Looking Back…

 

This morning I logged onto to Katie’sblog first and was really touched by what she’d written. I could so relate to what she’d said, we are very similar, Katie and I, although we live literally tens of thousands of miles apart and I’m 13 years older than her, I can so relate to what she is saying, because I too have felt the failure she is speaking of. One of the things we have in common is our steely determination. W’s nickname for me is Determined Sharon, apparently the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I have inherited this trait from my mother, Determined Dianna. There is no obstacle in life I cannot over come, there is nothing (so far in life) that I have not been able to achieve when I’ve set my mind to it. I’m capable of buckling down under the most extreme conditions and getting the job done achieving whatever it is that I’ve set out to achieve. There is only one area in my life where this determination has not seen me succeed – my infertility. And its been a long hard lesson for me to realize that sometimes dedication and determination are not enough, sometimes we have to give up the control and just let go and let God. Its taken me years to learn this.

My first miscarriage was definitley one of the most traumatic out of the lot, mostly because failure was just not something that I could even consider. It never even occurred to me that I could have a miscarriage. That was like this dreadful thing you heard whispered about and pitied at ladies tea parties. It wasn’t something could happen to me. When it did happen it was a huge shock, the first few weeks afterwards were spent in a fog of disbelief and total shock. I couldn’t even fathom that that could happen to me. Then came the sadness and sense of loss. I know only those of you who have been pregnant and suffered an early loss can understand this, but it wasn’t just the loss of that tiny embryo it was the loss of so much more. Of what could have been, of what should have been. Of dreams and aspirations and ambitions, of sleepless nights and milestons. Of first steps and first bike rides and first days of school. It was the loss of those things that hurt so badly, that took so long to come to terms with.

My second miscarriage and all my miscarriages there after all started as threatened miscarriages, so I was given the opportunity to gently let go and say good bye to all those emotions, not just have it ripped away from me, waking up one morning lying in a pool of blood. As happened with my first miscarriage. My last miscarriage was also extremely traumatic, but that’s for many other reasons.

The toughest part of recovering from my miscarriages was coming to terms with the sense of failure, firstly and most importantly I was a total failure as a mother because my body had not done what it was designed to do. It did not nuture and protect my baby, it did in fact kill my babies. I was a failure as a woman, I was a failure as a wife, as a daughter, as a sister and sister in law, I was a failure as an Auntie. It felt as though I had failed in every aspect of being a human being. I also felt a failure as a friend when as each of my friends announced their pregnancies, I did not feel happiness for them, I felt as though my heart was being ripped out. As each one of them gave birth and I was unable to hold their babies and feel love and joy, instead I was overwhelmed with what could have been, with what should have been.

Feelings of failure are probably some of the hardest I’ve had to over come during my long winding road of infertility. I also understand Katie’s fear. I remember after my first and second miscarriages thinking I would not be able to survive another one, that I would rather die that have to cope through another loss.

But, 6 years down the winding road, I can look back around the bends to the beginning of my journey and with absolute certainty I can say I am not a failure. If anything, my steely determination has brought me along this journey. At times, I’ve had to literally white knuckle it, I’ve had to hold on so tight to my sanity, I’ve had to hold on so tight so as not to completely loose control and fall over the edge into the abyss of complete over wrought emotion and insanity. My determination to succeed has kept me going, has forced me to get up each time I get knocked down, dust myself off and keep trying.

Its only now that I can say with certainty, I am NOT a failure, if anything its quite the opposite, I’m a total success, look at the obstacles I’ve over come and I’m still standing, squaring my shoulders and look life straight in the eye. The biggest mind shift that has occured for me is realizing that having children or not having children is not actually about success or failure. How we cope with our battle is what counts, do we operate with integrity and love and compassion? As long as I can continue to operate from a place of integrity, love, honesty and compassion, I’ve already won.

My determination allows me to say, I refuse to be beaten by this, I refuse to be buckled under the stress and strain of infertility and that allows me to say I am a success and I have already won!

23 Comments

  • Elize

    September 3, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Love your post Sharon!!! Very inspiring! You’ve hit the nail on the head. We (I) often think about pregnancy or no pregnancy in terms of success or failure. And it’s not. I often wonder where this road is leading us, and as time goes by I realise that it’s not whether I conceive or not, but how I respond to things.

    Reply
  • Nix

    September 3, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    You are a true inspiration. Your life and journey through all this shows how truly emotionally strong human beings can be. The absolutly amazing thing about you Sharon, is that you have come out of the darkness a better, stronger, more humble person. You have not let bitterness consume you.

    I applaud you, and hope you continue to grow stronger!

    Reply
  • Murgdan

    September 3, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Yes. This whole ‘trying’ thing is as much about the ‘journey’ as it is the ‘destination’. I’ve leanred more in a year than I ever hoped to know–but it has already without a doubt made me a better person.

    Another uplifting post for the morning, Sharon. Thanks. I needed it today.

    Reply
  • Lesley

    September 3, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks so much for writing this. You have an absolute talent for making sense of this stuff. You are a total success, at no point have you let this beat you down.

    Reply
  • Sian

    September 3, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    You are and always will be an inspiration. You have gone through so much….and you are absolutly right it is how you handle the situation that makes and shapes a person.

    Reply
  • keystoclaritycoach

    September 3, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Hi Sharon!

    Incidentally I am a South African living in USA! Thanks for your blog. It is something I realised through my journey is that infertility or having a baby doesn’t define who I am. Letting go of the outcome of a successful IVF/IUI treatment was one of the hardest lessons – but once the realisation came, it was one of relief. I realised I wasn’t the one in control – ( determination-here I come) that giving that totally over to whomever, God, the Universe, Grace – and just letting what will be, be. That took me a while, and of course is something I do have to remind myself of. My miscarriage was heartbreaking. But I have allowed myself to grieve, and not know why… I have subsequently learned about the possibility that we choose to come to earth having decided which lessons we need to learn, and that my baby came purely for that few weeks for a reason. What is my learning….still working on that one… but it gives me more compassion, understanding and love for those who walk in my shoes. (gosh I think I might have to post this on my blog!) Sterkte, to you Sharon, you are an inspiration. We are all whole, beautiful and loved – and how we show up in life, is all that matters.

    with love and conviction,
    Coach Louise Crooks
    http://lifebalanceinfertilitycoach.wordpress.com

    Reply
  • Katie

    September 3, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Wow I LOVED your post!!! And absolutely am flattered you checked me out this morning 🙂 You are a real inspiration! I can’t wait to be in the place that you are in right now!

    Reply
  • samcy

    September 3, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    *Standing up and applauding*

    Hear Hear!!!

    You are an inspiration to one and all my friend. 100% a WINNER and hardcore determined chick who WILL overcome!!! 🙂

    Thanks for a great post!!

    Reply
  • Nic

    September 3, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    ‘but it wasn’t just the loss of that tiny embryo it was the loss of so much more. Of what could have been, of what should have been. Of dreams and aspirations and ambitions, of sleepless nights and milestones. Of first steps and first bike rides and first days of school. It was the loss of those things that hurt so badly, that took so long to come to terms with’.

    And that, is exactly why people who think an early loss is ‘better’ than one later on are SO off-base.

    Another lovely blog, though it makes me sad you’ve gone through such heartache.

    Reply
  • Dee

    September 4, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are right I am NOT a failure.

    “The biggest mind shift that has occured for me is realizing that having children or not having children is not actually about success or failure. How we cope with our battle is what counts, do we operate with integrity and love and compassion? As long as I can continue to operate from a place of integrity, love, honesty and compassion, I’ve already won.”

    My third IVF was BFN. I am beyond devastated.

    Reply
  • Tam

    September 4, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Beautifully said sweetie, you are an amazing inspiration to all of us!

    You are a winner and a beautiful, loving, sensitive person to boot, I think that we all count ourselves lucky to be touched by your love & compassion!

    Big hugs xxxx

    Reply
  • Kirsty Weaver

    September 5, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE!!!!!!! Control freak – maybe, but failure??? NEVER!!!!
    I don’t know why you’ve been asked to walk this path – but let me tell you, I know why I wasn’t chosen!! Because I could never have done so with so much dignity, patience, compassion etc….
    I would never have managed loss after loss, grief after grief – and then still come through the other side smiling.
    You are a strong, wonderful woman – and your dream is just around the corner…I can feel it in me waters!!!!!

    Reply
  • annacyclopedia

    September 5, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Came from the Roundup. This is an amazing post that really sums up how I feel about this journey. As much as I want to have a baby, I know I’m not in control of whether or not I get to do that. All I know for sure is that I’m stuck with myself, so I might as well try to learn as much as I can about myself and work on those parts of myself that cause me pain. Finding forgiveness for and gentleness with my heart has really been the silver lining in all of this, and helps me to let go of the outcome and just stay in the moment. Thank you for saying it all so beautifully and compassionately here.

    Reply
  • ~Hollie

    September 5, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Yes, you are so right. You are definitely a winner in this arena. Kudos to you on a fabulous post. You put into words emotions that I never could.

    Reply
  • Sandy

    September 19, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Hi,

    I’m not sure how I found your blog but thank you so much for posting your infertility journey. I am 44 and finally got pregnant after 3 years of ttc and 5 years of non-ttc (see how quickly the just relax and don’t think about it works?). I was diagnosed with a blighted ovum at 8 weeks and had a D&C the day after Christmas. The miscarriage has been devastating. Your blog captures it all, particularly the sense of failure, which so many people seem to not understand and want to wash under the carpet as unreasonable (which, of course, adds to the failure sense since it means you’re doing yet another thing wrong).

    Thank you for posting what you do – I admire your strength, courage, stamina and kindness. I wish you happiness wherever it may be.

    Reply

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