Things I Wish I Could Tell People About Infertility

I came across this “list” of sorts on someone else’s blog by coincidence. I’ve seen this posted before on different blogs or sites, and I know that most people tweak it to add their own personal spin. Like others before me, I’ve made some changes and added or deleted sections where it seemed appropriate for me. 

I wish you would not be afraid to speak to me about what is going on in my life, and to ask me what you can do to help. But, more than anything, I wish you would not make empty offers that you never expect to be taken up on.

I wish you wouldn’t pretend that nothing is happening to me, because it is a large part of my life.  I need my friends and family by my side.

I will have emotional highs and lows, ups and downs.  I wish you wouldn’t think that if I have a good day, my grief is over, or that if I have a bad day, I need psychiatric counseling.

I wish you would realize that things you take for granted are miracles in my eyes, and sometimes I wish you would stop mentioning them because it just reminds me of what I don’t have.

Grieving and what I’m going through is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me.

I wish you knew that all of the “crazy” grief reactions I am having are in fact very normal.  Depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and questioning of values and beliefs are to be expected during and following what is happening to me.

I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over if and when I appear to be smiling or happy. I’m trying to keep going, and I’m doing the best I can not to bring everyone down.

Please don’t try to “cheer me up” by telling me about how much better my life is without children, how I have so much more fun, more disposable income, fewer sleepless nights or how I can live vicariously by being the “fun aunt”. There’s nothing fun about going through countless invasive, embarrassing and sometimes painful medical procedures; family-building “options” that require any outside assistance (whether through IVF or adoption) are exceedingly expensive (like, “you could buy a shiny new car” kind of expensive); and the last time I had a restful night’s sleep, we had a different President.

I wish you would understand the physical reactions to grief.  I may gain weight or lose weight, sleep all the time or not at all, want to surround myself with others or be all alone… all of which may be related to my grief. Sometimes just getting out of bed requires all the energy I can come up with.

A birthday, anniversaries of big days, holidays, and the day I found out, are all terrible times for me.  I wish you could tell me that you are thinking about me, and if I get quite withdrawn, just know I am doing my best to cope.  Please don’t try to coerce me into being cheerful or tell me that it will be better soon.

Platitudes are not helpful; hugs are.

It is normal and good that most of us re-examine our faith, values, and beliefs throughout this journey.  We will question things we have been taught all our lives, and hopefully come to some new understandings.  I wish you would let me tangle with my opinions, and beliefs without making me feel guilty or telling me that my infertility is the direct result of the fact that I don’t share your beliefs.

The only way I can get through this grief is to experience it, and sometimes immerse myself in it.  Sometimes I have to wallow in self-pity. Sometimes I have to be alone with my grief. And none of this will be solved in one afternoon, cured by any number of glasses of wine or pints of ice cream. Bottom line: I have to hurt before I can heal.

I really appreciate your attempts to distract me from my grief, but most of the time I barely have enough energy to get dressed. Just because you think skydiving gives you a new lease on life, or white-water rafting is the bomb, doesn’t mean that this is going to be the right thing for me – now, or ever. Suggesting that an activity complete out of character for me would be the solution to my struggle with infertility is like telling someone to have a lobotomy to cure a broken heart.

I wish you understood that grief and difficult situations change people.  I am not the same person I was before I experienced it nor will I ever be that person again. Sometimes I hate that the most because, like you, I miss the “old” me. But if you keep waiting for me to “get back to my old self,” you will be frustrated – and I will feel even more upset about how negatively my life has been impacted by infertility.

Please understand that I did not choose this path. No one asked me if I wanted to deal with infertility. But I am trying to adapt to this situation as best as I can, and as a result I am a new person with new thoughts, dreams, aspirations, values, and beliefs. Please try and get to know the “new me”…maybe you will still like me.

 

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