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.