PLEASE NOTE: If you are struggling with infertility or are currently trying to conceive and you DON'T want to read about my pregnancy (which I totally understand), I recommend starting at the beginning of the blog (March 2010) and reading from there. I find out I'm pregnant in June 2011 so there is a lot of trying to conceive posts in between that you might find funny, helpful or relatable. Wishing you all the luck in the world!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Confessions of an Infertile

When talking to friends, family or pretty much anyone on the subject on my fertility issues, I sometimes feel like my answers are ones I would give if I were being interviewed on Oprah. They are well-written responses that have been given careful thought in what I want to convey. It would go something like this:
OPRAH: You’ve been trying to get pregnant for two years with no success. Do you ever think ‘Why me?’
ME: That’s an excellent question Oprah! Sure, there have been moments where it’s frustrating but the more I’ve dealt with this, the more I realize that there is no logic to it. It’s an issue many women struggle with and the only thing to do is to think positive and move forward. Incidentally, can you loan me $10,000?
It’s not that the above answer is bullshit (especially not the part about asking Oprah for money) but if I really said what I’m thinking and feeling on the subject of my infertility (which changes on an hourly basis some days), people would think I’m either insane, a bitch, selfish, masochistic or an occasional saint. The saint part would be on my good days when I would say such things as, “I’m happy for absolutely everyone who is blessed with a baby! Who cares if they are in an unhealthy relationship and broke! A baby only needs love!

This reminds me of something that happened this past week. I had just gotten a saline sonogram. My new doctor wanted to check things out before even discussing a third IVF and that made total sense to me. The sonogram went well (although I still think they should throw in a pedicure to make it more bearable) and I was given the all clear: no polyps or fibroids. Just a uterus. A lonely, empty uterus. Perhaps I should put a sign in there that says, “Space Available For Rent”.

I was standing at the nearby subway station waiting for the downtown train leaking saline (I felt like a water balloon), when I saw a homeless woman sitting cross legged on the subway station floor holding a sign. It said, “Seven months pregnant and homeless”. I don’t know what shocked me more: That at that moment, I was jealous of a homeless woman simply because she was pregnant or that I seriously considered asking her if I could have her baby when she gave birth. It’s a good thing the A train arrived when it did as it saved me from both an awkward conversation and dripping saline water on her cardboard sign.

That night, I had a therapy session and we were talking about IVF 3, the last two years, and how I was feeling. Obviously, with my therapist, I tend to be more honest with her than I would be with Oprah. Also, when it comes to therapy, it’s her that’s usually asking me for the $10,000. Mental health doesn’t come cheap these days. Who am I kidding? Nothing comes cheap these days.

For whatever reason, something just snapped in me when talking to my therapist this particular session. Out of nowhere, I said something that I often think, that I know isn’t logical or accurate but how I feel. I never like to say it out loud but it’s there. It’s in my head every time I see a pregnant woman, every doctor's appointment I have and pretty much every time I talk to anyone about my fertility issues. I said out loud, “I’m a failure as a woman.”

Again, I know this isn’t true. Not having children doesn’t REALLY make you any less of a woman unless you let it. You’re still a person. You still can be sexy, or maternal or well, a woman. It's just that despite my boobs and cellulite, it doesn’t feel that way all the time.

This mini-incident made me think about all the things that are in my head that I don’t say either because I judge myself for it, because I know it’s not nice, because I’m embarrassed or because I don’t like to admit them to myself. However, after saying my horrible little statement to my therapist, it inspired me to make a list of things I think and feel that are what I consider my dirty little secrets. I want to share them with you as I’m hoping putting them down on paper (or more accurately, on Blogger) will help set me free. They are:

~ Sometimes, I’m really not all that happy for people when they are pregnant. Sometimes I truly am... but yeah... sometimes, not so much.

~ I’ve hated the last two Christmas’s. Aside from the fact that it’s all about family and gifts for kids, it reminds me that even a virgin can get pregnant while I can’t.

~ I wake up almost every night at 3am and think, “It’s never going to happen for me."

~ I still have crushes on attractive male celebrities (no matter the age). Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Pattinson and Ryan Reynolds... I'm looking in your direction.

~ I listen to Aretha Franklin & Mary J. Blige and pretend I can sing like them (Yes, there is a African-American Fertile Soul Singer in me dying to come out).

~ When I see pregnant women, I get so jealous of them that I hate myself for it.

~ I feel guilty for even thinking the previous statement.

~ I’ve started to avoid good friends who have children simply because they don’t understand what I’m going through.

~ I’ve considered moonlighting as a phone sex operator to make extra cash. I voted it down as my husband would hate that and I wouldn't want to get an ear infection or anything.

~ I could eat cheese for every meal. Cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, brie, etc. Every. Meal.

~ I swing back and forth between blaming my husband and blaming myself for being childless.

~ I hate, yes, HATE, any celebrity who is pregnant regardless of whatever issues they’ve had. They have money, they are attractive, and they could have a baby any way they want: surrogate, 100 IVF’s, adoption or a time-share kid if they so choose.

~ I can’t even watch commercials having to do with diapers, pregnancy tests, baby products, or toys.

~ The mere existence of babies and children at restaurants depress me.

~ Sometimes it feels like I am doing my best to act “normal” almost 75% of the time these days.

~ Songs that used to inspire me before past fertility treatments (JUST HAVEN’T MET YOU YET by Michael Buble or NOBODY IS GOING TO RAIN ON MY PARADE by Barbra Streisand), I now can’t even listen to as they are associated with failed cycles.

~ I ask myself ‘Why me?’ more often than I can count.

~ I know I should like I LOVE LUCY, THE HONEYMOONERS and SEINFELD but I just don't.

~ I feel like I’m being punished.

~ Sometimes it scares me how angry I get at the entire world.

~ I hate what I look like naked.

~ I’m mad at myself for not majoring in something more lucrative.

~ I always wake up with the thought and hope that I will stay strong and positive and some days, I fail miserably.

It’s important to remember that feelings are not facts. It’s also important to remember that I don’t feel these things all the time every day but they do float in my subconscious and perhaps admitting them to myself, you, friends, my therapist and Oprah (if I ever meet her someday) will put them out on the table where I can see them. Having them in front of me, I can address them and say, “It’s ok to feel these things. Having these feelings doesn’t make them true and it doesn’t make me a bad person.”

I think I just need to get to a point where I acknowledge that I’m human and I sometimes think shitty thoughts. Thinking shitty thoughts and acting on them are two different things. I’m not a failure. I know in my heart I’m not… I just still feel like one more often than not some days. It’s like a mental arm wrestle and sometimes one side is stronger than the other.

To try to make this post somewhat positive (which is not easy after a list of evil, negative thoughts), I guess I’d have to say that admitting we’re not perfect and admitting that we don’t always have a positive attitude makes us strong. It’s like what they say about being courageous: It’s not that you’re not afraid. It’s that you ARE afraid but you face whatever it is anyway.

With me, to admit that I’m not perfect, that I don’t always have my act together is being honest and vulnerable. There’s courage in that, isn’t there? There's GOT to be. I mean, how is it courageous to say, “I’m practically perfect in every way and I love everyone at all times!” That’s not strong. That’s fucking Mary Poppins.

In many of the comments I’ve gotten on the blog, people have often said they’ve appreciated my humor and my honesty. Continuing to be honest with you and myself is the only way to get through all this. I guess it’s just that it takes a while for all the ugly truth to come out. It comes out one negative thought at a time. It almost leaks out… much like the saline water after my sonogram.

53 comments:

Jen said...

Dude. I've seen that "homeless" woman with the sign. She used to hang out on 14th St - SIX YEARS AGO! I recently started seeing her again in 42nd St. subway station. NOT PREGNANT. (It might be a different person, but I doubt it.)

But, I'm glad it got you to such a cathartic place. (((hugs)))

Alex said...

I love this post. Because we all have those thoughts, and feelings, and fears, and you are one of the few that have the cajones to let it all out there. Thank you so much for sharing!

And I've wanted to go up to the homeless, or teenage, or unmarried (take your pick, I'm incredibly judgmental at times) pregnant woman and offered to raise their baby too. I wonder how those conversations would go...

Mrs. M said...

You and I share many of the similar thoughts. Thank you for being honest and letting me know that I'm not alone.

foxinthehenhouse said...

Yup. Pretty much what I think and feel also. Except I DO like Seinfeld. ;) But I hate Everybody Loves Raymond. Which makes the title FALSE.

jill's infertility document said...

This is a really great post. Thank you for the reminder that feelings are not facts, sometimes it is easy to confuse the two. Letting those dark thoughts out in words on a page, or to a therapist, or just to ourselves is a way of seeing them as feelings, like,"hello darkness my old friend..."

I have often seriously considered asking Oprah for money to pay for treatment. Can you imagine an audience full of infertiles? "Look under your seat!"

Jay said...

Thank you so much!

@Jen - That's TOO funny. I wonder if it is the same woman. She had the sign covering her stomach so it was hard to tell.

@foxinthehenhouse - I actually hate Everybody Loves Raymond too so you're right. The title definitely isn't true!

@jill'sinfertilitydocument - THAT would be one FABULOUS episode of Oprah! It would either have to be money under our seats or babies! "You get a baby! And YOU get a baby!" LOL!

NV said...

You go girl! I literally LOL when I read how you feel at Christmas. I have had the same thought :)

Do you mind if I steal your blog topic and list my feelings? I bet you feel so much better just getting them out and sharing with someone. And I am sure I would too. This whole IF thing really blows and about 75% of the time I am also just trying to act "normal."

Good luck to you sweetie. My fingers (and toes) are crossed for you.

Jay said...

@NV - Of course not! Go for it! Please let me know when you do and I'll check it out. You can email me at the2weewait@gmail.com :)

marilyn said...

man!!! you are in my head!!! seriously...you are not alone with many of these feelings. I often feel this way..I do not say it out loud and you know..if feels good to read them and to name it.
Thank you for this post. Your honesty and humor is such a gift:)

A Shadow of My Former Self said...

I can relate to so many of those points but I think this is the first time I've identified them as "non facts" about me. They are fleeting thoughts and there's nothing I can do about them. Thank you for a great post!

Secret Sloper said...

I saw that chick on Monday! I think at 42nd street. I found myself wondering, a) if she was even pregnant and b) what an adhesive baby she must have to make it to 7 months without any prenatal care. I'm a b!tch.

I think we've all felt this way, one time or another. (Well, not about the RPattz crush. You can keep him. I'll take Chuck Bass). But I seriously thought I was going to get a reputation in the neighborhood last summer as the Belly Glarer, when every third woman I passed was abundantly pregnant and wearing a jersey dress. I was full of anger and rage. It was so hard to deal with.

badweather said...

REALLY longtime lurker, and yet again you nailed it. I read with awe your wit and wisdom, your eloquence and experience. I just love your writing.

Unknowingly, you've seen me through so much: the point where we realised it wasn't just taking a while, but we had fertility issues; through fertility doctor referrals and way too many tests; through clomid cycles galore. You've seen me through an ectopic pregnancy, which was the result of an IUI (pretty much coincided with your Rudy episode).

And today, after I had a first coffee with someone who I met in an online ectopic support group - and we discussed how it doesn't make us a bad person even if we have bad feelings, you post on this. Thank you for so very, very much. You're amazing.

Willow said...

I've felt many of these things too. The "not a real woman" one is the worst and, since I needed donor eggs, I sometimes still feel that even though I'm finally pregnant. Luckily, not that often, since my body's doing its thing like it should, even though I didn't contribute any gametes to the process. But I totally still feel weird about other pregnant ladies I see, which probably looks doubly odd since I'm now (sort of) one of them. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

kkasun said...

Love it, love it love it!!!
I think we have all thought all or at least most of those things.
And I have always hated how I looked naked, IF or not!!!!!

Lulu said...

Yep.

thirtiesgirl said...

This is great. I agree with so many of the things you said. I feel bad for thinking many of them as well. It's nice to know that we are all "normal". I've also got the rpattz crush.

Natalie said...

I guess I'm a little jaded after all these years, but I wasn't in the least shocked about any of your statements. I'm pretty sure that I have thought every single one of them (well maybe not the phone sex operator, only becuase I'm not that creative when it comes to phone sex - I have brainstormed ideas to get quick cash through less than legal means though.) It is good to admit what you are really thinking. I get more honest every year of IF. One day I just began to wonder who I was doing all the pretending for? Hope it made you feel a little better.

Rebecca said...

Wow, so well put. I have thought most of those, too. OK, there are a few in there that I haven't, but most of them!!

Annabelle said...

Love this post! I can relate to so many of your comments, thanks for sharing! Some day I post the same on my blog.

Rowelin said...

Thank you for this. I feel like I can never be honest with how I feel. When I am honest, I think it drives everyone nuts with how negative I am. I can't help how I feel, you can't help how you feel. I had many of the same thoughts and emotions you are experiencing.

Rowelin said...

I actually e-mailed Oprah once about doing a show on infertility. Nothing came of it.

marriage20 said...

OMG, I can relate to this so much!! Thank you for your honesty!

clewis said...

Enjoyed reading that post. really good. And damn Jake G and Robert Pattinson, possibly the 2 hottest men to ever walk the earth

cgd said...

this is brilliant Jay. I admire you so much putting this out there. I lack words (not easy for me) to really tell how I feel about this post. Let me just say, I think you are amazing.

DaisyGal said...

Hey are u my sister or better my twin??? So many of those things I have not only thought but I have said behind closed doors to people who already love and can't quit me now.
You think that once they put a baby in your arms that the IF shit goes away..but here's another secret..it doesn't. I still hate most PG women, I still would have asked that homeless woman for her baby (but given it to you) and I still don't like/get I love Lucy the Honeymooners or Seinfeld.

I am just so sorry that u can't say what u need to. You are not a failure, you are not in any way LESS. Not to me.

missohkay said...

Such a good post. My #1 confession: even though I found all of you wonderful people online (which has helped immensely) and have even met some of you in person, I still feel REALLY alone in this.

Josey said...

Awesome post Jay! I definitely have said/thought almost every single one of your statements above. Oh how we beat ourselves up during this journey...

Thanks for reminder that they're just feelings - not facts!

Ms2Mrs..and back to Ms said...

Thank you for sharing all those thoughts. They are totally normally. I've had some of them myself. And I think we can always use the reminder that feelings are not facts. Great post all around. Thank you for sharing.

AL said...

Great post! we all have these thoughts and bad thoughts don't make us bad people. it's better to be honest and open about it all - nobody is mary freakin' poppins!

SLESE1014 said...

Thank you for reading my thoughts. I think you said it best for us all. We all have those thoughts. We all have been where you are. You just put into words what I've been thinking and feeling for the past 4 years.

And my favorite line I've ever heard regarding feelings..."Feelings are real, but they are not reality"

Thanks for helping me remember this!

Chon said...

I think I am just going to post this link as my blog post for the week. It is exactly how I feel all of those emotions. Thank you for reminding me I am not alone.

BBH said...

I have many, many of those same thoughts. And I really appreciate your humor and honesty!

Baby Steps said...

Standing ovation!! It amazes me how we can all come from such different walks of life, have different a diagnosis(perhas), but can all relate to these feelings.

We are truly in this together!

I haven't seen the "pregnant" lady, but there is a girl/woman on the 1 train that claims she has 3 small children at home... been hearing that story for 8 years now!

I think we should all make our own signs and go hang out on 42nd - "Womb for rent" or "Will dance for IVF meds."

Big ol' hug comin at ya...

amiracle4us said...

I think you could sign my name at the bottoms of this and it is all thoughts/feelings/things I have experienced daily!!! The only difference is I do like I Love Lucy and if I told everyone the truth when they asked me if I thought 'Why me' they may be scared and think I am madly depressed! But in reality, I am not depressed, only when I think of my empty, quite, childless home :(

Articia said...

Thank you for your honesty. I needed to read this today. I feel a little less alien now.

E and R said...

Thank you for putting this out there - it is, for the most part, exactly how I feel. It is a good feeling to know that I am not alone in these evil feelings.

Heidi said...

awesome post. you're incredibly insightful, being a therapist myself. she must love sessions with you!!! okay, so i was NEVER happy about other people's pregnancy announcements UNLESS they were an infertile--it gave me so much hope and confidence, and i would LOVE to read/hear all about it. i KNOW you're going to get pregnant soon--i just know it!

shutterbugwife said...

I'm pretty sure I would burst into tears if I saw the pregnant homeless woman. This whole TTC thing has made me completely unstable and way over-emotional.

On that note, my confession is I try to make excuses to get out of our department lunches. Everyone in my department has kids (three of them have had their first child in the last year and a half) and that is all anyone talks about. During those lunches I either feel pissed off because I am so jealous or sad because I feel so left out. So I just make something up about not being able to go out to lunch with them.

Briana said...

THANK YOU for being honest about your thoughts. I am also *still* trying to get pregnant (STILL!!!) and I often think those same (somtimes mean) thoughts when I see a pregnant woman/hear about someone who is pregnant/see a newborn/see ANYTHING related to 'baby.' Who am I that I feel angry/sad/frustrated/bummed out/whatever when I see a pregnant woman?? I need to get over myself.

Your humor is delightful. Keep it up.

Single Mom 2b said...

I absolutely get where you are coming from... these are things that go in and out of your head, not a state of mind. I have the same thoughts... then add on getting close to 40 and failed relationships, not married... there's another angle to those fleeting thoughts in my world.

Thanks for the great and honest post!

kateypie35 said...

Your dirty little secret thoughts are not so bad! I have had those, and WAY worse. Like...way worse. Like, bad. Ooops! You are a good person in a shitty situation, and as humans sometimes are brains just think not so great thoughts. Thanks for being honest and know you are not alone.

Brave IVF Girl said...

Great post. I love the reminder that feelings are not facts -- it's so hard to tell them apart when you're in the muck. *hugs*

Sharon Pence said...

Thank you for writing this! I loved it.

Sam said...

You know, for 3 long years I felt the exact same way. Even now sometimes, even though I'm finally pregnant. It is really hard to admit these things, because it hurts so bad I know :( I think about how you've been through 2 IVF's so far, and find myself feeling guilty for you and other people going through IVF, when I just did clomid and femara. And then I think of other people who didn't have to wait 3 years and got their BFP on the first cycle, and go back to being bitter on how they could get it so quickly, without stress or tears, or daily u/s and b/w, and hot flashes and HSG's/Sono's/Lap's like me! I don't think it's something that will go away easily, or any time soon. Once an infertile, always an infertile at heart.

I truly believe it's going to happen for you, I said it around New Years, this is your year! Has to be!! And if not, it's around the corner. They say everything happens for a reason, maybe yours is because you help so many people with your posts? Maybe there's one more person your supposed to reach first? Maybe that doesn't make you feel any better, I'm sorry if that comes out wrong :( Just a thought, I hope it does, even if it's just a little.

Sam =)

SeekingSarah said...

After my second loss, I wailed to my husband for hours that I was nothing but a fetus murderer and that I may as well grow a penis because I wasn't a woman. I know those things aren't true, but it didn't matter and that's how I felt in that moment. You're not alone in how you feel, that's for damn sure. I could make a sailor blush with some of the things that I call my BIL's recently pregnant girlfriend (or anyone else that comes to mind) when I have a rage. It's not pretty or flattering and I would never tell anyone, save my fellow infertiles who always understand, just how bitter I truly I am. I don't know what I'd do without the support of strangers.

Me. said...

I recently got jealous of a street dog with engorged teets.

Kate said...

I was just sitting here thinking the same thing as I was researching my latest FSH levels. I feel like i'm somehow defective and not sure what I have done to deserve this. I started IVF #2 yesterday. We're going with the short protocol this time. Not feeling nearly as anxious or hopeful this time around.

My most recent evil thoughts:
I kind of hate my gay friends who are waiting to hear if their surrogate is pregnant for asking me 10 questions a day about lady parts. And I kind of hate myself for offering the help.

My most recent happy thoughts:
I love this reading blog and I love reading everyone's comments just as much!

Kelli said...

Thank you for helping me feel less of an awful individual. Yesterday was one of "those" days where it was hard to escape.

Kelly Jean said...

I could have written most of your list. HAVEN'T MET YOU YET used to be a positive happy, haven't met my baby yet song for me too!!! It's now depressing and I cry every time I hear it because quite frankly, I may never meet that baby. :(

Woman Warrior said...

I absolutely love this post. I am left speechless. You said it all. You put words to what so many of us are going through and just won't admit. Thank you!

Mrs. P said...

Hi there. I just found your blog after googling "infertility blogs" because i was so sick of reading blogs about women who are capable of getting pregnant by just looking at their husbands junk. And yes, i get jealous when i see babies or pregnant women too. I feel like i could have written this post myself. Thanks for writing this and making me feel a lil better after i just took yet another (negative) pregnancy test. Good luck to you, and hell, good luck to all of us ladies!

Jenna said...

I LOVE this post! Thank you for sharing what it is really like dealing with infertility. I often get jealous of pregnant women, heck sometimes oven pregnant animals and while I know it's insane, I can't help it. The feelings just come with the territory.

Aniqah Rais said...

I don't know which thought of yours I enjoyed more because I laughed at each one of them and I love you for voicing my thoughts out loud

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