How Years Of Infertility Changed Me

In my last post I mentioned how my years of infertility has changed me. And how, in almost all aspects, the changes were for the better.

I’ve spent some time thinking about all those changes, some of them seemingly trivial and some of them are truly note worthy. I wanted to document a few of them that come to mind especially after Gwen’s comment:

Mmm, I often hear people say that infertility has made them a better person. Sometimes I hear the same about baby loss too. The truth is that sometimes being dealt a shit hand brings out the worst in you and not the best.

I agree 100% with that statement. While I was in the trenches, it most certainly did bring out the worst in me. It made very self focused. It brought out elements of jealousy and envy. It played on my insecurities and made me feel unworthy. It made me loose faith, I almost gave up on hope too. It filled me with self pity. It left my heart and my spirit completley broken and in tatters. It made me judgmental, most especially of “breeders”. It negatively affected every single aspect of my life.

But then Ava was born and slowly my my heart and my spirit began to heal. And slowly, I was able to acknowledge, claim and ultimately move on from all the negative things I’ve mentioned above. I think that is perhaps one of the reason’s that I find it difficult to participate in online support forums now, because I am able to see all those negative emotions that so many of my hurting IF sisters, who are still in the trenches, are having to deal with. It’s not an easy place to find oneself. It’s not an easy place to be, it’s not an easy place to deal with.

But with healing and with being able to set myself free from those negative feelings, something else has happened. I’ve been able to see the positive things that infertility has made me and not be so focused on the negative.

I am so much braver than I ever was pre-infertility. I’m not afraid to stand up for myself and to fight, even if it is just for me. This has had far reaching effects and I believe this new found bravery has made me a better person, a better friend, a better daughter, a better mother and a better employee. I’m no longer fearful of speaking up for myself.

I’m no longer afraid of needles. I don’t get anxious when needing a blood test, I happily administer injections for myself, my family and my friends, without so much as my heart skipping a beat. Dr’s visits don’t make me anxious, don’t make my heart race, don’t make the palms of my hands sweat any more.

I’ve faced both physical and emotional pain and while it was difficult and at times I thought I may be sucked under by its power I survived. This has given me a huge amount of confidence in myself and in my abilities in all aspects of my life, both personally and professionally.

I’ve learned to let go of a lot of the control I tried to maintain in my life. I’ve learned that some things simply are beyond our control. I’ve learned that I can only do my best, give the best of myself and the rest is up to God. That sometimes in life, the answer simply is no or not now. I’ve found acceptance in learning to go with the flow a little, to not have such rigid expectancy and that sometimes plans change and often its for the better.

I’m more mature and more understanding in my dealings with others. I’ve learned that previously where I believed it was my way or the highway, that often there isn’t a right or wrong answer in a situation, we all just find the answers that best suite us.

Gwen’s other question, on the previous post in question was this:

The other question is whether the personal growth was worth the sacrifice.

And I love these questions, I think it’s important to spend time thinking about and contemplating the important questions in life, of which, this is certainly one (thanks Gwen) and I’d have to say my answer is this:

No, the personal growth was not worth the sacrifice. Baring in mind mind that my journey wasn’t just an infertility journey, it was also a pregnancy loss journey. Seven pregnancies lost. Seven souls lost. Seven could-have-been living, breathing children. No amount of personal growth is worth that loss.

BUT,

Sometimes in life, we are faced with difficult situations that we’d rather not face, not have to deal with but what a waste it would have been to go through all of that and not find personal growth.

If I had to go through my 7+ years of infertility and pregnancy loss, if there was no way around it, no way out of it, then I’d rather have learned something than have learned nothing. Then I’d rather have had the personal growth than come out the other side of an intensive struggle having learned nothing about myself or having grown in anyway – that would be the ultimate tragedy!

July 4, 2011
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9 Comments

  • Reply Nisey

    “Sometimes in life, we are faced with difficult situations that we’d rather not face, not have to deal with but what a waste it would have been to go through all of that and not find personal growth.”

    I couldn’t agree more. No one chooses IF or other traumas its not a question of is it worth it because if we had a choice I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have chosen it! The least we can do is learn from it…

    July 4, 2011 at 2:14 pm
  • Reply Tanya

    Beautiful post!

    July 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm
  • Reply Mash

    This really is a great post. It sums up a lot of what I felt from my first IVF – overcame a fear of needles, overcame just a tiny bit of the control freakism. I can honestly say IVF number 1 was a breeze because a) our adoption screening is already booked and b) I knew what to expect from all the lovely bloggettes and forum girls.

    I guess I’ve had my fair share of personal growth type traumas over the years, and while I’m not grateful for the traumas, the personal growth has been amazing, and I’m very grateful for that. I count myself as lucky for having been granted this personal growth, and it’s the reason for the name of my blog.

    I have one more thing to say… GWEN START A BLOG 🙂

    July 4, 2011 at 10:07 pm
  • Reply Julia

    Beautiful, beautiful post. Made me a bit teary eyed reading it. Thank you. Like Mash, I am not grateful for the traumas but the personal growth (which is still happening) has been painful and beautiful at the same time.
    I’m going to write something similar later this week. I hope that you don’t mind me linking to this post.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:31 pm
  • Reply St. Elsewhere

    Love it! See, if it was all told to us, in black and white that these would be the struggles that were laid out for us and all, we would never have had the courage, because the prior knowledge would in itself have psyched us.

    If we live with the struggles, the least we can take out and through is a stronger us. Exactly your words. I love it.

    xoxo

    July 5, 2011 at 6:24 am
  • Reply Gwen

    “Then I’d rather have had the personal growth than come out the other side of an intensive struggle having learned nothing about myself or having grown in anyway – that would be the ultimate tragedy!”

    You’re right of course. But I’m not there yet. I can’t even toy with a thought that begins “One good thing about her dying is…”. It’s been 3 years today and I don’t think I ever will.

    July 5, 2011 at 9:43 am
    • Reply Sharon

      I’m so sorry Gwen.
      You are, of course, absolutley right, there is NEVER a good reason for a baby/child to die!
      And I’m certainly not saying that personal growth is the reason.

      July 5, 2011 at 9:52 am
  • Reply To Love Bella

    *nods and nods and nods* You have said to me, on a few occasions now “I could’ve written this post”.. and now I can say the same for this one of yours.

    Mostly, through our IF and Loss journey, I blamed myself. Thought I was completely useless at something that came seemingly easy to others (and goodness knows, all I wanted to do was head-butt them).

    Then, during a bit of a TTC sabbatical, I started yoga and it really helped me get in touch with ME again. A different ME, but a ME nonetheless. I believe that it was yoga that changed my mindset and helped me try to see the positive in a negative situation from fairly early on and I remember being amazed at myself at how “easily” I coped with our loss / termination in 2005 (little did I know that I had merely pushed my feelings under a rug – but that is a different story…). And what a tough job that was finding the positive! But it did help me through.

    I went through everything that you have talked about above – stinking rotten bitterness and resentment, loss of faith (100%), UGLY bitchiness and cattiness. Really bleak and black and dark and sinister – I’m surprised Trav stuck by through it all.

    At the end, it all taught me that I can conquer anything. That, as you say, I can FIGHT.

    On the forum front – I must be honest and say that when I was reading posts (before joining) it was YOU and Gwen that stood out to me the most. You had been through SO bloody much. My hat was off to the both of you. Still is. Incredible women. You both rock.

    July 5, 2011 at 10:22 am
  • Reply tzipieastwest

    Interesting post. I think that what we are speaking about is called “resilience”. I am most happy for you that you did find sense to the difficult things you went through, became stronger out of it and I am grateful to the way you do inspire others at the same time. Thanks.
    I am also very touched by Gwenn’s comment above (posted 5 July at 9:43) ((hugs))

    July 5, 2011 at 12:23 pm
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