GUILT

I’m not sure if its just me, but the over riding emotion surrounding my infertility is guilt. And its not just me who feels guilty, guilt seems to affect everyone who knows us and loves us.

For me personally, I feel guilty because our infertility is my “fault”. I know everyone will say that it isn’t my fault, and I know there is nothing I could have done to prevent my infertility, but the fact remains that its my body that has caused our infertility all along. I mean I had the partial uterine septum, I had the uterine variocele (sp?), I had the blocked fallopian tube that was leaking toxins into my uterus. So yes, I feel guilty. I feel guilty that my body caused our babies to die, I feel guilty that my body caused all my IVF”s to fail. I feel guilty that my body has created so much heart ache for W and I. I feel guilty that W has had to go through this because of my body. GUILT!

I know W feels guilty because he can’t take the pain and heartache away, I know he feels guilty because somehow he believes he has to be this He-Man who can provide for all of my needs, including having an endless supply of money available for me to go on countless rounds of IVF. I know he feels guilty every time he sees me cry that he can’t take the hurt and pain away. I know that he feels guilty every time he see’s me have to endure yet another injection, blood test, invasive scan, PC Test, Egg Retrieval, Embryo Transfer, surgery, the list is endless.

I know my parents feel guilty, especially my Mother, for my fertility problems. I know none of this is her fault and yet she feels guilty knowing that a large portion of my fertility problems are related to the rather messy appendix operation I had as a child. I saw the tears in her eyes when I told her, after my last surgery, about the images the RE had shown us, of how they’d had to work to try and clean up my insides, of how the RE had asked me if I hadn’t lived with constant discomfort and pain on my lower right side, of how they’d had to cut away adhesion’s that had my insides all stuck to each other. My bowel, bladder and uterus were all pretty much glued to each other by these adhesion’s. My right tube, swollen to more than 5 times its natural size, which was drained and disconnected. All of this caused by my appendix surgery when I was 8 years old. There’s nothing she could have done to prevent any of this, the truth is, I was very sick, I was in terrible pain and my appendix needed to be removed and the surgery was performed as an emergency. But I know she feels guilty. I know she feels guilty every time I cry, every time she sees my tears, every time I loose another baby, she feels guilty. Which in turn makes me feel guilty because I love he so much I don’t want her to feel this way, I don’t want her to take on this responsibility and I would love to give her a grand child.

My friends and family members who get pregnant and have babies feel guilty because they know that their good fortune, their pregnancies and babies cause me pain. I see how they try to tone down their elation in an attempt to try and spare my feelings. I love them so much for that, I wish it could be different and that makes me feel guilty.

Then yesterday, on my post about Compromise, I got so much support from all of you and I’m so grateful for it, but there were two comments that stuck out in my mind. The first one was from Kirsty, she suggested that I read the book “The Secret” to unlock the power of positive thinking in myself and of “if I believe it I can become it”. Now the truth is I’ve had The Secret for a year sitting on my bedside table for a year now, I still have not brought myself to read it. And then yesterday, Glenda made a comment that read as follows:

Hi Sharon

Shit! My two cents worth…ignore Kirty’s suggestion (Kirsty, I am sure you mean well but what happens if things don’t work out, does it become our fault that we didn’t believe enough…in my experience you start getting into very complicated areas, ‘the secret’ should stay about wanting nice cars and house and not stuff like babies or cancer, the things that matter and that can stuff you up if they don’t happen).

My feeling, I get what you say. Screw the intellectual/esoteric stuff…its just lousy, unfair and crap and not right that one should have to deal with it!

Good luck.

And I think Glenda hit the nail on the head for me, I think she said exactly why I’ve been avoiding reading The Secret. I already have so much guilt over this, and what if, just what if the next round of treatment fails? I’m afraid that each treatment failure unloads a pile of guilt onto me in the first place. My thought process surrounding this issue goes like this:

If I believe it I become it. So does that mean that I didn’t believe enough that my previous rounds of treatment would work? What about the babies I’ve lost, did I not believe or want them enough? I can’t even bare to think like that, its too painful and hurts too much. So while I believe in the power of positive thinking and visualizing what we want, I also believe that there are outside factors that also play a role in the outcomes. My previous IVF’s were always doomed to fail, it didn’t matter how much I loved those babies, how much I wanted a positive result, the simple fact of the matter is that my insides were so messed up that there was no way a baby could survive in that kind of environment.

Kirsty, please don’t take this post has a slap in the face, because I by no means mean it that way. Its just that there are some things in life that positive thinking and believing in with all our hearts, can’t be changed.

So yes, I’m still hoping and believing in a miracle, but if the IVF fails, I just don’t want to pile a whole new type of guilt onto myself. I live with enough guilt already.

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16 Comments

  • Reply charne

    I agree Sharon…. if I was you I would not read the secret….

    I just feel that if you read that and then you get all motivated and believe that positive thinking will fix everything and then it doesnt that you will start questioning yourself even more…

    In my mind we all go into a IVF been positive and we always hope that it will work…. all we can do when starting a new cycle is to pray, have faith and try be positive…. and when a cycle does not work we just need to remember that its not cause we did not pray long and hard enough or pray the right words, cause God answers simple prayers and knows the desires of our hearts. Itss not cause we did not have enough faith, cause we only need faith the size of the mustard seed. Its not cause we were not positive enough…. And its not cause we are bad people or have made mistakes in the past, cause God forgives and we all start with a clean slate…

    Sometimes bad things just happen to God people! And sometimes Gods plan just does not seem to make sense to us…

    Remember that God does not say we have to understand what His plans are but He does want us to trust Him….

    Its so easy to ask God, WHY? or WHEN? but hold onto faith, remain faithful and during the rought, hard times, continue to know that He loves you and that His heart is breaking with you… continue to love Him and give Him glory, even when times are tough

    Hugs to you!

    xxx

    December 11, 2008 at 11:06 am
  • Reply samcy

    *Sigh* The guilt, oh boy do I know about the never ending guilt.

    Personally I think “The Secret” is a load of bollocks. I am a firm believer in the whole mind body connection in relation to health BUT like you I also believe that there are many variables that determine an outcome to any situation and at the end of the day God is the one in control. No matter how positive you are or how much you put out into the universe (or whatever the secret sprouts you to do) God is the only one who KNOWS what is going to happen at the end of the day.

    I pray for you and W to get your blessings in abundance, and I pray for your peace of mind during this time – cos the guilt it sucks hairballs.

    Love ya!
    xxx

    December 11, 2008 at 11:23 am
  • Reply Katherine

    Hi
    I agree 100% with you and no one can make the guilt go away. I’m also the reason for our infertility and my heart breaks when I think I’ve probably passed this awful PCOS onto my daughter/s. Chris just doesn’t get it, but it keeps me awake at night. Each time I’ve tried to get pregnant I’ve thought about going on low GI diets, and cutting out practically everything nice to see if it will help and I’m THE most pessimistic person ever. I am always 100% convinced the treatment will fail (I still hope it works but prefer to think it hasn’t) and once I’m pregnant I spend most of the time expecting something to go wrong and so far so good. So, in my humble opinion I don’t believe that how one thinks and behaves and what one does affects the outcome. I know I will always blame myself and although I personally don’t blame my mom in any way for passing it on to me, I will be very sad to see my daughters go through what I have. I just hope I can support them in a very meaningful way and be able to financially cover the costs of any treatment they might need.
    Love K

    December 11, 2008 at 12:48 pm
  • Reply 'Murgdan'

    Well. I wanted to make the same ‘Secret’ comment–but I’m a peaceful non-argument stirrer upper. But now that it’s all out in the open and stuff….There is still a part of me deep down who thinks I MADE this happen to us because some part of me isn’t ready/doesn’t want kids. I think a book like ‘The Secret’ might drive me over a cliff. I think advising someone to read ‘The Secret’ is equivalent to telling them to ‘Just Relax’ or ‘Just Stop Trying So Hard’…..There, I said it.

    …I even had sex last night and thought ‘oh, I was relaxed and we weren’t even trying so maybe this time it will work’…nevermind that my husband only had 200,000 sperm at his last SA. Maybe HE wasn’t relaxed…

    You are right…there is just enough guilt to have to ladle more onto ourselves.

    December 11, 2008 at 1:29 pm
  • Reply Katie

    Oh Sharon I miss you. I have totally be not around and you are so sad right now, I can tell. I feel GUILTY for not being their for you!!!!

    I know those guilt feelings. Yuck. I feel like a failure as a woman!!!!! I feel like crap for letting my husband and family down, even though they don’t blame me one single bit, and I feel kinda guilty when my friends tip toe around me (kinda. I feel worse when they forget).

    I’m sorry I’ve been bad blog-friend. As soon as I get internet back I can be a good one again… LOVE YA!!!

    And you’ll be in my thoughts the ENTIRE month of January for your IVF!!!

    December 11, 2008 at 1:30 pm
  • Reply Katie

    IDK what the heck I was doing in that first sentence… Let’s try again…

    I have totally not been around and you are……

    December 11, 2008 at 1:31 pm
  • Reply Amanda

    Oi Sharon, I can only say that guilt is part of life. I can unfortunately offer nothing more. I live with guilt on a daily basis. My guilt is obviously very different to yours, but I do understand. I wish for us all that we can live without guilt, it would be so great.

    I love the snow on your blog!!
    Lots of love and hugs.
    Amanda.

    December 11, 2008 at 3:53 pm
  • Reply Maritza

    Save yourself the R150 bucks for “The Secret” and keep reminding yourself – “it’s not your fault” … best of luck and hugs dear friend. It really is not your fault…

    It’s nobody’s fault.

    M

    December 11, 2008 at 5:44 pm
  • Reply Kirsty Weaver

    Ouch – and to Murgden – double ouch!
    I didn’t mean to offend anyone – God, I would never tell some one suffering with IF to relax! So – if it sounded like that, I’m very sorry!It most certainly wasn’t my intention.

    Sharon – you really seem to be struggling at the moment, I hope you feel brighter and better about things soon.
    Good luck with everything. x

    December 11, 2008 at 8:14 pm
  • Reply Lea White

    Just wanted to come and give you “hugs”. I think your feelings are totally normal. I pray that you will find strength for this next round. I pray that you are able to find the positives to help you stay focused. I will pray and pray and pray.

    December 11, 2008 at 8:27 pm
  • Reply neesie

    It just feels like this never-ending circle of pain!
    Look, infertility just sucks!!! Nothing else to say, really.
    Just know that there are many of us out there who ache for you, are thinking of you and praying for peace for you.
    xx

    December 11, 2008 at 9:39 pm
  • Reply Stacey

    Oh Sharon, I’m sorry for the feelings of guilt. They plague me too even though I KNOW it’s not my fault that my body can’t grow babies. I wish I could tell us both how to avoid those nasty feelings.

    As for everything else, I agree with Charne 100%.

    Love ya, and you’re always in my prayers.

    December 11, 2008 at 11:57 pm
  • Reply Elize

    (((HUGS))) My friend praying for you everyday. I also suggest that you avoid the secret. I grew up with a father who was a very firm believer in positive thinking and quite honestly positive thinking didn’t do him any good besides making him come accross as a fanatic.

    December 12, 2008 at 6:46 am
  • Reply dee

    Im on the fence with this one, I have the secret (book and DVD) and it is uplifting but I agree that its not the be all and end all. But it has helped with my (more) positive mindframe.

    December 12, 2008 at 9:25 am
  • Reply Lori

    Oprah does a lot of shows on the secret often calling it the Laws of Attraction. They actually did a show where people were saying I follow the Law of Attraction but still X isn’t happening. The answer to this was a panel of 3 people plus Oprah saying how you won’t get what you want if you want it too much. Unbelievable! So somehow you have to know exactly the right amount of want but not too much. How can we tell ourselves to want babies less? The fact that we go through the things we go through, procedures, surgeries, tests, all the pain and heartache and the answer to that is oh sorry, you want it too much. There just seems to be an answer no matter what the outcome. I don’t have a problem with positive thinking. I prefer to look at my life positively rather than negatively. I think it makes me enjoy my life more and people enjoy me more. But I don’t think it gives me things, especially things like this. There is no litmus test of WANT when it comes to trying to conceive. You just want it.

    December 12, 2008 at 7:01 pm
  • Reply Coach Louise

    The running thread through your post Sharon, was about guilt, but all I can see is the pain that the guilt causes, when none of it is anyone’s fault, least of all yours. Can you forgive yourself? Can you get you mom to forgive herself? These are opportunities to let go of what you can’t control, and love each other through pain without the blame (oooh didn’t know that was going to rhyme…) – because without that there is just more pain. You have the choice to make that different.

    Coach Louise x

    December 16, 2008 at 5:10 am
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