Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Emotional Fertility

I was reading this today.. and it hit me that many, many infertile blogs are private, or secret, or just plain not open to IRL family/friends. Mine is one of them. Absolutely no one in my 'real' life has the address to this blog, or even knows it exists. I'm ok with sharing my most private thoughts and feelings with strangers, but not with the people who know and care about me. I'm not entirely sure why, but I think that it's probably because I feel like most people who read a blog entirely about infertility, written by someone they don't know, are probably only interested because it's something that's affected their own life.. and a kindred spirit is not going to think I'm bitchy, or bitter or ungrateful because I have real feelings that aren't always pretty. And they're not going to treat me differently because of this, either. I don't necessarily trust my RL friends to understand that. I don't trust my family to understand that. Many days, I'm convinced that even B, who is right here in the trenches with me, doesn't understand. But I still need to vent these feelings. When I hold them inside, they fester, and they make me become that bitter, bitchy person that I'm worried others will perceive.. I'm more sensitive to the perceptions of others because, like, everyone knows we're having problems. (and sometimes, the pity is a bit much. I refuse to add to that by baring my soul).

I've said before that I'm really open about my infertility, which is true - to a point. I'm very open with the fact that we have fertility problems, I'll answer any questions about our treatment, testing or experiences.. but I can't seem to bring myself to discuss my feelings about any of that with anyone who actually knows my name. If I am directly questioned, generally, I sidestep the issue - because honestly, no one really wants to know. They care about me, but they're just not prepared to know how all this makes me feel. Rarely, I'll discuss it with someone who has a genuine need to understand the emotional side of infertility. Those discussions are hard, but I think they're important - recently I spent a while explaining to a friend why her infertile relative couldn't "just be happy" about a pregnancy announcement. It made me delve far deeper into my own feelings than I am usually comfortable with around friends.

Don't get me wrong - I want my loved ones to understand me and empathize. I wish I could talk about how I feel with them... but since most people can't understand without actually walking in these shoes, they react with pity, whispering like I have a terminal disease, or - worse yet - avoiding me like infertility is somehow contagious. It makes for awkward moments, especially when it comes to big life-changing announcements that other people don't want to share with me.*

I think I am ready to share my feelings with the world, but since the world isn't ready for me yet, I'll just keep them here.


DD said...

The strangest thing I have found when I've discussed our treatments or my miscarriage is the number of women who have gone through something similar but I never knew. Why is it we DON'T discuss this particular kind of problem? Do women somehow carry the kind of embarrassment that men feel with ED?

Some clinics are finally getting on board and having IF advocates (former/current patients) to contact if one is new to IF. I wish it was just that easy to "come out", but too many times we get the stupid comments and advice that make us wish we had never said anything at all.

ms. c said...

OMG, I so understand what you have written here. I understand what you are feeling, I really do. It's pretty simple to share the facts (going for a blood test, taking medication x), but so so hard to explain why each day thoughts of being infertile swim uncontrollably through our minds. If is one of those things that if you haven't gone through it, you just couldn't possibly fathom. I find this particularly difficult when talking to people who aren't ready to have a family yet. I feel that I couldn't possibly open up to them because they just won't get what the "big deal" is about not having children now.
Thanks for your comment on my blog. It actually made me giggle. I believe there is an other urban ledgend out there- the one about fertiles actually understanding how emotinally draining our struggle is.