Saturday, February 25, 2017

My Infertility is Inconvenient for My Mother

I am pissed.

I don't understand what is so hard for my mother to understand.

Last night she asked if I was ever going to hang out with my cousin and his wife who just had a baby. I barely know these people. Yes, I went to their wedding last year, but I've seen my cousin two or three times in the last ten years. They live far away in another state. I wish them well and I'm happy for them, but, no, that is not a relationship I'm going to cultivate at this time. I told my mother, "No, not any time soon."

Then she said, "Well, I lost my mother, but I still hang out with other people who have their mothers."

Are you kidding me?? That's not even the same thing at all. And that's what I told her.

I said, "The two situations are not even comparable. You had your mother in your life and you have lots of happy memories with her. She lived a full life and died in her 80s which is quite normal."

I continued, "I am feeling judged right now. You think it's sad that I don't want to go hang out with some cousins? Well, that doesn't even compare to the sadness of losing my children so I don't even care. I will continue to take care of myself and do what I need to do."


I wish I hadn't, but I woke up this morning still mad at about it. I wish I was better at letting things go. I texted my best friend, who has heard a lot about my mother over the years, and told her my mom said some insensitive stuff last night but that's to be expected. She replied, "That's a great way to view her."

I want my mother in my life, and I choose to have my mother in my life. But, damn, it is hard a lot of the times.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Skipping Parties

Fifteen years ago I would have never skipped a friend's party.
But times have changed and so have the parties.

Last weekend one of my best friends from high school had a 1st birthday party for her second child and I was invited. I didn't go. I love this friend and she has been more compassionate and understanding than most, but I can't say the same about her friends. When I went to her first child's 1st birthday party, every conversation basically went as follows.

     Me: Hi, I'm Phoenix.

     Other Person: Hi, I'm Myrtle. How do you know Awesome Friend? We work together/have play
     dates together/went to prenatal yoga together/are in the neighborhood moms group together.

     Me: Oh, I've known Awesome Friend since we were 17. Isn't she the best?

     Other Person: Yes! So which kid is yours?

     Me: Oh, I don't have kids.

     Awkward silence... (Because there's absolutely nothing else to talk about in life, am I right?)

     Other Person: Well, I'm going to get another drink/slice of cake/check in with my husband.

So, despite my love for my friend I just couldn't muster the energy or interest to go to the birthday party. Instead of feeling bad or repeatedly questioning myself if I was making the right decision, I just decided and went on with my day. That is definite progress on my part.

The more I take care of myself, putting my feelings and considerations first, the easier it gets.

And guess what? The world doesn't end when I skip these parties.

In fact, better things continue to fill the space. Like last weekend for example. One of my husband's friends from college ended up coming in to town so we met up with him for several hours and it was a lot of fun. I would've missed that had I gone to the party where I would have inevitably been left standing by myself.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

I Do Not Miss TTC

I do not miss trying to conceive.
That was my first thought when I woke up this morning.

I do not miss charting my cycle. I do not miss taking my temperature every morning. I do not miss trying to time sex. I do not miss recording when we had sex.

I do not miss observing potential signs of pregnancy. (My boobs are extra sore. Does that mean something??)

I do not miss trying to analyze my cervical fluid. (Honestly, I could barely stand to even write that sentence down just now.)

I do not miss questioning everything I eat or drink. (Is sushi okay? Can I have a third beer even though I'm in my two week wait? Am I eating too much sugar? Am I consuming too much dairy? Am I not eating enough leafy greens? Is it okay to have a second cup of coffee?)

I do not miss taking 15 - 20 different vitamins and supplements every day. I do not miss worrying if I am exercising too much or exercising too little.

I do not miss reading TTC boards on the internet. I do not miss reading books that tell me how to conceive. I do not miss people's unhelpful, often hurtful comments and advice when they knew we were trying.

I do not miss going to doctor's appointments. I do not miss having ultrasounds. I do not miss getting my blood drawn. I do not miss injections. I do not miss wondering if bed rest is best or if I should resume normal activity.

I do not miss feeling jealous of every pregnant belly I see in the grocery store. I do not miss wondering how everyone else seemed to succeed while I was repeatedly failing. I do not miss getting my hopes up every time I ovulate. I do not miss crying every time I get my period.

That was a long, lonely, and depressing four years.
I do not miss trying to conceive. At. All.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Keep Going

What's that saying? When you're going through shit, keep going...

I am really not loving my current reality. I feel like a teenager writing this, but I really hate school. It's too bad. I've always liked school in the past. But this program... It's very disorganized and demanding, and none of the assignments are clear. I am mad that it is killing the spirit of my classmates. Everyone came in very enthusiastic and excited, but that is all gone now. Luckily, we are a special class and we all really care about each other so we will get through this together.

It's just personally annoying because I feel like I already "wasted" so much time with infertility and failed treatments with nothing to show for it. And now I am in this program, working hard and desperately waiting for graduation in a couple of years. By the end of it all, I will have spent seven years not really enjoying my life and that saddens me.

Of course, I am thankful for the opportunity to go back to school. I am thankful I had the opportunity to try fertility treatments. I am thankful for a whole lot. And I look forward to the little things too. A good meal. Laughing with friends. Hanging out with my dog.

It's just... I'm no spring chicken. And here I am, working toward a future that is still several years away.

I'm just very, very tired.

But I will keep going.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Felt Supported Yesterday

Yesterday I felt supported, and it felt good.

First, I went to my second counseling session with the counselor that works at my school. Dang, did I get lucky. She is good!! I have no idea what her political views are and whether or not she has children because she is able to put it all aside and just listen to me. I mean, that's what any professional should do but it's easier said than done. She provided me validation and, my favorite, put things into words that I had been previously unable to do.

I told her I wanted to keep working hard on my recovery because I want to go into pediatrics after I graduate. So I will need to be able to deal with parents and all of their parenting comments. I don't feel raw like I did two years ago, but I'm still wounded. I might always be, I might not. But I feel confident that I can get to a place where I can serve children and their families, because I freaking love kids!! Kids and I are drawn to each other, but I will save that for another post another day... :)

Our session ran over a little bit which made me late for class, but I didn't care. My mental health is more important than the first 10 minutes of a class lecture. However, my friends in class jokingly gave me a hard time for being late. Most of them have a long commute to school, but I live extremely close. So they thought I had just overslept or something. I told them, haha, no I was in counseling downstairs. I saw a brief look of surprise go across all of their eyes and then they all just smiled and said oh okay, cool. My one friend who actually knows about my infertility (the young guy with the baby) asked how it went and I said really good. He said great. He is a total dude, but he really has a sensitive side to him too. (Not saying guys can't be sensitive. Of course they can. Just saying he's a pretty cool guy and he's going to be great in our future profession.)

I don't mind telling people I'm going to the counselor. I think my classmates were surprised because I'm always the one laughing and cracking jokes in class. But I've dealt with depression my whole life and I always try to say comments to destigmatize getting help. In fact, one of my friends (she's 22- the age difference between me and my new school friends will never not crack me up) asked me about the counseling services after class, saying she was thinking about going. I told her the counselor was great and I was going to see her again next month. I mean, we get 12 free sessions a year and counseling is expensive. Why not go if you need it?

After class, I went up to my professor to apologize for my tardiness. She said it was okay and that she was glad I said something to her. I continued, sharing that I was downstairs in counseling and that it shouldn't happen again. She then said, "Oh, well, if you were in counseling it is definitely okay. I'm so glad you are taking advantage of that service." I told her thank you, that I was glad it was offered, that I have an issue outside of school that I'm dealing with, and that the counselor is very nice. Then she said, "Well, if you need any additional support, let me know. I am here."

Wow. It really touched me. I thought her response was just so nice and caring. <3

Yesterday was so good!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Got on my Soapbox for a Class Presentation, haha!

Yesterday I had to give a presentation in class. It was over one of the many neurodegenerative diseases: risk factors, signs & symptoms, treatment, etc. I'm having a hard time getting into this semester, so I didn't prepare what I was going to say. The only thing I planned was I planned on winging it. I had the factual information already documented in my presentation, and I figured I would just go over the facts with my classmates.

But before I knew what was coming out of my mouth, I got on my (professional-sounding) soapbox. I told my classmates that once we graduate and are out in the field working with our patients that we need to be mindful of what we say to them. I said our future patients will be dealing with life-altering traumas and we need to respect that. I said they will have friends check on them for a week or two, or a month or two, but after that everyone goes on with their own lives. I said our patients may be lonely, bored, sad, and frustrated. I told my class that it is imperative that we always consider the mental health of our patient, that many of them will get depressed.

Then, without planning to, I said the big thing. I said, "And please, never tell a patient that 'Everything happens for a reason.' That's simply not true. Some things just happen. And they are really, really bad. Please avoid telling them meaningless platitudes at all costs."

I paused for a moment to let that resonate and I noticed a couple of classmates nodding their heads. Then I figured I better get back to the facts and figures of my presentation so I did and wrapped it up. Afterwards, three different people told me they really appreciated my additional comments.

If I stopped even just one person from saying that insensitive phrase in the future, then yesterday's deviation from my presentation was worth it.

Thursday, February 2, 2017


It's so nice to have friends again.

Infertility was devastating enough, but to feel like I was losing the majority of my friendships took it to another level. I was so hurt, sad, and lonely.

I understand that, when going through infertility, friendships with people who have children will change. They just don't get it and it's not really their fault. They are busy with play dates and birthday parties, and I just wasn't on their radar screen anymore. But it still hurt.

There was one friend, a very very close friend. I went to her baby shower. I went to her kid's birthday parties from age one to five. I confided in her during my IVFs. She knew, or I thought she knew, how important her kid was to me. I was looking forward to her kid's sixth birthday, bought a couple of presents and everything. Then I saw pictures of the birthday party on social media. I wasn't invited. Because I wasn't a mom. Crushed was an understatement. My husband stays pretty rational in these situations and, although he's not one to talk and talk and overanalyze with me, he indulged me a bit on this one. He said that while my friend cares about me, she just doesn't think about me. It would be different if I had a kid. It would probably even be different if we lived closer. (We live almost an hour apart.) He's probably right. But it still hurt. So, instead of mailing the birthday presents, I used the toys and games I had bought with the underprivileged elementary school students I was volunteering with. That was probably better anyway. Those kids got to enjoy some brand new things, and I got to enjoy it all with them.

So, of course things changed between me and my friends with children.

What I really didn't expect was for things to change between me and my friends without children. Two of my longtime best friends weren't trying for kids. You'd think they would be good friends to have, right? I did anyway. But they could not relate to me and my intense desire to get pregnant and have a baby. The texts became fewer, we saw each other less and less, and the distance grew. I honestly still don't fully understand it.

But overall, I'm not surprised that every relationship in my life has changed. You don't go through trauma and emerge the same person. The best takeaway I have from my experience with infertility is better boundaries. So maybe it was time for some of my friendships to come to an end. I couldn't be who I'd always been for those people because I wasn't that same person anymore.

No longer having these significant friendships left a lot of empty space in my life, empty space that I was not rushing to fill. Good, healthy friendships take time and I was okay with that. Besides, my counselor mentioned I was about to go back to school and meet a lot of new people. Thankfully, she was right. I have made several new friends in this program and I am really loving it. In fact, it is probably my favorite part of the program: my new friendships.

My husband and I like to go out for a couple of drinks and some dinner on Friday nights. We spend a lot of time together and are always caught up on each other's life, so we don't mind if we text other people while we are hanging out. I was texting a lot this past Friday. Joking around with one new friend from school. Talking about assignments and projects with a couple of others. I looked up and told him, "I'm so happy I have friends again." He just laughed and said, "I noticed."

I am such a social person, though I am much more introverted now when before I was a total extrovert. It was so hard to go through that major transition in friendships, but that's life. That's how it goes. I'm glad I didn't get bitter and I'm glad I've met some new people and we all make each other laugh so much.

Who knows what the future holds. I plan on relocating after graduation and I don't know anyone where I am planning to go. But I will get a job and I have interests and hobbies and will eventually meet people. Life is unpredictable. And it's much more fun with friends. :)