When an experience literally changes your life it’s difficult to put the ensuing emotions into words, to translate just how fundamentally your world has altered. Trying to untangle those emotions and make sense of them drove me to begin this blog. It’s been hugely helpful to see how others put into words the ideas that are sometimes just beyond my grasp. When words capture the essence of what I’m feeling, I can address it. I can take another step forward. That happened today.
On another infertility blog I read the following:
“Losing a baby is something you can revisit…you are always trying again, trying to erase the sadness and failure. It’s the hope that in the end a pregnancy will succeed, that forces you on. The point does come when we begin to grasp, even without foreknowledge of the future,that our efforts are likely to be in vain. It takes an incredible strength to accept that fact and stop reliving the same experience.”
It does take incredible strength. With infertility we are forced to revisit our losses many times over. The reminders of what might have been are everywhere, every day. This post made me consider the coping strategies I rely on: I close my door when the office talk turns to cheerful pregnancy banter, decline invitations to events centered around children, and spend time with other couples who do not have children.
In our child-centric society, the world does nothing to acknowledge or accommodate ‘infertiles.’ No it’s up to us have to accommodate the fertile world. We are forced to adapt, to try to fit in whether it’s uncomfortable or not. In the middle of a large business meeting yesterday, a note was handed to a senior exec. He interrupted the discussion to announce the birth of a new baby born to a colleague. I couldn’t help but wonder … would they have stopped the meeting to announce the negative outcome of my last IVF round?
While the vast majority of society is quick to apply significant emotional support to parents who deliver or bury a child, they dismiss the experiences of ‘infertiles’ and the loss of their much sought after children. It’s as though if there was no actual birth certificate the babies-to-be didn’t count.
And as I grow older I learn that the revisiting of our loss doesn’t just come in the form of baby showers, announcements and nursing moms, they also come in the stories of dance recitals, little league games, high school honor rolls, first dates graduations…
When the embryologist told us our embryos were among the best looking she’d ever seen, Grade 1, I joked with my better half that, of course, they’ll be Rhode Scholars. The dreams I had tied up in the printed ultrasound picture of our embryos were the same dreams that parents have for the children they tuck into bed each night.
But in our society dreams and aspirations for children-to-be, they don’t count. The logic seems to be if you didn’t change a diaper and nurse your child your loss, like your child, is imaginary. Pull up your socks, get over it, get a puppy, find a hobby, just stop thinking about it so much.
Those are just some of the messages society sends to those of who live with IVF losses. Oh how I wish it were that easy…