The other day when I wrote this, I had a lump in my throat and tears just about at the surface. These feelings are super raw and uncomfortable. I know they are not the best thoughts to have, they don’t represent the best in me…but I feel I need to acknowledge that they are there and share them. I don’t want to ignore them. I feel like I ignored them the last time we did a treatment. As you read this…please bear with me, this post is a little darker than most I do, but I don’t want to think about rosier topics just yet either…I feel like I need to sit with these feelings, no matter how ugly they are, so that I can move past them.
I am afraid of failure. I am afraid of getting excited and being blindly hopeful and then failing. If things don’t work with the upcoming transfer, I am afraid of the hurt on the other side. I want to protect myself and remember that the odds are slim for success and that I have failed before. Despite all this fear, I am still willing to risk the pain and grief, because I know that there is hope and it might work.
As much as I want to protect myself, I also desperately want to protect those who are on this ride with me. I am afraid another failure will hurt others.
There is my husband…when I am in pain, he is in pain. Sometimes he knows what to do, but other times I can see he is lost. I hate it when he feels lost. As much as I want to protect him, I know I can’t…this is as much his journey as it is mine. He signed up for this with me, he is there for every step…so deep down I sort of feel less concern for him because he is a part of me and this is his story too.
With my mother, I desperately want to protect her from more pain, but I also want to give her hope. I know it pains her to watch me struggle with infertility the way she did 30 years ago. When I talk to her about it, I can see that the pain of infertility rears its ugly head… and it’s not just through me but others in her life too (co-workers, friends). There is also the pain I know she carries with regard to her separation from my father late last year. There is a lot of confusion, vulnerability and feelings of embarrassment when your partner leaves after 40 years of marriage and tells everyone their gay. She is a strong woman, but she doesn’t deserve to go through any of this. She deals with everything like a true warrior, but I know every day she is working through so much angst and confusion already. I am excited that I can give her the hope of a grandchild and a happier future. On the flip side, I hate the idea of her getting excited and then experiencing the crash on the other side with me. Like my husband, I know that when I am in pain, my mom is in pain too.
I also want to protect the couple who are giving us their embryos. It might seem strange, but we know the couple who is donating their embryos to us. We were introduced through mutual friends and are now in the process of building a relationship with them. They see their frozen embryos as a child for us already. They have beautiful twin daughters from an IVF treatment six years ago. For some reason I tell myself that they have forgotten how much it hurts to fail…even though I know they did before their daughters came along. I am afraid that I will be the one that fails them and reminds them of the pain. I fear that my ugly thoughts will stand in the way of implantation – self sabotage. How can I do that to them? I know that our pain, will be their pain.
I also want to protect my friends. Some of my supportive circle has walked with me through all my pain for almost four years. I hate that I think everyone feels sorry for me. I love that everyone gets excited and hopeful at the thought that our baby dreams might come true. But how can I possibly let them all down again? It is so embarrassing every time. It was so easy for them…they planned and executed. They all have several little ones running around now and I am still at square one. It feels like everyone else in the class graduated, but I can’t pass kindergarten *sigh*.
Then there is the rest of our family…my dad and brother and my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and my father-in-law and his wife. They are a little more removed, mainly by distance…but I know they hold their breath and hope when we tell them we are trying again, especially with it being something new. I hate that they see us struggle. I know they feel our hurt too.
The reality is that I don’t want anyone to see me struggle – physically or emotionally. And this thought isn’t just with infertility…it is with everything in my life, all my life. It hurts my ego to be flailing around and feeling like a spectacle on display. I am competitive and failing is losing. But then there is this other thought that popped into my head the other day…I think my ego feeds off people’s sympathy in some sick narcissistic way. My infertility story sometimes gets all the attention and empathy of others and I think my ego likes the attention. My life was pretty ordinary, now it isn’t…I get to go to special doctors, try different treatments than most, and I get to take special drugs. It’s crazy….I don’t want to experience any of it, but on the other hand my ego is like some sick psychopathic killer that thrives off of failure. Maybe my biggest problem isn’t my fear of failure…but my ego…perhaps it’s standing in my way to motherhood?