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!