flip the time disappears and they grow up so fast. Right now all that matters is you and her.

    In a couple of months I’d suggest you try to join a mum & baby class or something of that sort – somewhere were you can meet new mothers that are in the same boat as you…same age children, same worries and woes, same sleepless nights.

    When my daughter was born we were also the only ones to have children and I found great solace in my moms & babes group. In fact two of the ladies I met through there are now my very best friends, and our children adore each other too!!

    Things will settle I promise. It just takes time.

    xx

    January 21, 2010 at 8:21 am
  • Reply SassyCupcakes

    *hug* It’s so complicated. I wish it wasn’t so hard. You’ve gone through a massive life changing experience with no notice and are adjusting to a new life while you’re still grieving your infertility and your daughter is grieving her own loss too. It’s unfair, but I think what you’re feeling is completely normal. I can’t imagine what it’s like. I’m sure it’s going to be hard, but I also think back to when you were having a really hard time and think that this is really the beginning of your happy ending. It’s not perfect. But there’s so much love and it’s only going to get better.

    January 21, 2010 at 11:28 am
  • Reply Invivo

    I suppose each graduation brings its own alienations, but we all will always have certain things in common, the journey we walked. That will always be there, nothing can ever take that away.

    As to your new mommy status, well, I suppose it poses a new opportunity to connect to new friends – there’s always space for more 🙂

    I think motherhood in general introduces all women to a new kind of lonely, ’cause in the middle of the night and through the darkest of trouble and illness it’s you that little sausage looks to for help and comfort. And that’s why parenthood brings new maturities, some of which you’ve discovered and many that still await.

    Best of luck with all the new challenges my friend! A new journey awaits. Embrace it.

    Soon you’ll have another friend that will badger you with “what now?” mommyhood questions. *touch wood*

    Mxxx

    January 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm
  • Reply CalT

    Shaz, I remember writing a post that sounded almost identical to yours. It’s like you’re somewhere in between. I couldn’t wait to be part of the ‘mommy club’ only to find out I didn’t fit in, because I couldn’t relate to labour, breastfeeding etc, and all of a sudden my infertility didn’t exist to people even though it was and is still very very real. I so know how it feels and it is lonely and isolating. Just hang in there because it does get easier and you will find the place where you fit in and what makes you feel out now will make you feel special in time to come. Thinking of you xxx

    January 22, 2010 at 10:44 am
  • Reply Gillian

    If you’re just looking for some mums to chat to… do a search for babynet…. a lovely group of women there, who stand behind you and offer advice when needed and sometimes when not needed 🙂

    January 24, 2010 at 1:41 pm
  • Reply SCY

    Late to this post, so just wanted to say that I’m always here for you, might not be able to help with any advise etc but I’m always here.

    HUGS
    xxx

    January 24, 2010 at 4:01 pm
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