Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Bother and a Nuisance

I often wonder if people get irritated with me when my infertility makes me emotional. I mean, it's happened frequently over the past eight years, and though it happens much more rarely these days, the people I turn to are still the same people I turned to in the past. They've heard it all before. They've witnessed the tears and the heartache. And most of them can't relate to it at all. So, do they find it grating and annoying after a while?

I know there are some who do. Granted, those are not the kind of people I typically share my feelings with. Even so, I've heard things like "You already have one kid, just stop complaining and be grateful," and "Stop worrying about it and maybe it will happen!" and "It's not that big of a deal. Just adopt."

These are not helpful comments. It seems that people who have never been in my position are more likely to invalidate my feelings. It's easier to dismiss people like me, and the pain we go through, than to try to understand how we feel.

And I get it. I know for a fact that I used to be much more draining to talk to when it came to this issue. And I've met women (online, especially) who are exhausting, because all their pain is worn on their sleeve. It's bare, like an open wound, and it can be uncomfortable to witness. Their pain is so raw. It's easier to distance yourself from it than to empathize. And those kind-hearted people who do try to empathize are not immune to how tiring it can be. That much anguish, heartache, and hopelessness has the power to drain anyone. And it's so nice to have a willing shoulder to cry on, that we probably abuse those generous people. I know I've been guilty of it in the past, especially in my darker days.

So I do wonder if I've overstayed my welcome when it comes to those people I lean on in times like these. I wonder if they hear the tears in my voice and think, "Oh no, here we go again..." I'm sure most of them are happy to listen to me and let me cry, because they love me, but even so. I can't help but feel like I might be a burden.

But here's the thing: this is such a hard trial to suffer through in silence. Most of the time, you live your life, and you get along okay. But then something happens, like your period being a week late. You're shocked when you realize it, because that's literally never happened before, except for that one time you were pregnant with your daughter. A day or two late, sure, but never more than that.

As a couple more days pass by, you can't help but start to hope. You picture surprising your family with the news when you go visit them at Christmas. You think about how you'll tell your daughter. You can't help but calculate your due date, and think about what kind of clothes you'll need during that time of year for your newborn.

And the whole time that's happening, you're telling yourself to STOP IT. "Don't get your hopes up, it's been more than eight years! What are the odds that you're actually pregnant? You're not pregnant. Stop thinking about it!!!"

But you can't help it. And you're acutely aware of every change in your body. Everything that your body does, you wonder if it's a sign. You're not sleeping well, because your mind is always going a million miles a minute. You're not focusing well, because your mind can't think about anything but 'what if?' Every time you consider taking a pregnancy test, the nervousness overwhelms you to the point where you feel sick, because every past negative pregnancy test has left a bleeding scar on your heart. You're a bundle of nervous energy, full of hope, trying not to hope, wanting to know, but terrified to find out, trying think about something else, anything else...

And you can't talk to anyone! Because if it's good news, you'll want to surprise them, and if it's yet another heartbreak, you don't want to burden them further.

So finally the wondering is just too much, and you're so sick of it that you break down and take a pregnancy test. While you're waiting for the results, you spend the entire time on your knees, praying to God that you'll be able to cope when it's negative. You pray that you won't fall to pieces again. You pray that maybe things will be different this time. You pray until you run out of words, and there's nothing left to do but check the test....

And it's negative.

And even though you've promised yourself that you're okay, and it's no big deal, and you're not going to cry... You break down and sob like you've literally lost a child. Because, in a way, you have. You've lost the future you've imagined with the child you've never known.

But most people don't understand. They can't relate. And they don't get why you have to be such a bummer about this stuff. After all, you already have one kid. And you're in the process of adopting! What's the big deal???

And I really have no way to properly explain it. All I can do is look for the people who are willing to offer a shoulder to cry on, and hope that I'm not draining them too much.

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