Protecting My Fragile Heart

I belong to an South African online infertility support community – Fertilicare. I’ve been using that forum since it was started just over 2 years ago and the only members were myself, Sam, Elize and Maritza. We were a whole support group of four and boy did we have fun. Over the years, the support group grew and grew and morphed into a support group for anyone and everyone walking the infertility journey, we have support rooms for those pursuing donor, adoption, surrogate, single women, gay couples, you name it. I have loved the forum, I’ve loved sharing my experience and knowledge with those just starting out and getting support during rounds of treatment.

But lately, the forum that I have gotten so much comfort from has been less comforting and far more painful for me. I have lost my spark/passion for this journey. I feel dried up, used up, finished and over it.  Going there now causes me more hurt than its worth. There are a lot of reasons for this. Its hard to watch as girls much younger than me and on this journey for far shorter than me, lap me and get pregnant and announce the births of their babies. Its hard to have a constant reminder of where I should be in my pregnancy, see again, how stupid cycle buddies really are? I had a cycle buddy during my FET. She was made anxious by my BFP as I tested before her and voiced her anxiety to me. How ironic that she’s the one carrying a healthy pregnancy and I have, well, I have nothing. It hurts to see those updates.

I don’t have the energy to respond to newbies questions anymore, I feel like I’ve been saying the sh*t for so long. I wish I could unlearn all the fertility sh*t I’ve learned over the past 7 and a half years. I wish it could be wiped from my memory, I wish I could forget.

And then yesterday it happened, call me crazy, call me a sadist, but somebody, who has been wonderfully supportive of me over the past year, posted her birth story and I read it. It hurt so much that I don’t even know how to describe the pain I felt. It sucked the breath out of me, it caused a pain in my heart, it wasn’t just some abstract pain, it was a deep, intense physical pain.  It caused the tears to well up in my eyes and it to finally realize, I no longer have a place within infertility support forums. I can’t go back there, it hurts me too much and I have nothing left to give, nothing left to offer. I’m obsolete. Finished. Done.

I will never fit in there again, I will never know what its like to see a heartbeat on a scan for the very first time, I will never feel a baby movie inside my womb, I will never know what morning sickness feels like, I will never know what all the aches and pains of pregnancy are, I will never feel a contraction, I will never know what giving birth feels like, I will never see the look on my husbands face when he is handed his baby for the very first time. This realization is heartbreaking, crushing.

During my transition I need to do whatever I can to protect my very fragile, broken heart and one of the things I need to do for myself is avoid situations that hurt me. So, for now, at least, I will not be participating in any online support forum discussions as its just too painful for me right now.

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  • Reply Gwen

    You’ll be missed, but you need to protect your own heart first. I hope to be able to keep up with you here on your blog. I want to say again how much I admire your warmth and honesty and I wish with all my heart that the journey you’re embarking on now brings you joy and fulfilment.

    November 11, 2009 at 10:09 am
  • Reply Kirsty

    Hugs Sharon. I really am so, so sorry for your sadness and pain. I wish I could take it away. You are in my thoughts. X-x

    November 11, 2009 at 10:32 am
  • Reply Abs

    I’m so sorry that you are feeling so alone and heartsore Sharon but I think that it is best for you right now to distance yourself from the forum and all things with the potential to hurt you. You are like a lioness with a splinter in her paw…even the best intentions to help are going to be met with some kind of an attack. You are in pain and it’s going to be your instinct to withdraw and then lash out if anything or anyone goes near that raw and painful wound. I so wish I could take away that pain. ((HUGS)) xxx

    November 11, 2009 at 10:47 am
  • Reply SassyCupcakes

    I think it says a lot about you that you’re only just leaving now. I’m sure the support you’ve given to the other forum members has been invaluable but I think anyone would understand why it’s too hard now.

    I really wish I could unlearn stuff too. I studied midwifery at Uni and that knowledge combined with everything I’ve learned through blogs means that it’s not unusual for me to know more about something than women who have given birth and have breastfed and are holding their very own beautiful little babies. It’s horribly uncomfortable sometimes and can be so hard to give breastfeeding advice when I will never have a newborn to breastfeed myself.

    November 11, 2009 at 10:59 am
  • Reply Mash

    Sharon, you’ve been more support than you even know. I don’t think I would have ever had the courage to go for that silly HSG without you. Compared to what some people have been through, it was nothing, but to me it was terrifying. The forum is supposed to feed you, and when it stops serving that purpose, it’s definitely a good idea to take a break. Reason, season or lifetime. Things pass into and out of our lives, and maybe that’s what the forum has been for you. Bless it, and let it go. You have no obligations to anyone, and you will always be a legend there, I’m not sure I know anyone with as much courage as you have. You need to look after YOU now. xxxxx

    November 11, 2009 at 11:09 am
  • Reply Lea White

    Oh Sharon, I’m so incredibly sorry that your journey has to be so incredibly painful. I’m so incredibly sorry that you have to have such a challenging journey. I wish there was something I could do or say that could make it better. I agree, perhaps it is best to for now focus on finding yourself again.

    Do know that you will always be in my thoughts and prayers. Do know that I admire you so very much. I learn a lot from you!


    November 11, 2009 at 11:15 am
  • Reply Elize

    It is VITALLY important that you protect your heart. Your pain is still so new, still so raw for you to be anything to anyone at the moment. You have given your best over the years, its now time to look after yourself. Be kind to yourself, and if that means not reading about birth stories or not be encouraging to newbies, then that’s what you *must* do. (((HUGS))) my friend. This is a very hard time for you. Cut yourself some slack, lots of slack. I’ve found that retreating completely really really really helped me to heal and cope, I even went further and stopped reading infertility blogs, I only read the ones that I am closest to, to keep more or less updated on every ones journeys, but there were still days, when I couldn’t even get myself to open my reader.

    November 11, 2009 at 11:23 am
  • Reply Zeu

    It is totally understandable that you want this. It sucks hairballs. Do whatever you need to do for YOU, not anybody else!
    Prayers is all I can offer!

    Best wishes

    November 11, 2009 at 12:03 pm
  • Reply SCY

    You need to look after number one for now – and if that means an absense from the forum then so be it. We will all miss you lots but you need to protect your heart like you say.


    November 11, 2009 at 12:56 pm
  • Reply Lesley

    If you don’t protect and love yourself you can’t love anybody else. I’ll miss you on FC but I hear what you are saying.

    November 11, 2009 at 12:58 pm
  • Reply Sian

    I say, put yourself first Shaz. No apologies are needed. Do what feels right. HUGS!

    November 11, 2009 at 2:07 pm
  • Reply Invivo

    A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. Take care of that heart of yours!

    November 11, 2009 at 2:23 pm
  • Reply Hela

    So Sorry! But please take care of your heart.
    Sharon first – there’s a lot of healing to be done!

    November 11, 2009 at 3:45 pm
  • Reply Denise

    I know the feeling, it took almost 1.5 years after my last m/c before i could go back, even now that we’ve adopted and the pain is less i still don’t quite feel like I “belong”

    November 11, 2009 at 3:55 pm
  • Reply Esperanza

    I’m hearing that you are really suffering a deep and profound sadness right now and you feel an intense, primal need to protect yourself during this time. Staying away from boards and other people on this journey sounds like a first step in doing that.

    November 11, 2009 at 6:29 pm
  • Reply Elana Kahn

    You don’t need the forum now, because you have us instead. 🙂 And we love you a whole lot.

    November 11, 2009 at 7:08 pm
  • Reply Jenny

    I get that. I am sure you will be missed. I don’t go there too often myself these days. Your advice has helped so many Sharon, but now you need to focus on you and W.

    November 11, 2009 at 8:35 pm
  • Reply Kristin

    Oh hon, I am so, so sorry that you are feeling all this pain. I totally understand the need to protect yourself and give your heart time to heal. {{{Hugs}}}

    November 12, 2009 at 1:51 am
  • Reply Misty

    You will be missed.
    And although you will not have the joy of pregnancy, you will have the joy of being a mother. I truly believe that for you and W.

    November 12, 2009 at 8:54 am
  • Reply sophie


    I miss you on the Forum and I am surely not the only one.
    But your attitude is very understandable and respectable!
    I think you are very courageous and wish you well!!

    November 12, 2009 at 10:10 am
  • Reply Jewel

    Hey Sharon

    I stumbled on your blog today and this post was like you were reading my mind , I can totally relate. As much as I loved the forum , I had to stop logging on because it stopped me from moving on. I know the journey is different for everyone but its your journey and you can go whichever way you want to.

    For me , if it was’nt for my DH I would have still been in the pit of sorrow and hurt. So he decided for us that our lives need to take a different direction. He bought a 4×4 and instead of spending money on IVF our new project is seeing as many places in this beautiful country as we can see. And as hard as it is to accept , I’ve accepted the fact that is probably just going to be DH & Me for the rest of our lives, my heart still yearns for a baby , but you know what , I take travelling the country with my DH as a pretty great second prize.

    Its taken a long time to get here but I think I’m okay with it. And whatever you decide to do , that’s okay too. Its your journey , just enjoy the ride !!

    Lots of Luv


    November 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm
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