Saturday, November 21, 2009

Why I am open about my infertility journey

The short answer...because that is who I am. I am pretty much an open book. You can tell how I feel just by looking on my face. I wear my emotions like a giant mood ring. So if I am excited about a possible pregnancy or treatment or I am devastated by a recent loss...there is no hiding it and there is only so many excuses I can come up with that people are actually going to believe or that would not cause worse problems down the road.

The longer answer...you never know when you might meet someone that has all the answers you have been seeking or may give you a different way to look at things that you had not thought of before. A couple examples I have...

After my first miscarriage, I was out of work for a few weeks. I had told EVERYONE that I was pregnant. After 4 years of trying to get pregnant I finally had made it out of the hell hole I call IF. I thought I could put all that behind me like it was a bad nightmare. I remember walking with my mother into a store and we were talking about someone else who was going through the same thing. I was thinking "Phew that is not me anymore." (Little did I know the horror had just begun). Anyway, needless to say I was EXCITED! So of course then everyone had to find out that I lost the baby. This has never been a problem for me. I could no more keep my excitement about a pregnancy or devastation about a loss a secret then I could not breathe. Like I said, it is who I am and though sometimes, after going through this 4 times, I wish I had not spread the news, in the long run the support I receive is worth it.

So after my 1st miscarriage I went back to work and it was my first day. I was going up in the elevator and in walked someone that I could not stand! We never saw eye to eye and it seemed every time we spoke it ended in someone rolling there eyes, being sarcastic and walking away. So lets just say she was the LAST person I wanted to see!!! Here I am trying to psych myself into facing my friends and now I have to deal with someone I do not like on top of it. (Funny as it may seem I never thought about dealing with those people). I had my head down because I was trying to will the tears back in, telling myself I could make it through the day and I felt a hand come on my shoulder and I looked up and there she was with tears in her eyes, honest, sincere tears streaming down her face. She reached out and gave me one of the biggest hugs and said, " Hun, I am just so sorry you lost your baby. He or she knows how much you love them and I am sorry that not everyone will always get a chance to see that. My heart is broken for you and if you need anything please let me know."  It was one of the kindest words I have ever heard spoken to me following a miscarriage and it came from someone I was sure would care less. From that day on we were friends.

Another example...after my last miscarriage I decided to go get some highlights and low lights in my hair. I had never colored my hair or anything but I wanted a change. I wanted something that would make me feel good and take my mind off of things. So I went to the salon and I was there for 6 hrs. There was only 1 person there trying to do everyone that came in and it took FOREVER! Anyway, at one point an older lady was sitting next to me and we started talking. Some how I found myself spilling the story of the last 8 yrs of my life and why I was there getting my hair done.To which she told me of her story and the 3 losses she had and how she ended up adopting after 15 yrs  of trying, because they did not have the advances they had today. She was inspiring to me. She, a complete stranger, was kind, made me laugh, and also made me feel lucky that today I have many more options available to me. She made me realize that as insensitive and stupid sometimes people are that I was happy that I was in the year 2008, and that even though there is much more education on the subject that needs to be done, things are a lot better now.

I have many examples I could give of the unlikely places I have found support. The times I have been reassured that I am at the right RE because of all the people I have found that have used him and now have kids. Although, most of the time it feels lonely in this journey I have found by sharing my story there are many people that have been on this journey with me or before me. They have made it and so can I. I also have met people that may not have been on this journey but seem to know exactly the right thing to say which sometimes can make up for the ones that don't. So for me, even though there are downfalls to sharing some of these intimate details of my life, the rewards far out weight the risks. Plus, me being who I am could not hide it even if I wanted to, so it just makes it easier.

13 comments:

Barb said...

Beautiful! Wonderfully written! You should submit this for the Creme!

battynurse said...

I hear you. I am very open about it usually too and and for the most part I've met and connected with some amazing people because of my openness. Granted yes it sometimes is difficult to explain for the thousandth time that no one can "just adopt" but still worth it.

bir said...

I'm glad that you're open about it. And about finding support in the most unlikely places. Me too.
Recently it was my baby boy's first birthday, his first angelversary. We had a very special day planned including a butterfly release. When I went to pick up the butterflies from the post office they weren't there and the lady grumped at me to come back tomorrow. To keep a long story short, by the end of the two hours it took to find them we were both crying in the main street, as when she discovered that they were for my baby boy's memorial celebrations, she told me she knew how it felt as she had lost a 2 year old and a 7 year old at the same time.

Everyone has a story, and there are angels planted to support us, just everywhere!

x

Bluebird said...

I am so touched by the words of your coworker. I'm trying to commit them to memory in case I ever have the unfortunate opportunity to say them to someone myself :)

Kim said...

Hi, Michelle! It was great meeting you last weekend. Sorry it took so long to return your comment but I was down with the flu all week.

This is a wonderful post.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I'm seconding the call for the Creme. This is an amazing post, and it sums up so many of the reasons why I tell too.

JamieD said...

What a wonderful, thoughtful post. It ~is~ amazing the friends you find when you have the courage to share your journey. I remember the first person I told of my miscarriages, it almost felt like a 'confession.' Then I found out she had two miscarriages herself. I was shocked but immediately felt like I had found someone who really understood.

Lin said...

Found your post via Conceive This!

Such a wonderful post! It's actually very similar to a post that I've had swimming around in my head (but not yet written down) for quite awhile. I can completely relate to the first two paragraphs of this point...couldn't have said it any better! That is totally me, too!

Thanks for finding a way to put into words what I had been thinking, but not able to articulate!

Stacey said...

Great post, Michelle. It's so true that when we open up, we just never know who might step up to offer support or a hug or a kind word. So many times others have had their own stories of loss, and when I "go first" it allows them to feel comfortable enough to share. Sure, there have been times I've regretted being open about my struggle with certain people, but the benefits do outweigh the risks!

Sunny said...

There is something so freeing about being honest about IF. I kept it quiet during our treatment the first time, and it was difficult... but looking back I don't really regret it. The second time I was open, and it felt good -- it was the right decision this time around.

The fact is, there are positives and negatives to all ways of handling infertility. It's important that as much as we want our friends and family to understand and forgive us when we aren't ourselves due to IF issues, we also extend the same grace to them when they are trying to be supportive but end up inadvertantly spewing "assvice."

Sarang said...

This was a beautiful post.

The elevator post with your co-worker turned friend made me cry.

Thank you for sharing.

Lut C. said...

Popped in from the crème de la crème list.

I think I'm much your opposite, I'm a very private person and have kept our struggles mostly private. At a cost, that's for sure.

It's interesting to read about it from a the opposite angle.

Coffeegrl said...

I'm here from the creme de la creme. I'm with you - I can't really hide anything that well. And I sort of feel like the unexpected connections are a blessing. I love the story about the kindness that your co-worker showed you; what an amazing revelation.