I’ve been quiet lately and my only excuse is that I have been away from home this last week and trying to stay away from the computer. I rarely looked at the time or a calendar while I was away, so getting back in the swing of things this week is going to be tough and the week will feel long.
For the last 8 years, my husband and I (and for the last 3 years my daughter, too) have gone and spent a week at my parents house over the Thanksgiving holiday. My daughter gets to spend most of her time with her grandma and my husband and I spend quality time with my dad hunting.
This marked my second year hunting where I shot a deer. Although this gave me an adrenaline rush and made me very excited, my biggest joy came from seeing how excited my dad was for me and how happy he looked in that moment. I cherish this time with my dad more then anything and I feel so blessed to have been given another year to spend doing something we both love doing, together.
What I also love about the experience is that I enjoy the solitude that the woods bring me. It’s so peaceful, although at times pretty cold! I spent many hours sitting in the woods and listening to the sounds of nature. I saw a handful of deer, I saw two fishers, two owls flew over my head and landed very close to where I was sitting this year, and I also was entertained by the many birds and squirrels. It felt like a detox to all the stress that has been building inside me this past year. It’s amazing how “quiet” time can be true medicine to the soul.
Although, now that I’m back home I must say that I quickly fell back into my routine and that means looking at the time and a calendar again. Sadly, looking at the calendar brought me much grief as I realize we are going on 28 months of trying for peanut #2. As much enjoyment is to be found in the holidays, I have to be honest and say that the holidays are hard. Although I am surrounded by so much to be thankful for and I know I am blessed in so many different ways, I also can’t ignore the grief inside my heart. I also shouldn’t have to ignore it. The pain associated with not being able to get pregnant is just too much to handle at times.
-I feel pain seeing my daughter playing with her cousins because it reminds me that at the end of their time together she will be going home alone, while her cousins will be going home together.
-I feel pain when I am asked if I am going to give E a sibling soon because it reminds me that I have been trying everything under the moon to make that happen and it’s not coming easy for us.
-I feel pain when a friend calls and said their IUI worked on their first try, and although I am very happy for them it just reminds me that four of our IUI’s failed this year.
-I feel pain when E asks me if I have a baby in my belly because it reminds me that she wants this as badly as we do and seeing the look of disappointment on her face when I tell her no reminds me that this affects her life too.
-I feel pain when I got home and looked into our spare bedroom because it reminds me of how I feel: Empty and Alone. It also reminds me of how a nursery should be in its place.
-I feel pain when I hang out with my sisters because it reminds me of how lucky I was to grow up with siblings and E may never be blessed with a sibling relationship and grow up with another person who came from where she did.
-I feel pain when my husband and I are intimate because every single time it reminds me of what isn’t happening.
-I feel pain when my husband and I talk about doing IVF because it reminds me that we don’t have the money to go this route, a route that could be the answer to our prayers.
-I feel pain when my period arrives because it reminds me that my body has failed me once again.
-I feel pain getting into my Traverse and looking in the rear view mirror and seeing all of the empty seats, besides one, because it reminds me that those seats should be full.
-I feel pain when everyone around me is pregnant because it reminds me of what isn’t happening for me and gives memories of my own pregnancy.
-I feel pain knowing that Christmas is right around the corner because just 4 short years ago we were announcing to family that we were pregnant with E.
-I feel pain when a memory pops up from when E was a baby because it reminds me of what I may never get to experience again.
I may never get to experience this again. Never. Not to mention, infertility is robbing me of so many things, the list is infinite. It’s really just a hard pill to swallow folks. From the bottom of my heart I mean no offense to anyone reading this. My heart is just so heavy and I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders right now. I also feel like I just am not mentally or emotionally well right now because of what infertility is doing to me.
Grief is a real bitch and this really is a silent struggle. Except for a few people in my life who are going through this too, I am not asked how I am doing or how I can be supported through this. I am learning it’s okay to not be okay 100% of the time and I am allowed to feel this pain…and the pain listed above is only a glimmer of the pain I feel on a day to day basis.
I also am choosing to not be quiet about my struggle and am an open book when it comes to talking about it. Nothing has been easy for me this past year. It’s been a very rough road to walk down and I can’t even believe I am on this road half the time. However, I am here…and I am doing the best I can every single day feeling the way I feel-many days just not wanting to even get out of bed or even wanting to leave my house.
Somehow, I muster up the strength every day to face this. So, all I ask is for you to cut me a little slack, given all I am going through-especially over the holidays which are hard in and of themselves!
With that said, here is an article I found written by someone else that has walked in my shoes. This article really touched me and it was nice to hear these words from someone else. Often times my biggest fear is saying the wrong thing or offending someone else that just doesn’t get my pain. I know it’s happened, but honestly I can’t worry about others expectations of me right now. This article made me cry because I felt like FINALLY SOMEONE GETS IT and expressed words that have been just sitting in my heart, but haven’t found their way out yet. I wanted to share it with you in case you too, have been searching for something like this to relate to. You may feel alone like I have been feeling alone lately-but you are not. I am not.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay This Thanksgiving
Hey there sweet friend,
Have you ever googled “Thankful for infertility“? I have. And all of the articles at the top of my search were written by women who had reached the other side. They were the ones no longer in the trenches and throes of infertility. The ones who have had their adoptions finalized. The ones who have given birth to healthy babies. The ones who have had their dreams fulfilled, no longer pouring every last penny into medicine and doctor appointments. And they were the ones no longer gasping for air from the deep heartache of a miscarriage or a failed adoption.
Given the fact they were living on the other side, I believe it was easier for them to look back and be thankful for all that infertility had taught them. They could see through the eyes of grace how it strengthened their marriage, renewed their faith, and brought them blessings in disguise. They could see how their journey through their miscarriage made them stronger and braver. They could see how everything that went wrong, helped make all things right. And they could see all of this because they were on the mountain top looking down.
But you– the one still fighting for your dream. The one whose heart is still painfully aching from a miscarriage. The one who just discovered another treatment cycle has failed. And the one who is hanging onto hope by a thread. I am writing this article for you. Because I want you to know that this Thanksgiving, as you carve the turkey, pass the stuffing and put way too much whip cream on your pumpkin pie, it’s okay if you are struggling to be thankful.
Sure, you can name one thing or even several things…your home, your job, your spouse, or even the food in which you are about to partake…but the one joy you thought or hoped you were going to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday, you can’t mention. And maybe it is because you have recently learned that the miracle that once filled your womb isn’t going to fill your arms. Or the plans you made in order to make this year different, have failed. And failed miserably. Or maybe it’s because the dreams you believed were coming true, have instead turned into a nightmare.
And my heart aches for you. Because I get it. I understand. I even understand the pressure you are under to still be joyful and thankful for all that still remains. And I understand the guilt you feel when you can’t and the shame you have when you aren’t, even though you know you should be. You know you live an abundant life, but it’s just so hard to see it right now. And so this guilt and this shame on top of all of this heartache? It just makes the stress of the holiday much more difficult to bear. And it makes you feel like a horrible person, am I right? But friend, as you venture into Thanksgiving this week, I want to tell you something from my heart to yours: It’s okay.
It’s okay if you are unable to fight back the tears as you gather around the table to give thanks.
It’s okay if you can’t see how your miscarriage could ever be woven into some master plan of good.
It’s okay to be sad…even outraged…that your life isn’t going according to plan.
It’s okay if you need to lock yourself in the bathroom and cry when the emotions become too overwhelming, the thoughts become too painful, and the heartache you have becomes too strong.
It’s okay to be angry and confused at the unfairness infertility brings.
It’s okay if you don’t sweep your emotions underneath the kitchen rug you are standing on while you peel the potatoes, but rather open up and tell your family how your womb aches. Your heart hurts. And the hope you have is fading.
And it’s okay to shake your fist to the heavens and tell God exactly how you feel. Not holding anything back.
It’s okay to question why your plans are not good enough or the timing isn’t right.
It’s okay to be mad that you have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours at the doctor’s office just to be given a chance to have what seems to come so naturally and easily to others.
And it’s okay to hurt, to cry, and to still feel disappointed even though others think you should have moved on by now.
It’s okay to tell your Aunt Judy with grace that it’s not really her place to ask when you are going to have children.
It’s okay if while grocery shopping for thanksgiving dinner you see a pregnant woman in the same aisle as you and you need to turn your head. Even move to another part of the store. Or wipe away a tear.
It’s okay if you decline the invitation to hold your cousins baby or walk away from a conversation about motherhood.
It’s okay if you decide to cook a meal for just you and your spouse…forgoing the traditional family affair.
Friend, basically I want you to know it’s okay to not be okay this Thanksgiving.
So give yourself the gift of grace. Because you are not a horrible person. You are a normal human being with normal emotions after experiencing loss and constant disappointment and heartache. Even the most perfect person has occasional trouble seeing the joy through the pain. So, sweet friend, don’t beat yourself up or kick yourself down. Just do the best you can and try to remember through the holiday season that it won’t always be this hard, or this overwhelming, or this stressful. Because just like the women in the articles wrote, night always turns to dawn. Seasons always change. And the valley you are in today might be the one you are looking down on tomorrow. But until that time comes, just know that it’s okay to not always be okay even if it is Thanksgiving.