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The Cruelty Of Infertility

Have you ever noticed that when it comes to infertility, sometimes it can really feel like just when you think you can’t take anymore something happens that makes you realize that you can and probably will have to take a lot more. And I’m not just talking about the physical side of things, I’m also talking about the emotional side of this journey.

I’ve had many of those days, days that were so painful that I just wanted to curl into a ball and die. They’ve gotten fewer and further between as I’ve “matured” or “toughened” along this journey, but I remember the early days, where everything hurt.

I remember just after my first miscarriage receiving the news from my SIL that she was pregnant, she was hysterical, crying, besides herself, she wanted an abortion, she came to me of all people to help her. Something I managed to talk her out of, but it hurt, it hurt so much to have those conversations, to persuade somebody to voluntarily keep something that was so cruelly taken away from me.

Then 8 months later, I was pregnant with my second pregnancy and like a total martyr I decided to host my SIL’s baby shower and wouldn’t you just know it, I miscarried the day before the baby shower. So all the photo’s show her beautifully pregnant and me blotchy and bloated and swollen from cramps and crying. I thought my heart would break.

When we got the news that my first IVF had failed, and believe me, that was like NO OTHER failed fertility treatment before, nothing could compare to that, I thought I was going to die from a broken heart, two weeks later we got the news that my SIL was pregnant with her second baby. I thought it would kill me. We were on holiday with my parents in Cape Town, I cried so much I gave my poor Dad sleepless nights because he couldn’t bare to see the pain I was in.

Those are just a couple of the many many many excrutiatintly painful situations that I have some how managed to survive, some of them were more painful to cope with than others, one other situation was so painful that for the first time in my life, I wanted to commit suicide, I just wanted the pain to stop and if it meant ending my life I was prepared to do that. If it weren’t for the love of my husband and the professional support of a therapist I was seeing at the time, I may not be here today.

Its really painful to see so many of my IF friends, especially the newbies battling with all of the above. With the pain and insecurities and the cruelty of it all. I’ve reached a point where I’ve actually told my fertile friends how I want to be treated just to avoid some of the horrible situations I’ve been faced with in the past. I’ve told them not to just assume that my whole life revolves around infertility, that there are days I don’t want to talk about it, I’ve taught them how to gauge my mood by my responses to questions and when to continue on the topic of my infertility and when to drop it. I’ve also told them how I want to have the news of their pregnancies broken to me because of some reason fertiles seem to think that the best way to tell an infertile they’re pregnant is in person, over a lunch or something and I hate those situations, it feels like being trapped. I prefer to receive a text message with the announcement, this gives me time to cry and be sorry for myself and deal with my emotions before facing the person and expressing my joy at their wonderful news. I just find that’s the easiest way for me and lets face it, easy is a good thing when it comes to infertility, I don’t see it as shameful to look out for my emotions, I’m already rubbed raw as it is.

Now, my friend Cindyis going through a really really rough patch, she’s just received one of those painful announcements that makes us crumple to our knees. Please go show her some love!

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13 Comments

  • Reply Amanda

    Sharon, you’ve been through so much already, I hope your fertile friends listen to your requests, you need to be selfish with yourself and your emotions, it’s the only way you can protect yourself from insensitive comments and announcements. I hope you’ll have your miracle soon! xxxxx

    October 21, 2008 at 10:25 am
  • Reply Murgdan

    Thanks Sharon! I cried all the way home yesterday, and then my sister (feeling guilty or something) came over with her baby to ‘spend time with me’. Oh to rub salt in the wound. I know she means well.
    She doesn’t even know all the facts at this point. I just told her testing results were ‘not good’ and left it at that. While I would like to tell her about the IVF, I will never tell them when. If it doesn’t work I could never bear the pain of dealing with their misguided pity.

    Thank god I avoided the ‘restaurant announcement’.

    (Hugs)

    October 21, 2008 at 11:33 am
  • Reply Sian

    Great post! I think it is a great idea to tell people exactly how you want to be treated. Then they know exactly where they stand and have less chance of offending.

    October 21, 2008 at 12:11 pm
  • Reply Maritza

    I should have told everyone about the text message thing WAY earlier…just got one of those dreaded calls from my brother this morning! They’ve been trying for two months… *sulking* Horribly difficult to explain to people that you don’t resent the fact that they are pregnant, it just sparks fire to so many emotions you try to avoid so desperately. Prevention is much better than cure, so good on ya for letting people understand how you feel in advance.

    October 21, 2008 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply samcy

    Great post Shaz, it is so true.

    xxx

    October 21, 2008 at 2:45 pm
  • Reply Jessica

    Awesome post! As you said, I think over the time that we’ve dealt with IF I’ve become tougher and less emotional about the continual BFNs. *hugs*

    ICLW

    October 21, 2008 at 3:56 pm
  • Reply Marina

    So true Sharon. I’ve had one of those months where everyone around me is just falling pregnant, not to mention the amount of babies born around the time that my baby should’ve been born had I not miscarried for the 2nd time.

    October 21, 2008 at 6:09 pm
  • Reply charne

    Yes we often ask ourselves this question when having a hectic weekend with kids visiting! But when they give a little smile or give you a huh or when you get a glimpse of your loved one staring at the kids with longing, you them definatly do remember why you go through what you do to fulfil this dream

    October 21, 2008 at 8:45 pm
  • Reply Michelle

    I know exactly what you are talking about. I remember at the beginning thinking “if that happens (whatever that was) I will not make it through” and then THAT happened and I am still here. It’s good that you are able to tell people exactly what you need from them, it is the only way they know. Sometimes, I am guilty of thinking people are suppose to automatically know and the truth is if they haven’t been through it there is no possible way to know. Good for you. ((HUGS))

    October 21, 2008 at 9:30 pm
  • Reply Kandace

    Geez, you have gone through some tough stuff. I admire you for your courage – I definitely could not have been so generous during those difficult times. ICLW

    October 21, 2008 at 9:32 pm
  • Reply keystoclaritycoach

    Hi Sharon,

    Great advice! I just visited Cindy’s page and posted. You’re a good friend to so many out there, and everyone loves you for your openess and vulnerability. I have also experienced times where I have heard from friends who have ‘good news’ and it really does help if you are able to prepare yourself to be joyful with them, so asking them to text you is a great idea. Often we need to grieve our own losses first, and then show up for our friends/family the way that you want to when you’re able and ready. I have shed tears, expressed anger, and hopelessness, managed to cover up in those moments, not always as well as I would like… And I have a very confused husband who himself doesn’t know how to handle delivering that kind of news to me about friends. He finds it difficult to see me in pain, and not just be joyful for them. I can do both, but give me time! Preparing your friends and letting them know how to communicate with you, really allows you to take charge of your journey. And its a great way to nurture yourself through the process.
    love,
    Coach Louise
    PS: If any sign of martyrdom pops up, squash it quickly 😉

    October 22, 2008 at 2:43 am
  • Reply Adel

    Sjoe – such a great post!! I totally understand. I totally understand the feeling of not wanting to talk about my infertility all the time!!! I am not defined by my infertility!! The otherside of this is, the friends with kids – sometimes just talk about their kids – hello? After a while – can we change the subject please?

    I, however, need a good cry, as I have not yet cried, even though I also had these awful experiences!

    October 22, 2008 at 8:19 am
  • Reply monica lemoine

    Thanks for your heartfelt thoughts, Shaz. I’m a little late on reading this but sure glad I did. I think “manage to survive” is a key phrase here – the human power to endure constantly amazes me. I think we all end up finding our own ways to get thru what life throws at us.

    October 22, 2008 at 10:29 pm
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