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Seeing What Infertility Made Me

This is a post I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s not been an easy post to write, mostly because it’s not been an easy topic to own up to. But I have, for the most part accepted and forgiven myself and have asked some of the others from my past to forgive me to. So here it is:

I realize now that I’m no longer blinded by the pain of my infertility, that in the 7 odd years it took to get to where I am now, I was not a very nice person. I would never in a million years have been able to own up to this if Ava hadn’t come into my life and opened my eyes and shown me things I never/refused to see before. I would have cut you out of my life in an instant if you’d even dared to tell me I was any of these things. I behaved, at times, in a nasty way, to the point where I’ve contacted certain people to apologize now.

I would imagine it is the nature of pain and/or grief to behave in this manner, I can’t bear to think that it’s because I’m naturally any of these traits, but rather that I displayed these traits because of my pain and grief. I’ve had a taste of my own medicine, on my old blog, with some of the truly spiteful comments, of which I gave you a small taster a couple of weeks ago. I’ve seen my own poor behaviour reflected back at me by these comments and commentators. I like to think I wasn’t as blatantly nasty just that I played the victim in it all to my advantage.

I realize that in the past 7 odd years, that there were times when I was overcome by bitterness, I was jealous, I was not very good at feeling or expressing joy at others good fortune, mostly because I was so self-absorbed. I was so involved in my own pain, in my own desires that at times, I stopped caring about the needs and the desires of those around me, all I could think was what about me, what about my pain.

These are not easy things to own up to, but I’ve always believed that once you can name it, you can claim it and go about, trying at least, to make things right. I’m not perfect and I suppose I did the best that I could at the time. But it feels good to be able to recognize these things and to set myself free of them.

And then today, Kim sent me an email containing a fable, she sent it to me saying it had reminded her of the nasty comments I’d recieved on the old blog. When I read the fable I realized that it reminded me of me! The infertile me.

So here it is:

The Fox And The Grapes
One hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the thing to quench my thirst,” quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”

It is easy to despise what you cannot get.

http://www.aesopfables.com/aesopsel.html

So there it is, layed bare, in all the ugly truth!

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22 Comments

  • Reply darylfaure

    That is a very brave and honest blog Sharon. I think everyone going through infertility suffers from the same emotions, to a greater or lesser degree, and obviously the longer you have walked the path, the harder and more bitter you become. There were times in the last year, when I was very worried for you and could just feel the anger and bitterness oozing from your blog posts, so it is really great to see the happy Sharon back again. I remember getting so furious with people when they told me that I must just believe – I would have a baby. I wanted to throttle them and scream at them “what are you going to tell me in a few years if it doesn’t happen – how are you going to placate me then??” Fortunately it did happen, and I could also let go of the pain and anger. My heart breaks though for those still in the trenches, especially those who have been trying for a long long time, and I will always respect their right to that pain and anger, and just pray that somehow they will find a degree of peace and comfort.

    April 18, 2010 at 7:11 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      The thing is, I don’t believe it comes naturally to any of us to be that, I think its the nature of our pain, the nature of our journey, the nature of our grief that makes us that way. Or rather made me that way.

      April 18, 2010 at 7:32 pm
  • Reply lea2109

    Wow what a brave blog post. I totally admire you for writing about this. I must say though that I have not noticed this side of you. And whilst I was fully aware of the pain you were going through you have always been amazing with the things you would get up to – like the Christmas party with the Christmas present initiative that you had and when you went to spend time at the Children’s home if I remember correctly. These were examples to me of the person you are – putting your own feelings aside to be there for others.

    I think we all go through times when we become nasty and jealous, not because we are naturally like that, but because we try and protect ourselves and not expose ourselves to show the hurt and how vulnerable we might be.

    April 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm
  • Reply dee

    I guess its self preservation. Its easier to be bitter and jealous. I hate some of the things Ive said/done but at the time I made myself believe that it was ok. I guess learning from mistakes is what its all about? xx

    April 18, 2010 at 9:51 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Dee, I’m so with you! When I look back and the way I have behaved at times, I cringe with some of the things I’ve said and done.

      April 19, 2010 at 9:21 am
  • Reply orbit365

    Thank you so much for this brave post.
    I have had a friendship end due to my friends infertility. It was/is extremely painful and things between us were perfect until I had my baby. During my pregnancy I was very sensitive to her and didn’t flaunt it or even speak about it unless she wanted to and even then I was very guarded and conscious about not going overboard with sharing details etc. She always told me that she appreciated me not rubbing it into her face. Once my baby was born, things changed. I was still careful and did not bombard her with emailed photos and that kind of thing. I felt her slipping away from me and decided to give her the space she needed because I understood that she was struggling with her emotions etc. I still text her and check up on her from time to time but it’s simply not the same. I really miss her and wish she was still in my life. I do know that she is in a lot of pain and pray for her everyday. I so want her to have a child. She is sooo meant to be a mommy so I do feel horrible that she has has to go through this.
    Reading this post gave me much better insight as to where she is really at. The things is, I really don’t know where to go to from here.

    Julia
    xx

    April 18, 2010 at 10:53 pm
  • Reply aussiekim

    Sharon your insight gives me such joy and makes me smile on the inside.
    That you are brave enough to name it and claim it will serve you well in your life. I think you have a gorgeous heart and soul~!

    I am 43 – I have suffered 4 miscarriages and I have one gorgeous, healthy, precious 16 year old son (who I almost lost at 6 weeks preg). I am such a mother hen and had plans for a family of at least 3 children, sadly nature had other ideas. I could not have the family I would have loved however I am always thrilled for those that have good news to share, overjoyed in fact. I delight in the miracle/joy of all babies/children whether they be from friends/family or standing behind a mum I have never met before in the supermarket aisle – telling her how radiant she looks and how divine her newborn is. Instead of walking around with a bitter/unfilled heart I jave chosen to walk around filled with smiles and much joy, what can I say but it works for me and I find I get much happiness and love in return. Punishing the world for my shattered dreams was not an option for me. Ya know I still have the odd day when I feel a tad teary over my losses and lost dreams but life is for living and I have been blessed in so many ways.

    Hugs

    Kim
    xxx

    April 18, 2010 at 11:08 pm
  • Reply Me

    That fable has my name all over it…though it’s feelings I rarely put out there anymore, instead I keep it all inside and I have no doubt that it’s slowly eating away at my soul and turning my heart black. This past weekend has been a tough one, I think it’s finally hit me what the past nearly 11 years have been all about and yesterday afternoon I found myself on the floor sobbing with big heavy breaths and juicy fat tears rolling down my face, crying for everything I don’t have n won’t have.

    Infertility has robbed me of so much and in it’s place has left someone that I hate and who I fear will cause my marriage to crumble.

    April 19, 2010 at 1:01 am
    • Reply Mash

      I’m only 2 and a half years in, but I feel the same sometimes, like everything around me is collapsing, including my marriage.

      April 20, 2010 at 10:07 am
  • Reply bratty37

    Sharon, do not be too hectic on yourself. I agree that infertility takes people to a very dark place…I have seen it time and time again…My sister and I were sitting around the dining room table on Saturday night discussing this exact point. I am very fortunate because I have two older sisters who put me in my place before I fell into that dark hole. Don’t get me wrong…I was allowed to mourn but not allowed to stay there. For them, I am forever grateful cause I could have easily remained angry…it was much easier!
    Your fable reminded me of a common saying of my B. He would call negative people “Crabs in a Bucket”…..and if you have ever seen crabs in a bucket, all pulling at each other, not letting one get to the top..it makes sense.

    April 19, 2010 at 6:49 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks Brats. No disrespect intended, but I do have to say, that ones ability to climb out of the big black hole is highly dependant on how long one has been on the infertility path and how many times one has been kicked into the black hole.
      Its a different ball game when you’ve been trying for 5, 6, 7, … years or had 5, 6, 7 … IVF’s. The long you’re at this the harder it is to stay positive, to be happy for others and not be bitter and twisted.
      Or at least thats how it felt for me?

      April 19, 2010 at 9:19 am
  • Reply niseysmusings

    I think you are right when you name it and claim it. Opening your eyes to what you have experienced is the first step in moving forward.
    You also don’t mention regret which is great, because we wouldn’t be who we are today without every single experience we have had in our lives. You can now identify that part of you (your shadow) that you don’t like and you therefore have control over her… that is empowering!

    April 19, 2010 at 8:10 am
    • Reply Sharon

      The only thing I regret is hurting the people closest to me in the name of self preservation or in an attempt to hide my vulnerability.
      At the end of the day, right or wrong, nice or ugly, I know that even though I was horrible at times, I did the very best that I could on that day in that specific situation and thats all any of us can do.

      April 19, 2010 at 9:20 am
  • Reply zamom

    I’ll never forget the one blog post you wrote about how your life was actually pretty easy, comfortable, happy, etc. without kids. I was desperate to write a reply but just couldn’t find the right words as I knew deep down inside that the only way one really realises to what level one’s life changes (and is fulfilled) is when one does have a child yourself and I knew any comments I made would just be hurtful. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you are now able to write today’s post and I am just so sorry about all you had to go through to get to this point.

    April 19, 2010 at 9:43 am
  • Reply zeud

    Kudos to you sister 🙂

    Reminded me of the discussion you and I had about the Barbie post 😉
    I was very tough on you then.

    You have come such a long way, and my respect for you, have grown in leaps and bounds. You really are a special person!

    April 19, 2010 at 10:16 am
    • Reply Sharon

      This was a very difficult post to write, mostly because I was afraid of being judged. But at the end of the day, nobody starts out on this journey to be mean and spiteful, but I think the length of our journey’s, the bumps in the road of our journey’s and our characters ultimatley determine how we handle the journey. The most important thing for me, is to gt to the end of it and be able to recognize these things and move on from them.

      April 19, 2010 at 10:44 am
  • Reply tzipieastwest

    Sharon,

    Nice and honest post.
    Still suffering from IF/RPL at the moment, I am struggling with sadness; more precisely with the question:”Will this sadness ever leave me? Will a happy baby’s/child’s face remove it, remove it all ? What can I do with all these experiences, mostly sad ones ? How can I transform them into something positive ?
    Reading your posts and witnessing your transformation from suffering from IF/RPL to being a happy and dedicated mum and wife, gives me glimpses of a nice future that I can look forward to.
    I want to thank you for letting me know it is possible…

    April 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm
  • Reply wheresmybun

    I agree that the nature of pain forces you to only look at yourself. Your need to protect yourself is greater than your need to be mindful. I have felt the same as you and probably most of the other infertile’s out there. It a good trait to be able to look back and recognize what you’ve felt and how you’ve dealt with it, but living with regrets is not helpful at all either, like you said you did the best you knew how at the time. Brave post btw!

    April 19, 2010 at 12:20 pm
  • Reply thebsdiaries

    I always try to give myself a break. we are – after all – only human and do the best we can at the time. xx

    April 19, 2010 at 2:18 pm
  • Reply skrambled

    I know the feeling….I have that feeling at the moment. I think we really are unaware of the way all of this effects us sometimes. I really try to be civil or brush past the topic. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I’m not. It’s an ugly place to be….I do understand that! But it’s a reality! Been there (Am there now!)

    April 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm
  • Reply Mash

    It is very brave to look back on a time in your life when you weren’t being true to yourself and recognise it for what it was. I admire that!

    The amazing thing about life is that we can learn and grow from it, sometimes I think that’s why we are given these terrible, terrible things to endure.

    April 20, 2010 at 10:03 am
  • Reply staceysthoughts

    Sharon, I’m so glad you had the courage to write this post. You aren’t alone in these feelings. Lately I’ve been feeling very guilty that during this current pregnancy there have been friends IRL who have been so supportive and willing to go the extra mile and stand beside me through this, when just a couple of years ago I could not support them in their pregnancies. It’s a hard truth to own up to. I know I wasn’t at a place where I could do that then. That’s not an excuse, but it’s something I regret. I know even if I could go back that I probably still couldn’t go to the baby showers, etc. It’s true, we don’t intend to be that way but going through IF and RPL brings up things within us that we don’t necessarily like. I think the best we can do now is realize that and try to make amends where necessary and move ahead.
    I admire you for posting this!

    April 21, 2010 at 11:15 pm
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