Work has been ridiculously busy for the last few weeks so not only have I not been able to update you on how it all went with educating my friends, I’ve also not managed to keep up to date with all your news so sorry…I have a few days off now so will attempt to rectify.
So, after finding out my friends were not quite as enlightened on how I’m feeling lately as I (or they) thought I decided I should email them all to help them to understand. Thank you everyone for your feedback on sources to help me with this, but most of all thank you to The Unexpected Trip. I borrowed very heavily from your blog posts and I really think they helped.
Below is what I wrote to my friends:
Now the fog of grief is starting to clear I thought I should send you an email to just explain a bit about how I’m feeling and why I’m behaving crazy right now. I know you all know (and are very supportive), but I also know it can be a bit confusing sometimes and difficult to understand some aspects. I’ve been trying to write this for a few days and started off with a ridiculously long message that no one has time to read (be warned: this ain’t going to be short either!) but then I came across this from an infertility leaflet that kind of hit the nail on the head:
You may describe me this way: obsessed, moody, helpless, depressed, envious, too serious, obnoxious, aggressive, antagonistic, and cynical. These aren’t very admirable traits; no wonder your understanding of my infertility is difficult. I prefer to describe me this way: confused, rushed and impatient, afraid, isolated and alone, guilty and ashamed, angry, sad and hopeless, and unsettled.
The support I have from Twitter is brilliant. It immediately puts me in contact with over 600 people all feeling the same as me. The downside to this is that I have become used to not having to explain myself. I’ve got used to people understanding exactly what I mean in 140 characters. They understand that when I have a crazy feeling or a flash of anger/resentment it’s not how I feel all the time but just in that moment, and that it will fade as quickly as it came – and usually leaves me feeling very ashamed.
As a result I have been less likely to talk to you guys openly about how I feel as it takes so long and frankly is a bummer. We don’t see enough of each other as it is and the last thing you want is to sit with sobbing me all night….and I don’t want to be sobbing all night. I spend enough time like that, I want to be able to enjoy myself when I see you guys. I already feel like I go on about it all too much– it seems like the only thing I have to talk about these days and its boring.
You’ve all been brilliant at supporting me and being there for me but I think you were surprised by my rawness at the spa. This is why DH and I don’t usually see people for at least a month after our cycle!! I know I seem so resentful and bitter and mean. But please, please do not think these emotions are directed at you. They are not, even if it may feel that way sometimes – even if I actually direct them at you!! I am raging. But I’m raging at the world. I would not wish any part of this on anyone, least of all my lovely friends. I want you all to have wonderful happy families or add to the ones you already have. I don’t want this to happen to you….I just don’t want it to happen to me!! And I’m f***ing furious and sad and just totally broken hearted that it has. 33 ‘natural’ negative tests, plus 3 IVF negatives takes its toll. And this time has been even worse as now I have to start the whole process again, and pay thousands of pounds for the privilege.
A couple of you have asked if it is normal for me to feel this way. To be this consumed by my emotions surrounding this journey. The answer is 100 percent yes. You won’t believe it but I’m often congratulated on twitter/blogs on how positive and brave I am for continuing to engage with the world: for being able to hold my new niece; for still socialising with friends and family. This s**t is tough and many don’t manage that.
The other thing I wanted to help you understand is the sense of loss we both feel after each cycle. Someone said to me after our second cycle “well, at least you haven’t had a miscarriage”…and no I haven’t had a miscarriage and am well aware that the awful physical side of that is so terrible, as is obviously the mental. But even so, I have had life inside of me. Life that we have worked f**king hard to make with drugs and tests and scans– 52 doctors appointments to be precise, in most of which I have to take my knickers off. As well as the acupuncture and diet changes and no drinking and yoga and qigong and visualisation and a million other crazy things I’m not even going to admit to.
And finally it resulted in me + DH = our embryo and it was inside of me. It may just be a clump of cells, but it’s our clump of cells and it may be the closest we ever get to a baby. And then it died. And then I had to go through the whole awful process of drugs and scans and tests again. And again. And still no baby. Still an empty womb and empty arms. Again and again I have to file away my ultra sound pictures of my embies, and find a way to get up in the morning and carry on. I can’t find the words to explain this to you, but one of my brilliant blogger friends has:
“the woman has dreamed of becoming a mother. She has imagined pregnancy, giving birth, and raising her child. She has seen herself on one path—the path of family, where she ends up in a house full of noise and life—but she has been forced down another, quieter, darker path, again and again and again. In both cases (miscarriage or IVF failure), the imagined child, the child who lives in her heart, is ripped out of her heart. That imagined child is so real! And no less real if it never had a heartbeat. And no less real if never had any cells at all. In both cases, the woman is not allowed to progress through the stages of her life in the way that she yearns to. She is arrested in one phase of human development—and must contemplate the reality that she might have to stay there permanently. Positive test or negative, menstrual period or miscarriage—both lead to the same state of childlessness that can feel torturous.” For the full blog post see: How far along were you? It doesn’t matter and neither does a BFP
So no, I haven’t had a miscarriage but at 4am when I’m trying to stifle my sobs so as not to wake DH (he has to comfort me enough during the day) believe me, I have lost my babies – 4 in 9 months – and it is killing me. The desolation that I might never be a mother is all consuming: the guilt that I might deny DH the chance of being a father is crushing.
DH also feels every last emotion that I do – I think sometimes people assume its not as hard for him but it is. Everything I have written above he could have written.
My last request of you is to read this blog post (not mine!). It is truly beautiful and describes perfectly how I feel and hope it will help you to understand the difficulty I can have being around babies/pregnancy/families these days: Its not envy its absence
Love you guys xxx
I had an overwhelmingly lovely response from my girls, but this one I think was the sweetest:
Darling, I’m really glad you sent this to us all. It’s a perfect way to open our eyes (and our hearts) to some of what you’re feeling.
I know sometimes I / anyone will struggle with what and how to say stuff; the stuff I want you to feel and stuff I desperately wish you didn’t have to feel. Reading this helps put me in your space momentarily, and lets me see with your eyes.
Well done sending this babe, I think it’s brave – and that’s you J
Amazing you are, and don’t you forget it XxXx
Didn’t Mandela say ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. I think you’ve just made a massive step by educating us better and maybe that can start to change your own world, even if just a little. That really is amazing xx
Love you always
Big hearts and kisses XxXxXxXxXxX
I think there is so much underestimating in this journey – at first we ourselves underestimate how hard it will be, and others underestimate how hard it is all the way through. But I guess they can’t know if we don’t tell them.
PS sorry this post is so bloody long!