Thursday, March 27, 2008

Food for thought

DH is away this week on business, so I am left with blessed silence to contemplate why a grown woman can't play Scrabulous for hours on end. And also, I've been thinking about how to start my play. So I've been reading a few more blogs than usual, so memories and emotions have been washing over me. You can accuse me of staying stuck in the miseries of infertility, but those emotions remind me of how connected we are in this world. Despite maybe not having anything in common at all except infertility, if we cannot empathize with one another, how can we develop our compassion? Behind the safety of anonymity in the world wide web, we reach out across borders and lifestyles hoping that somebody out there in the Ethernet gives a shit. A public Dear Diary. There is so much material out there that I want to include as many aspects of it as I can.

I often wonder if once you become pregnant, you forget all your previous TTC troubles. Surely it's more about moving forward and attending to the incredible situation at hand. I mean, you've got a life (or several) growing in you, who cares about the past sadness when you're sitting in tentative joy. I say tentative because as we all know, it's not just a matter of getting pregnant. It's about staying pregnant and delivering safely. Beta levels, fetal sacs, cramps, the story of what's that on my pantiliner now? When innocence is lost, nothing is taken for granted anymore.

Some women have/had friends who did indeed seem to forget what it's like to be in the trenches. Friendships are lost, misunderstandings abound. Some stop blogging as they adjust to their future as non-moms. Sometimes healing takes years. Others who adopt, have other challenges they have to adapt to. There's the whole adoption triad thing, waiting for all the papers to be signed so you can breathe a sigh of relief, the guilt, the negotiations, the social worker visits, etc. All these transitions, require quite a mental shift. NOW WHAT DO I DO?

Someone wrote about being mad at infertility and asked others to write about what they were pissed about. I actually left a comment because as I was reading, all these emotions came flooding back and all of a sudden I genuinely felt angry and wanted to lash out. Wow. I didn't wake up angry, but there it was. And I'm not even in the game anymore. But there are residual effects, aren't there? It's like herpes. It's the gift that likes to keep on giving and giving and giving. I could have written even a longer list of things that make me mad, but I would still be writing. I can't do anything about the past anymore, it's over, I did my time in therapy and even did some EMDR to get over a particularly nasty and emotional event. I'll keep that anger in the back of my heart and drag it out to fuel my creativity but it won't cause me numbing grief again.

I once had a theme called Million Dollar Baby that my business coach gave me. Well my acting career went in to the toilet as well as my maternity plans. And I guess that's what really got to me. I'd built up my career to a point where I was doing quite well and making a living and then - well to make a long story short - nothing. I had no millions and I had no baby. I lost my confidence, my drive, and I had to develop my notetaking business in order to pay my Visa bill. Not that I was above working a "joe" job, but taking notes is not exactly what I had spent years sacrificing for. I had no degree, no fulfilling career to keep me occupied. I seriously debated going back to school but I couldn't figure out what I could do that would give me a decent income before I got to retirement age. You know those commercials on TV for so and so college where you can be a dental hygienist or medical office assistant in 6 months, I actually considered that. So what if I did some medical office assistant stuff 10 years ago and I thought working for doctors sucked?! Then I could be surrounded by pregnant women all the time! I felt old, broken and yes, bitter. I couldn't even chant anymore. It seemed disconnected somehow. I felt on the verge of my dreams, and then - poof! Whether I had manifested it or not, I struggled to keep my head above water.

This time, last year, I was nursing the effects of the last IVF procedure. I had transferred my last 2 eggs and waited for whatever was going to happen, which was nothing. I was actually surprisingly calm about it. And then I fell apart. And once I pulled it together in a reasonable fashion, I just focused on breathing. Victory, that was good enough for me! My prayers weren't going to be answered in the way I wanted them to be or perhaps it was going to take longer than I had realized. In any case, I knew a negative result was not going to kill me, it just felt like it had. I was breathing but not quite there if you know what I mean. Pretty much like my husband. Not quite there. He was in far, faraway land called Stoner Land. You might have heard of it. I loved him, but I wasn't liking him so much. And apparently he was waiting for the 1995 version of me to show up. Huh. I think this part is going into the play. The NOW WHAT DO I DO, WHO ARE YOU, YOU RED-EYED, STONED, JOYLESS, DECIDELY UNFUCKABLE IN DENIAL LUMP ON THE COUCH WITH PIZZA ON THE COFFEE TABLE AND A LAPTOP HEATING UP YOUR USELESS UTERUS OR PENIS part.

This could be like Angels in America and be done in 2 parts. Maybe 3.


Anonymous said...

For me, my anger turned into lots of fear when I became pregnant. Fear that I would lose the pregnancy before each important landmark (end of the first trimester, etc.) I also was in denial that I would even get a baby in a way, though when I did think about it I felt like I'd finally been granted admission to a private club. People looked at my belly and treated me like a fertile person! I finally believed at the eight month mark, when I realized that yes, I was probably going to have a baby.

After she was born, I didn't bond right away. I secretly blamed the donor egg thing, but it wasn't that; it was exhaustion. I also lived in fear that something would happen to her and I used to have "rescue" dreams regularly. At some point in that first year, after lots of prayers that God would protect my little one, I let it go. And the infertility bitterness disappeared, I think because it wasn't necessary any longer. But it came back to bite me in the a$$ now that we are trying again and other people are dictating and controlling my life once more. And two failed FETs, requiring another $25,000 for a new donor cycle didn't help either.

But, I've decided if this doesn't work, that's it for me, given our ages. And that will be OK. And I will put those bad feelings back in a box and keep them in the back of my closet, taking them out only when I need to remember what it was like so that I can help some other stirrup queen along the path.

I think that leaving the bad feelings behind is a constructive thing, and it is not at all conscious. It happens with every loss, as we move on with our lives.

Shinejil said...

Wow. I wanted to write that you had "great material," but that term is somehow belittling to your feelings and experience. I'm really excited to see how you shape and craft this play.

It feels like you're on to something really compelling. Tell us more, when you can!

Guera! said...

Can't wait to check back for more.

Pamela T. said...

So much to feast on here. I'm glad you're not playing Scrabulous and instead sat down to write. You've been doing some serious thinking and with it triggering waves of memories and the emotions associated with them. Not surprisingly I find a great deal in common here. That's the way it is when we've shared such a powerful, life-altering experience and why we continue to seek each other out across the Internet. I can't tell you how many times I've been grateful to read a post, write my own, locate a new blog, and know that I'm not alone in this strange and at times very confusing place. I don't think I would have been able to go so deep in person. There's something about reading, absorbing, relating and writing that allows us to safely address that which is troubling us or helping us to become new and stronger individuals.

It's satisfying to see people grow and heal and then there are days when I wonder why I'm not growing and healing faster. There's definitely great material for a dramatic series. Keep working it!

One View said...

Wow there is so much I could touch on this post. My Dh was just telling me the other day how angry he was at infertility and what it took away from us, our marriage and what it did to me. IF changes us in so many ways and its a continual process of healing, discovering who we really are and accepting our reality (because nothing went the way we expected or planned at all). I can't wait to read more about your play.

Wordgirl said...

I am so excited for your creative work -- I like the idea that you are out there working on your work...and I've been thinking about it too...there's so much in this community to learn from isn't there? Sometimes the sheer humanity of it all is boggling -- but you're right -- what is this all about, if not connection?

I do think about what it takes to maintain connections throughout this process -- as it shifts and changes at different points for different people -- it takes a willingness really on both parties to embrace a bit of their own uncomfortability and fear I think in many ways, don't you? I think it is an incredible vulnerability for both -- to open your heart to the success of others when you might be experiencing failures -- and to open yourself to the failures when you are experiencing success and joy, albeit tentatively -- because you want to be in a joyful, hopeful is a thorny thing isn't it?

I find that I'm mostly angry at infertility for being one more effing thing I have to work at. (Laughing). No, but really...I mean, Dear God It's Me Wordgirl -- do I really have to do this to?

And I understand about the career/focus/energy thing -- I feel like I have poured so much energy into this fertility project that my writing has suffered...and to find my balance again is really challenging.

And the pain, the pain of it all -- when you want to breathe through it and be there... but it is just so hard.

I LOVED Angels in cool a model would that be.

I'm at the beginning of this big project too -- this novel and I've just kind of worked the edges of it and your mind worries over it for a while until you find this little crack to open up -- and then it splits open and the creativity flows....

hooray! Here's to creative projects and living in our hearts!