Monday, November 29, 2010

How infertility messed me up emotionally

I've shared often on this blog how I'm not a girly-girl.

Not in clothes and certainly not in the groups of women friends normal women have.

I'm very friendly and can chat with anyone but at school and at varsity I had 2 - 3 close friends that I shared things with, and that was that.

Aside from being dumped by two friends, I haven't had any real friend drama, I think because I used to have a thick skin.

Friend 1 dumped me because I told her her boyfriend was cheating on her. She is now married to him and I have NO doubt he's still cheating on her but let's move on.

Friend 2 dumped me for no apparent reason. She dumped everyone, seriously everyone, family and all her friends because she went a bit psycho. This was my best friend at university, who stayed two doors down in the res (residence) from me.

Other than that, no issues.

Then I became infertile.

Suddenly I had all these feelings going on inside that I couldn't really talk to anyone about, not even D. As a man he felt a smidgeon of it but certainly nothing like the way I felt my body was broken, I was a failure, etc.

Slowly I learned the "infertile nod".

That's when you tentatively start chatting about things, get to the subject of children, and you both have a knowing that you're both infertile.

You test the waters and give each other the "infertile nod".

That's what happened with "my friend with the twins", C, and I.

We worked together, became friendly, got chatting and discovered we both wanted children desperately.

C dragged me to the infertility support group promising "we don't ever have to go back if they're weird".

Because I was scared of opening up, of sharing how I really felt, of being vulnerable in a room full of strangers.

That first time, I still thought everybody was a bit weird but they seemed so at ease with their stories that I was willing to come back one more time.

Until I was there every single time, except when I was travelling.

And I got more and more comfortable with sharing, with opening up, with becoming vulnerable.

I like to think I made a lot of really good friends in that group.

All that opening up made it easy for me to share my story with anyone who needed a bit of encouragement (not just at the group).

You'd think that was good news now that I wasn't as closed-off emotionally.

But you'd be wrong.

I'm still open and vulnerable but I feel like all my friends have crossed over the river of infertility and are safe and dry on the other side, well-adjusted.

Almost like they opened a little box in their heart, let their feelings out while they were waiting, and now they've locked the little boxes in their hearts and everything's safe and well again.

And me? Well, I'm this open, gaping, emotional mess.

I value connection and, while this is hard for me to say, I'm not getting what I need.

There I said it.

I was praying about this a few weeks ago and God reminded me that He is enough for me.

I know that, a bit too intellectually, but... I do know that.

Still, I need people too; talking back to God is not always as fun :)

Then I prayed again - this time that He would send a special someone into my life to meet my friendship needs. Or change relationships. Whatever He feels like doing.

So I wait...

And that is yet another way infertility messed me up emotionally.

For anybody who battled to have a baby, how has infertility messed you up?

P.S. I've just signed up for Mondo Beyondo. This is going on my Mondo list. There's a special today only, for just $49. Is anybody going to join me in January?


  1. I don't really know what to say other than after doing Mondo, I hope you will see that the act of writing down what you want (the right support network) will help you achieve it. I am definitely not "that" person since I did not have IF... it is a little odd sometimes being so fertile in the twin community because I never know the right thing to say.

  2. There are a couple of experiences in my life that really, truly changed who I am as a person...losing my mom, and going through IF. I can't just lock those little details away and go about my life, and actually, I wouldn't want to. I don't wear either of those on my sleeve; in fact, I don't open up about them very often at all. But they're always there, at least in the footnotes. I like to think that they make me more aware of and more thankful for what I have. It's not always easy, but I guess I try to channel those emotions to the positive.

    Thinking of you, Marcia! :)

  3. Thats where we met! At the group!

    As for you, You always have things down pat so I have no doubt that you will find a solution (or a solution will come to you?) and one that you are happy with. I will maybe write a blog post on this topic but right now I dont want to go "back there", the memories are far too terrifying.

  4. I'd have to disagree with you one one point... that those of us who have crossed over are fine. I really don't think that is the case. I think infertility fundamentally changes who we are and how we cope. I know that all of my close mothers-after-infertility friends are battling the very same emotional issues and issues in their relationships and marriages as I am. I guess part of the problem is that we want to be "normal" but how can we be?

  5. Sharon, really? People are not talking so I didn't know that. I know you've written on your blog before how you don't want to even think about IF because it's so painful to go "back there" as Dee said :)

  6. In this house, dealing by not dealing rules supreme. We let it drift out of sight but it is always on the horizon. DH looks at IF as something we battled and overcame. We have a children and we are happy. It's more difficult for me because I want more children, and I am perfectly capable of having more. MFI has made my husband feel different. And as much as I hate to say it, it has killed our sex life.

    IF totally changes everything, even after it's "fixed".

  7. All of my friends are still single, so it is very hard for them to understand what I'm feeling about infertility. A lot of them just say to be patient and I know they mean well, but the just don't know what we are dealing with. I feel that I am sharing less and less with them about this struggle in our lives.

  8. oh yeah, it's messy messy messy, isn't it?

    I find this particularly complicated because we didn't have standard IF, and we never TTC. But during our time of waiting and wanting, it was other properly IF ladies who were my big support. BUT... now they are ALL pregnant / have had kids. And we are the only ones who adopted. So it feels to me like they have finished with that bit of their lives, whereas having an adoptive family makes things different forever. It's tricky. They were such intense friendships, and I really miss them - but if I was in the same situation again, i'd probably be more careful about opening up THAT much. I think. Hmmmmm.

  9. Darling friend, I know you will find what you're looking for - whatever it is that makes you happy, whole, complete again; even finding just one thought to make you feel slightly better. And with all the love I can muster when I say this: rather than a label for yourself which to me is not all that self-serving, it's an experience that you've had, a part of a piece of the rich tapestry of a personal life lived, which doesn't always turn out fair or painfree. Has the IF journey awoken a deep need for connection that you didn't have before, or are you struggling with the pain of the IF journey? Are these one and the same issue? Just asking as I've been thinking of your post all morning.

  10. Let's see...

    I don't trust my body.
    I am never truly happy when someone gets pregnant...unless they had to try really really hard.
    I believe that everyone should know how lucky they are, so I tell them.
    Sex is no longer fun...I really need to work on that. It was a chore for so long that I can't get my groove back!


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