Saturday, February 23, 2019

My Other Sister

I swear my family likes me. I promise you they're good people and they love me and I love them. But damn do they suck at understanding anything related to infertility.

As I make progress in my recovery, I take more risks in talking honestly about my reality. I was talking on the phone to my oldest sister last night and she asked how I was doing. I said pretty well but admitted that I had been feeling sad lately. She asked why and I said infertility and she said, "Why are you still sad about that?" And I said, "Because this is the time period when I was going through IVF. Because infertility is a lifelong loss. Because I didn't get to raise my children." She said, "Oh."

If it only could have ended there... But it didn't.

My sister started telling me about her grown son who lives nearby whom she hasn't seen in a month. She said, "You're lucky you don't have kids. Children are a blessing and a curse. Just remember that."

So of course I told her, "You are lucky you got to have a kid. Children are a blessing and a curse. Just remember that."

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Forgiving Myself

I've been crying more than usual lately. I haven't been feeling my best, and I've just been overall a little sad. January, February, and March have always seemed hard since I quit fertility treatments. This is the time period that I was going through IVF. This three-month period has felt pretty melancholy for the past five years now.

But I was getting mad at myself. Why was I crying so often?
Was I ever going to stop crying about this topic??

I didn't realize how mad I was until I realized that I forgave myself.
I forgave myself for being emotional and, after being reminded to do so by a friend, I extended grace to myself, allowing myself to feel everything I was feeling without judgment.

Life can be HARD.

Yes, I worked my mind, spirit, and butt off to come up with a life that I wanted to live and then I did everything I had to do in order to make it happen and now it's here.

But I still continue to be freaking exhausted.
But I'm also really happy.

I'm finishing up my final step so I can start my new career and I'll be able to start looking for a job soon. I'm meeting new people and going to new places and doing new things. But the world is very, very fertile. So fully participating in life again comes at the cost of having to deal with reminders of what all I've lost. Simple conversations with great new friends can unexpectedly catch me off guard and hurt me deeply. I tuck my pain away in a safe place to process later when I am alone. Hence, the recent uptick in crying...

I forgive myself for still being sad. I allow myself to continue to grieve.

I'm proud of myself for putting myself out there, for getting involved and interacting with the rest of the world again.

I'm also giving myself permission to cry. It's a lot to deal with; it's a lot to process. There are so many layers to living without children after infertility.

I was mad at myself, but I'm not anymore. What initially looked like regression to me is actually progress. It's a new chapter in my life and I am forging ahead.

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Power of Acknowledgement

I think what was so meaningful for me about my sister's apology was that it contained a hint of acknowledgement, which reminded me of this brilliant video about grief and loss.

I just rewatched it and was reminded of its powerful messages.

  • You cannot talk someone out of their pain.
  • Acknowledgement is the best medicine.
  • Acknowledgement makes things better when they can't be made right.

The video describes how trying to cheer a person up can make them feel like they have to defend their feelings. It states how giving unsolicited advice can make a person feel misunderstood. 

Plus, the animation in it is just perfect. 

Happy viewing. 💜

Monday, February 4, 2019

My Sister Apologized

One of my most popular posts is about my sister being really inconsiderate and mean to me. She made many hurtful comments during my darkest years, not knowing how deeply she was cutting me with her words. We grew up very close, but I had to keep her at arm's length for several years. Unfortunately, I think maintaining safe distances is something that a lot of women dealing with infertility have to do.

What all she said hurt. It hurt so bad. It made me question who she was anymore, to say such mean and nasty things to me. Here was my sister who was completely obsessed with her own child, almost her whole being seemed to be wrapped up in being my niece's mother, and she could not empathize with my pain of not having children. It didn't make sense to me. Really, not much did make sense to me at the time.

I told myself that she did not intend to hurt me. Although she was being mean, my sister is not evil. I think there is definitely a difference. I knew that she loved me and that I loved her, but I didn't know if we would ever be close again. I sensed that she was sad and confused, but I had no energy at the time to explain anything to her. I had to protect my raw, grieving self.

I suppose it should've come as no surprise to me that my sister was going through some stressful stuff over the years. It's her business so I'm not sharing here (typical life stuff, nothing dramatic or movie-worthy), but a metaphorical dam broke when she called me crying on Thanksgiving and shared what she had been dealing with.

But what else she said was very interesting. She said that she had already talked to our mother, our other sister, and her best friend. She said she had learned a lot just by telling people what she was going through. She told me that everyone asked her so many questions about what she was going to do and gave her so much unsolicited advice. She said I just listened. She said I didn't stress her out further when she shared with me. She said, I am not even kidding, "Whenever you were going through your stuff, I never meant to hurt you but now I know I did. I don't know what all I said, but I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry."

Wow. Even now, months later, I still get feelings when I think about it.

I told her thank you. I told her thank you very much, that she did hurt me many times, but that I always tried to reassure myself by reminding myself that she loved me and did not mean to hurt me. She and I don't really want to go back and rehash together all that was said, but I did tell her that I really appreciated her apology.

My sister apologized.
Maybe my "miracle baby" never came, but miracles are still happening all around me.