The War on Negativity

I’ve decided to issue a moratorium on bitterness, resentment and fear.

I know I’m far from alone in having been subjected to these terrorizing emotions for so long, it seems they’ve taken over every waking second of our lives. I know we’ve been struggling, grappling, trying to make sense of it all and desperate to regain some sense of our former, happier, selves. Like a wounded animal, we retreat to solitary confinement as it feels like our hearts become blacker and shrink with every month, every year, that goes by without our most fervent dream becoming reality: motherhood.

I feel like I keep slipping and sliding around in the muck that my emotional, mental and physical “well-being” has become – a misnomer, at this point, because I obviously DON’T feel well. I haven’t felt well in a really long time. I don’t sleep well, I don’t eat well, I’m angry all the time. I’m jealous, bitter, resentful, sad, scared – all the time. I don’t do anything I used to enjoy doing. I don’t go anywhere. I avoid people. I avoid leaving the confines of my little cocoon of self-imposed isolation because it’s too scary “out there”. I feel trapped in a prison of my own making.

And I’m so sick and tired of feeling this way.

It’s easy for me to blame it on my circumstances, on infertility, on my ensuing isolation, on the words and actions (or lack thereof) of others. I’ve been stewing in a sense of failure, of self-loathing, for so long that I apparently stopped fighting back. At some point, it felt like everything got to be too much; my world caved in and I got buried under all the rubble. I lost my sense of self, I lost the belief that I have skills, talents, and that I’m a good person. I let the actions and words of others define who I was, who I became, because I felt like I was fighting a war on so many fronts that I just got too damn tired to swim against the stream. We have no support, no one to turn to – so I convinced myself that it was all our fault: our fault that we couldn’t get pregnant; our fault that people we put our trust in deceived us; our fault that we’re hurting, angry, sad and alone.

The truth is that I’m at a crossroads, and I have a choice to make. I can keep feeling like crap, I can keep beating myself up, I can let my inner critic convince me that it’s my fault we don’t have any children yet, it’s my fault that we might not be able to, it’s my fault this, that and the other. I can get angry at the world, angry at everyone else’s fecundity, IVF coverage, supportive relationships. I can throw in the towel and just exist in a vacuum of misery that will become a never-ending pity party. I can wait for my marriage to disintegrate because I can’t snap out of it, I can drag my husband down with me as every ounce of love is drained from my heart because everything is dark, angry and bitter – and watch him blame himself for not being able to help me, to make me feel better. I can keep beating myself up about my shortcomings and comparing myself to others with the end result that I feel bad. I can let things I have no control over make me feel like I’m weak. I can despair to the point where I stop getting out of bed altogether.

OR…

I can stop fighting with myself. I can stop pretending. I can stop lying to myself. I can stop comparing myself to others, berating myself for the choices I’ve made. I can stop thinking, and feeling, like not being perfect or not having the same way of doing something as someone else makes me worthless. I can stop hating myself for the fact that my life isn’t exactly the way I thought it would turn out. I can stop judging others just because they’re not having to walk a mile or three million in my shoes, because they haven’t had the same experiences, because they don’t care, because they don’t get it, because they’re doing/saying things that hurt me.  I can stop blaming myself for the things others say and do because, really, it’s not my fault and it’s not something I can change. At the end of the day:

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.”

Some days, I feel like I’m dying – both emotionally and physically. I feel raw, I feel beaten down to the point that I don’t even want to try to get up anymore. I just want to tap out. I know those feelings won’t just go away. I know I’m not suddenly going to wake up tomorrow, a reformed pessimist suddenly chipper like I’ve had a lobotomy or a Walt Disney makeover. But I realized, with strange clarity, that I’ve been playing the victim – instead of actually remembering that I’m not weak; I’m not pathetic; I’m not hopeless, hapless, stupid, or a failure.

I’m human.

A few days ago, I got really worked up about a site that I felt had a bunch of posts by women who’ve clearly never had their reproductive abilities called into question. I was so angry at what I felt was a set of completely insensitive, selfish posts that showed absolutely ZERO consideration for women who struggle to conceive. But then I thought – hold on a minute. Why am I getting so angry? This site is clearly run by women who don’t have these problems. Why should they think about infertility when it obviously hasn’t touched their lives? I mean, you don’t see me writing posts about Asperger’s, to throw out some random medical condition. It’s my choice whether or not I read these types of things – so getting angry about something that, technically, I’m not the target audience for is just plain ridiculous. It’s also pointless, because the end result is inevitably detrimental to ME.

I feel like having a family should be considered an inalienable, constitutional right – and that, consequently, all 50 states should be required to carry mandatory IVF insurance. However, the fact that this isn’t actually the case and that the current state of affairs makes me angry does absolutely nothing to change MY situation. I don’t live in a state that has IVF insurance, nor is IVF covered by our medical insurance – not even a portion of it, no cap, nada. But this doesn’t make my situation unique at all – I know there are many others who are in exactly the same boat. It also doesn’t mean that I should get angry at other IFers who do have IVF coverage – it’s not their fault that, apparently, our society considers it more important for a guy to be able to have a boner than for a woman to be able to get pregnant. 

I realized, these past couple of days, that I am so incredibly lucky to have had some wonderful experiences in my life, to have choices and freedoms, to have a roof over my head. I have a husband who loves me to the end of the earth. My life is far from perfect, and I myself am definitely a work in progress. But I know I’m not alone – even if it feels like it. I know that there’s hope, somewhere, out there, for all of us. We can’t know which bend in the road will lead to the next chapter in our lives, but I’m tired of feeling consumed with negativity. I’m tired of getting worked up, seething silently and letting all this crap fester as it chips away at my very soul.

So I’m just going to keep working on ME and try to change my perception of the world around me. I’m going to try to remind myself that I have a choice of how I’m going to receive information and how I’m going to deal with it. Instead of focusing on all the things that make me unhappy, I’m going to focus on the things that make me happy – and work on finding more positive ways to deal with the things I struggle with. Because, at the end of the day, I don’t want to end up being a mother who can’t find the good in small things, the sunshine in spite of the rain, the proverbial silver lining.

Carpe Diem, my friends!!

PS: It goes without saying that reserve the right to occasionally think that someone is a total a$$hat and deserves to be poked in the eye with a really hot french fry rolled in ghost peppers. I’m not bucking for sainthood.

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16 thoughts on “The War on Negativity

  1. Girl you are on the right track! I have learned in my own experiences that I always think what I’m hoping for will be what makes me happy…but then when that desires comes, I eventually am left wanting something else and when it doesn’t come, I am unhappy again. After a while, I have learned that happiness doesn’t come from what we desire but from within. Focus on enjoying your hobbies again…see all the small blessings throughout life. Don’t lose hope! I know you aren’t religious, but the Bible says in Isiah that God gets us “through” things. That means we will get on the other side, so in the meantime (which is some mean time), try to enjoy the journey as much as possible. YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS! Hugs!!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words of support & encouragement – it really means a lot to me! One of the sayings that I always try to remind myself of is “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Sometimes I feel like I’ve already been through so much in my life, but then I also feel like I haven’t really challenged myself – so how can I complain, kwim? I’m miserable because I feel isolated and unable to connect with others, but that’s essentially because I feel so bad about myself that I assume others will think badly of me. How sad is that?? Either way, here’s to resilience and moving forward 🙂 Hugs!!

      • Don’t fear others girl!! Love yourself! Others love you too!! I have never even met you, and I can tell you are awesome…and I know others think the same about you as well!

      • Awww, thanks so much – you’re such a sweetie! 🙂 🙂 You know, my husband is always trying to make me feel better by telling me the same things – I just need to LISTEN!

  2. This is wonderful. Yeah, always remember to forgive yourself if you “go negative,” because that self-punishing can exacerbate the negative. “Not bucking for sainthood”—amen! And silver linings are the raddest thing in the universe.

    • I agree. I think one of the things I’m the most tired of is feeling crap about myself ALL THE TIME – and IF is just the icing on the cake. I’ve been struggling with these issues even before I got married, so the desire to change it is strong but also daunting. But I figure the only thing we can do is move forward – and change the conversation. 🙂

  3. When we first began talking on Inspire, I was right at this turning point. So sick and tired of being sick and tired. I have held on to this quote for years and with every hardship I face, I understand it more:

    ““And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

    Hoping this is a new chapter in your life. And since you get to write it, we all know it will be amazing.

  4. I like your moratorium and will try to follow it! I’m trying to convince myself I’ve been negative enough in the last weeks. And it’s time to turn the page and find some positive thoughts. So thanks for this inspiring post!

    • Thanks for stopping by to comment! I definitely think it’s a challenge – it’s so hard not to be angry and resentful all the time. But I also think to myself, is that the kind of person I want to be by the time we have babies? Do I want to be this sad, bitter person for the rest of my life? Obviously NOT. It’s so hard to change the way you think, and I know it’s going to be a challenge – but I just figured that I can’t keep going the way I have…

  5. This is great, lady. And you are absolutely right…it is so easy to go crazy on a whirlwind of negativity, especially with IF. Especially with everyone around most of us who are able to get pregnant fairly easily. Here’s the thing, even with what we have to go through, I swear that I would not change our journey. Things will be okay, will work out, and life is not just about having a biological child. Heck, in some cases, life has proven to be amazing despite following the traditional family route. Life is generally always amazing, even when it is impossible. Keep your chin up, doll!

    • Thanks for the pep talk! 🙂 I agree, it’s really easy to just feel like a bit of a “loser” when someone that seems to come so easily to others seems out of reach for us. I can’t say that I wouldn’t have chosen a different route if I’d had the option, but I hope that all of these experiences will ultimately make us better mothers. 🙂

  6. I forbid you from reading anymore posts on the interwebs…j/k – kind of. 😉
    I have experienced some really dark places in my psyche in the past and you mentioning being at a “crossroads” kind of made me remember something that someone said when I was ready to give up. They said that when I was low on energy or feeling like things were going in a negative direction that I didn’t have to keep going the same way – that I could “pivot” – mentally imagine myself just turning a little bit to start moving again in a different direction – and I felt such comfort in that imagery. Good for you for pivoting! I think there is something to be said for feeling these feelings of despair – that we have to kind of “go through it” for awhile in order to get to the point where we can say – wait – this is bullsh*t and I am sick of it – I am ready to feel better again. Have a wonderful week 🙂 *hugs*

    • That’s some really good perspective, thanks for sharing that! Not only is it an interesting way to approach this issue, but it totally made me burst out laughing because it reminded me of an episode of Friends. I could literally hear Ross shouting PIVOT! PIVOT!!!! Hugs back 🙂

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