Sunday, July 5, 2009

Putting Other People At Ease

You may remember my last post in which I wrote about telling my new-found therapist that my next IVF would likely be my last - and quickly following that up with "and I'm okay with that." I was shocked to hear those words come out of my mouth, didn't know where they came from, and didn't know how I really felt about them, even.

Lorza left a very insightful, particularly true, comment:

Sometimes I think our ending comments like your "I am okay with it" are our attempts to put OTHER people at ease. Even subconsiously. It have become our nature to help others feel at ease with our suffering. I am so sorry you have been through so much.

I think this comment goes right to the heart of the matter, actually. In the last seven years of the ups and downs of living in this world of infertility, I've spent a lot of time tiptoeing around other people's comfort levels in approaching me. Some people are downright brazen and out of line in how they have approached me over the years. Others spent years just plain avoiding me. Some people avoided me until I had the triplets, and then came out of the woodwork. Like having children was the antidote to infertility, and now I was not a leper any longer. (Some still haven't come out of the woodwork at all yet)

But for those who are somewhere in the middle? I find myself either avoiding the topic alltogether (my usual response) or doing whatever I can to put them at ease - and usually, yes, that means ensuring that they know "I'm okay with it."

When I met my therapist for the first time, I knew that the one thing I needed was for her to not focus on the infertility thing - that 5,000 pound elephant in the room. I needed her to know that infertility was not the driving force sending me to her - and I knew that infertility is such a huge red flag, particularly since I was telling her that I was actively pursuing IVF. It would have been easy for her to have assumed that infertility was the foremost issue causing me stress. Frankly, it's astounding that it's not my biggest issue. I think by saying "I'm okay with it," I was trying to do just what Lorza suggested - put her at ease, and also make it clear that it isn't that big a deal.

And who am I kidding?

This sucks. All of it. I'm so tired of all of this. I mean, I'm still not sorry that I've at least stalled on having the shrinkadoo go down that road, because I really do have bigger fish to fry, but sooner or later I'm going to have to face this. IVF#3 is around the corner, and when it fails, I'm out of options, and I'll have to deal with that one way or another. I'm just... not ready to go there yet. Maybe I needed to put myself at ease, too.

But then there was the rest of Lorza's comment... "I am so sorry you have been through so much."

It's funny because I don't ever really think of myself has having been through "so much." After all, I'm sitting here doing this from an enviable position. I *have* children already. And to get those children, I never had to pull out the big guns. Five rounds of Clomid, 6 Follistim/IUIs, 1 miscarriage, and voila! Triplets. It sounds positively easy compared to what so many of my fellow infertile myrtle friends have been through. Sure, it's not a couple cocktails, soft music, and candles... but it could have been worse, right? Except that goes completely contrary to my own philosophy on the burden of infertility - I don't believe you have to have pulled out "the big guns" of IVF in order to have felt the strain and suffering of infertility; I don't believe you have to diminish your own trials just because there's always someone else who's been through more than you. I do my best not to play the pain olympics trap that so many fall into, however understandably.

And this time around? Why shouldn't I feel the stress this time around? Truthfully, I've never really given myself permission to bitch about this round of treatments. I've got a really blessed life; I have a beautiful family, and I have a great deal of guilt about seeking to expand it, despite knowing that my family isn't yet complete. I feel guilty if I feel stress through these rounds of treatments, guilty if I can't hold my head up high in the face of cancellation or failure, guilty if I'm not 100% happy with the status quo all of the time.

Someday, probably not today, I'll have to deal with all of this. For now, I suppose it's simply progress that I'm acknowledging it all.





Okay, seriously, people - you had to know it was a dangerous thing to let me into therapy, right? Didn't you know you'd end up with all this froo-froo, introspective, self-indulgent whinging?

Of course you did! Welcome to my world. Imagine how my poor husband feels. And poor Barren - that poor woman gets endless emails filled with self-pitying ridiculousness from me every. single. day. Even I'm sick of me by now. I can't believe she hasn't just started hitting the delete button by now. Gawd. Feel free to pull me off your readers anytime now. Seriously.

5 comments:

battynurse said...

I think many people try to put others at ease, especially women. It's like drawing attention to ourselves which we're not supposed to do right? I hope the therapy can help with all of the stresses in your life.

Mimi said...

i want to thank you for writing again. been visiting your blog everyday.

your last post, i am sure it speaks the mind of many infertile female who have always make others feel comfortable in order to make them feel at ease with infertile people.

Gabby said...

it makes me so sad when i hear that you feel guilt about expanding your family. when we have a kid, I will want that kid to have older or younger siblings. and not by like minutes...

so, why can't you want that, too? you can! of course you can!

if you decide to deal with that issue in therapy, it might be good to think about the guilt.. (if you want, of course).. because believing that you *deserve* what you *want* and knowing that your desires are reasonable is a big part of loving yourself. and your future baby wants you to love yourself unconditionally, so get ready for him or her!

also - maybe because you read the blogs and read about those of us that haven't had our children YET.. you get emotionally involved (which is what makes you a beautiful person) and that might make you feel guilty

wow, now i sound like a therapist.. please accept my apologies, i am not trying to tell you i know how you feel, because i clearly don't.. and we all have so much going on and not just one or two things.. but just wanted to say that..

(hugs)

Lori said...

Infertility sucks. Just because you were lucky enough to have 3 children doesn't make your current journey through IVF any less real or easy. Bitch all you want.

Having had a successful pregnancy doesn't automatically make you ok with infertility. Just because that pregnancy resulted in 3 babies doesn't make your family complete. It annoys me when people think it does.

I can only relate through my own experience. I do not feel like our family is complete. I think years down the road we are going to look back and wish we could have found a way to have another child. Unless we win the lottery quickly I will never get the one last IVF cycle I want. At age 41 there just isn't any time to save up money and we can't justify going in to debt again for IVF. I've been very emotional about this lately.

Whenever anyone assumes we are done having kids because we have triplets, I agree with them. In the back of my mind I really don't agree but it is just easier to answer that way.

barrenisthenewblack said...

I will never delete. Never.
I think you were recently telling me to stop trying to be low maintenance. In a similar vein, stop trying to put people at ease! Their discomfort is not your problem, and frankly, as my grammie said, it can be good to be outside your comfort zone. Consider it a favor:)