I have been giving a lot of thought to infertility and support for those struggling to conceive lately. Probably a lot more than I should, honestly. Part of this thinking was brought on by the continual debate on whether or not we should tell Robert’s parents that we are trying to have a baby. Originally he wanted it to be a surprise to them, but as it’s gone on and on, and they keep stepping in it and upsetting me with commentary that they don’t know upsets me and subjects that are sensitive, we’ve been rethinking this stance. Ultimately, we still decided not to say anything to them, because we think it would only spur many “how’s it going” “any news yet” conversations that we’d rather not have. And weighing out how many times we see them in a given year vs. how many times they’d text/call/whatever with those questions, we decided that it was probably less stressful to deal with them occasionally and unknowingly putting their foot in their mouths.
Over the holidays, partly because of Robert’s parents and partly because of who we were going to have to be around celebrating the holidays with his parents, I’ve been giving a lot of thought into my own support network as I struggle through this. My mom is fantastic. She never asks how it is going, but always listens when I’m upset. She’s even told me that she doesn’t want to ask and put pressure on me, but doesn’t want me to think she doesn’t care. Robert does the best he can. He consoles me when I’m upset. He tries to keep me grounded. But the truth is that his mind and mine just work in vastly different ways and we just don’t think the same way. His default device for dealing with any problem is logic. Only problems of the heart can’t be solved with logic. He does the best he can, but sometimes he just doesn’t understand.
So that brings me to thinking about how I have outside of my most intimate circle to talk to about all of these feelings and emotions. I’m pretty open with most people about what is going on, but I often also leave out the most intimate parts of my overwhelming sadness or the deepest truths behind how hard this has been for me and the toll it has taken on me. Not many people know that almost every month I crash and burn as I have yet another negative pregnancy test. I curl up in bed or on the couch and simply weep because I don’t know what else to do. Eventually I pull myself back up, but it’s a little harder each time.
Which actually brings me to why I came here today to write a post.
You see, I have this friend who is also going through her own infertility struggles. She’s been dealing with it a little longer than I have, and unlike me, has a known cause for her infertility. Nonetheless, she’s gone through a lot of the same things I have both treatment wise and emotionally. One would think that this would make a good partner or person to share with and talk to about these struggles. But unfortunately, I think her emotional plate is just so filled up with her own struggles that she doesn’t have room to think about anyone else’s. And that’s fine. I totally get that. And I try to respect it. I don’t push. If I reach out and she never responds, I just assume that she doesn’t want to talk about it and move on.
But because one of our social circles overlaps, a circle which can be used as a great support network when needed, I constantly feel like I’m walking on ice and have to limit what I can share or seek comfort or advice on, so as not to be insensitive to her feelings and emotions. Except in the process I’m hurting myself by removing the same network of support that she has open to her – and it feels a little unfair.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and why I feel like I can’t fully share in this venue. I often feel guilty saying anything about my struggles because I question how that information will affect her. And when push comes to shove, the truth of the matter is that I often get the feeling (even though I don’t think it’s intentional) that she feels that my infertility struggles are lesser than hers. Despite the fact that I’ve been trying for fourteen months, and we don’t know why I’m not able to conceive, I feel like somehow she views my infertility as simply not as significant as her infertility. And, to be honest, to know that I try to hard not to make comments that would upset her, and basically turn off an entire support network in this very difficult time for me, yet offer support and hear everything she is going through, well, it’s frustrating and hurtful. It’s quite possible that I’m being oversensitive about it, or reading too much into her commentary or behavior. But it doesn’t feel that way at times.
I fully understand that she has some infertility struggles that make it exceedingly difficult for her. But that doesn’t mean it’s any easier for me to take a monthly pregnancy test, only to find out I’m still not pregnant. It doesn’t make the fact that my last round of blood work show that I didn’t have enough “hormones for a viable pregnancy” after having gotten a positive test any less heartbreaking. It doesn’t mean that I don’t question what I’m doing wrong and what is so wrong with me that I can’t get pregnant on almost a daily basis for the past fourteen months.
The truth of the matter is that infertility is hard. Full stop. There are no qualifiers for it. There is no “mine is harder, because of xyz”. Infertility is a struggle and heartbreaking for every single person who experiences it. Everyone affected has the right to express those frustrations and seek support because it’s a soul crushing experience. As a person who is a bit of a control freak, perfectionist and doesn’t handle failure very well, this experience has been exceptionally difficult for me. I’ve often questioned if I have the ability to keep trying, know that inevitably, in 28 days, I’m going to end up inconsolable and curled up in my bed, with Robert petting my hair assuring me that everything is going to be okay.
Ultimately, I have made the decision that it is perfectly okay for me to share my struggles and seek support when I need it. I understand that, maybe, this decision will mean that I might end up distancing myself from this friend – which I do not want to do, and would sadden me greatly – but after much thought, I have decided that is a much better alternative than sitting here feeling both alone and bitter with more emotions than one person should be allowed to even have because I have put this one way restraint upon myself.
With that said, I’m sure that I’ll have another update or two shortly and I’ll probably be open to sharing a little more about what is going on. I go to the doctor today to determine if we can start another round of the Letrozole. If so, I think she wants to try an IUI this cycle. One step and one day at a time.