In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Infertility Update: The Raw Emotions of it All

The time is approaching.  I’m almost to the end of my month.  Soon, very soon, I will know if our IUI resulted in a pregnancy.   I will probably give an update on the blog with the results.   I am certain that if the answer is no, I will not want to share my feelings about that particular answer any time soon.  For that reason, I thought that now would be a good time to write about the raw emotions that infertility can bring.  Hopefully it will bring insight to those who have never had to walk this journey, and those walking this journey can hopefully relate. 

I have probably spent the last decade not feeling much of anything.  I’ve kind of had the mentality that life is life….suck it up and deal with it.  My husband even jokes with me in saying that I am the man in the marriage when it comes to feelings… in, I don’t have any.  Can I just say that journeying through infertility has brought up more than enough emotions to make up for the last decade of not having any.  I can’t remember the last time that I have cried the way that I have cried these last few months.  And I certainly can’t remember the last time I have let myself hurt the way that I have hurt these last few months.

Before I begin, let me remind you that these are my feelings, and everyone’s feelings are different.  These are just my emotions in a typical month.  I hope this post is helpful for some.

In a given month I FEEL………

Driven – For me, the month usually begins without any feelings at all.  I try not to think too much about the end results and just focus on what I need to do to get the end result that I so desperately want.

Hormonal –Thanks to hormonal medications I may, out of the blue cry for hours, feel depressed or want to shout and scream for no apparent reason.  I remind myself that it’s not how I really feel….it’s just how the meds occasionally make me feel.

Hopeful – I call the first half of the month the good part of the cycle, because there is still hope. Hope that everything will work out the way I want it to.  Hope that my body will do what it needs to do.  Hope that I will see two pink lines at the end of the month.  Hope that God will “hear my cry and answer it.”  I admit that hope fades with each month of disappointment. I tend to go into the month thinking that the less hope I have, the less it will hurt if we don’t get pregnant.  The truth is that it hurts the same regardless of how much or how little hope I have.

Anxious – I usually feel very anxious as I get to the end of the two week wait.  I know that by this point in the month, I have done all that I could have possibly done and that I have no control over the end result.  Even so, I can’t help but have some anxiety and even a little worry as testing time approaches.

Disappointed – If the end of the month went as I hoped it would, I would feel nothing but joy, excitement and relief.  Unfortunately, I’ve only had to deal with a whole other mix of emotions at the end of each month.  Disappointment is a feeling that I know all too well.  If I could describe infertility with two words, disappointment would be one of them.  To me, putting my body through everything that I have put it through, and then still getting a negative pregnancy test, is quite possibly the most disappointing feeling I’ve ever had in my life.

Defeated – I kind of go into each month like I’m going into battle.  I take on this personal enemy of mine called infertility with one goal in mind….to conquer it.  And then, the test comes back negative, and I feel like anyone else would feel if they just lost a battle.  I feel defeated.

Frustrated – Again, if I could describe infertility in two words, this would be the first word that comes to mind.  I find nothing more frustrating than trying so hard for something while having absolutely no control over the end results!  I find nothing more frustrating than committing such great amounts of my time, energy and resources into trying to get pregnant, only to have it end in failure and have to start all over the next month!  I find nothing more frustrating than feeling like my body is broken!  I find nothing more frustrating than knowing that, as a woman, my body was designed by my Creator to bear children, yet my body won’t do what it was designed to do! 

Angry – I try to not let myself feel this too much, and for the most part I am successful.  I will admit at times, it does show itself.  I think my anger is sometimes directed at myself or even at God for allowing the circumstance.  In reality, I’m not angry with myself or even God.  I’m usually just angry at the actual circumstance and the fact that I have absolutely no control over it.

Exhausted – As the month ends, I am exhausted.  Once a test has confirmed that the month was unsuccessful in producing a pregnancy, I feel like I don’t know if I can do it all over again.  I’ll be honest; I’m tired of trying to get pregnant.  I’m tired of going through the same thing each month.  Many people think that trying to get pregnant is all fun and games, but for us it is WORK! 

Hurt - Above all else, I feel hurt.  Hurt that my plans are not His plans, and hurt that I don’t understand His plans.  For the most part the hurt is short-lived.  It’s not like I walk around all day with a sad face on, saying “WOE IS ME”.  I live my life like normal, and if I weren’t so vocal on my blog about our circumstances, I really doubt that anyone in my real life would even know about the hurt. I have had to learn that it is ok to hurt.  I usually allow myself a day or two to cry and sulk, before picking the pieces back up and starting all over again the next month. I allow myself to take some alone time and not feel bad about needing that alone time.   I think that a lot of people can look at women who struggle with infertility and confuse their hurt for other things like jealousy or bitterness.  Take last month for example.  The day we found out I wasn’t pregnant was the same day that we had plans to go to a Sunday school outing with several other couples our age.  I’ll be quite honest with you; I just couldn’t go that night.  I couldn’t handle being around pregnant women or other couples talking about their growing families on that particular night.  It just hurt too bad to be around that sort of thing when we had just gotten such disappointing news.  We certainly didn’t announce that as our reason for not going to the outing.  Unless someone from my class is reading this blog post right now, no one would even know about it.  That also means that no one came to me and said that I was an awful person for not going for that particular reason.  My point is that someone from the outside looking in could easily confuse my hurt with bitterness.  Hurting doesn’t mean that I am jealous of other pregnant couples or bitter that we are not pregnant.  I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone, and I am so happy that others get to experience motherhood without any difficulty.  It also doesn’t mean that people who are pregnant should be sensitive around people like me who have such difficulty getting pregnant.  Pregnant women should be able to share their good news and talk about the exciting things that are going on in their life.  However, I think that fertile women need to not be upset to know that most infertile women can’t help but feel a little hurt when they hear someone announcing a pregnancy…..or when they see a FB status showing “my baby’s progress at so many weeks” or “my baby is the size of a certain fruit”.  And I think that infertile women need to not let themselves feel guilty for feeling this way.  Don’t misunderstand me.  Fertile women should keep doing those things like normal, but infertile women should not feel guilty about feeling those feelings like NORMAL! It doesn’t make you an awful person.  IT IS NORMAL!  It just means that sometimes someone else’s good news, that we are of course happy they are experiencing, can also bring to remembrance of our not so good news, leaving a hurtful feeling inside that only lasts for a moment.  If we allow the hurt to lead to bitterness, it can destroy us….but I also believe that if we don’t allow ourselves to hurt than that too can be harmful to us.

Guilt - I try really hard to not feel this, and I’m getting much better at it.   I think that sometimes we, as Christians, can look at verses like “rejoice in the Lord always”, “in everything give thanks” and “all things work together for good” and feel as though we have to repent for feeling the above emotions that I mentioned.  Can I just say that I don’t think that it is wrong to feel hurt….or wrong to feel any of the emotions that I mentioned above for that matter! God created the human body to have emotions.  He created hurt, and He is allowing me to walk through the hurt for reasons that at this time I cannnot understand. I think of people in the Bible like Hannah who wept over her barrenness….or people like David who wept over the loss of his son.  One would not look at those Biblical accounts and say that they should have been overjoyed with their circumstance.  So then why do we sometimes feel guilty because we are not overjoyed with our circumstances?  If we let the emotions that I have mentioned above take over our life, it can obviously become a problem.  But to feel guilty for feeling those emotions is to me just making the situation worse.  I also think that we can feel guilty because in comparison to other problems in the world, infertility is minor.  I know I have thought to myself that there are so many bigger things going on in the world, so why should I bother God with my tiny little problem?  My hurt may be small in comparison to others, but I serve a God who cares for both the big and the small.  I had to remind myself that my God even “cares about the sparrows”.  Hurt is hurt, and He cares about my hurt.  No matter how small my hurt seems to the rest of world, He desires to comfort me and carry me through it… I shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling it.

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