Solidarity

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Each morning I get up and check my phone. It used to be to check for emails from work, but now that is secondary. The first thing I do is check the reader of the blogs I’m following, then go over to the search area where I have “IVF”, “infertility”, and “miscarriage” tagged and see who else is out there, and if I’m feeling brave, check on the blogs of those I’ve stopped following after their BFP. With blogs I’ll follow, unfollow, follow again depending on how I feel, how much I think I can take, what my brain is focused on most at the time.

You know how the women of Sex and the City always met up for lunch or cocktails? This morning check-in (and sometimes evening as well) is my version of that, meeting up with the women who know the acronyms of this struggle to make three from two, finding solidarity in what we have experienced as the One in Eight who are battling infertility and/or the One in Four who have experienced pregnancy loss.

Last night I read a blogger’s post on miscarriage that referenced a recent blog post by the fabulous Martha Beck, and it got my husband and I talking about how these storms in our lives have led to immense breakthroughs or wonderful events we never could have predicted before. Now folks, I’m not saying the chain of events CAUSED the good thing, or that bad things must happen to bring good things, but rather that if we look back we often can find lessons – or even surprisingly beautiful gifts – that have arrived after periods of intense struggle. When my husband and I talked about our own lives, a few life-changing events came to mind:

  • Eight years ago this November, shortly after my father had a hemhorragic stroke which was leading to his death a few weeks later, a coworker suggested I start a blog. My very first post quoted Camus, and for a while I almost completely focused on dealing with my grief surrounding my father’s death. When I stopped being anonymous, I learned the fine art of balancing privacy while welcoming the world into my life, be it my garden, my career, on my bike, and in relationships. I started up with someone online who, after meeting him in person, I found to be mean and self-absorbed in ways I never had experienced. And yet a month after that ceased to exist – two years and three months into my blog’s history – a comment came in from another man, this one in Australia. My eyes rolled as I looked at his cute skinny pic and noted his location. Ha! Well that’ll never happen, I guar-an-tee, I said to myself. (You see, I think I may have held the record on long-ass-distance relationships over the decades – from the gorgeous but incredibly lost bricklayer in Canada I met on the Oregon beaches at 18, to the beautiful, intellectual farmer one state over who showed me the possibilities of finding love after my divorce (but could never, ever be true to himself or me), to the cruel gardener-slash-pill popping alcoholic in England that preceded this skinny Australian.) This skinny Australian and I began our connection on this blog when he left a comment (ironically a post for a friend who’d broken up with an Australian), then email, then Skype, then in person as we flew back and forth, crossing oceans. Almost 3 years to the day of that first comment, I said yes during my birthday trip to Lake Tahoe. It all started with writing blog on grief…
  • Less than a month after we were married, my husband joined the godawful club called Losing A Parent. His father, who he hadn’t spoken to in over a decade, died suddenly of a heart attack. They hadn’t spoken for years because his mother had told him his whole life that his father was a drunken bastard and claimed he had said terrible things about my husband over the years. I’d even seen some of her emails that were pretty intense. Yet his father was a man who, when my husband suffered a traumatic brain injury, had driven hours each day to see him in the hospital and cared for him for months as he recovered (his mother refused to look after him, I believe “absolutely not!” were her words..while simultaneously trying – unsuccessfully – to tell the hospital they were not to allow his father to visit him). My husband was his father’s best man when he remarried his wonderful new wife (the magnificent lady I refer to as Mum C on this blog), and after I’d met her, the questions had begun to arise as to how truthful his mother actually was about, well, everything. I spotted her narcissism within minutes of meeting her, and wasn’t afraid to bring it up after she was gone. During our times in Australia, she never once tried to get to know me, not one question about me. It was always about her and various melodramas as she saw them, and people in her family she could insult. And when my husband finally stood up to her after she disrespected him? She began to threaten suicide and blame it on him. When he and I were struggling in our relationship? She called his father and claimed he had trashed his son to us. When we wanted to invite his uncle to our engagement party and asked for his mailing address for the invitation? She tried to say he wouldn’t come because he’s Jewish (yeah don’t even get me started on her bigotry) and hesitated on providing his information, then said she would not be coming. His mother is one nasty bitch to put it mildly. And that was before we learned of the decades of lies she’d told my husband. When his father passed, we found out he had known of our marriage but didn’t know how to reach out. We learned he always kept a picture of my husband on his desk. We learned of the man who deeply loved his son but was kept from him and had no idea of what his ex-wife had been saying about him over the years. The number of lies she told were mindblowing and pathological, and it has been an incredibly difficult road for my husband because he learned this only after it was too later to reconnect with his father. A man who never spoke of his father to me now brings up stories several times a week – stuff his dad used to say, stories his dad used to tell, the way he talked or laughed or other things from their childhood when he was still married to his mother. My husband, in the two years following his father’s death, now has a genuine, loving new mum in the form of Mum C, his father’s wife, as do I. My husband now has the knowledge that his father loved him deeply. My husband, in the wake of tragedy, finally knows the truth.

And after this, I kept thinking about the stories of my fellow bloggers, recent and not-so-recent, that remind me I’m not alone. I kept thinking of the women who inspire me to continue to follow my heart and do what’s best for me, and to not be afraid to be completely transparent in this journey. So with that, I wanted to share some of the words of my “colleagues” here in blogland that particularly stood out to me, from the inspiring to the funny to the utterly heartbreaking. They get it. Boy oh boy do they get it. And it sucks that there are so many who get it. It sucks so bad.

“Life is not fair. This is a lesson that should be taught to children early on in life, but for some reason we are instead taught that if you’re a good person and do the right thing you will achieve all of your dreams. I call bullshit on that one.”
~ from Baby Wanted: An IVF Journey

“It means more lessons in patience…As Gaurav would say “just chill, wait and watch”. Here is hoping that the next attempt works…”
~ from A Piece of Him

“The vivid picture of my husbands face as I stand in the mirror sideways will haunt me forever I think…His face was lit up, he was so happy. I could see the happiness shine out of him.”
~ from Rambles and Struggles

“My grief this year has felt like one giant earthquake. There’s the initial impact—the shock, the loss, the anger, the sadness…Then, without even noticing, the grief slips away. I hear myself laughing when I thought I would never laugh again. What follows for the next few months is an ebb and flow; this earthquake of grief has ripples of aftershocks. They creep up on you when you’re not expecting it. A song on the radio. Walking by baby clothes at Target….These moments used to take my heart days to recover from. Now, it take hours, sometimes only minutes to return to center.”
~ from Bookends

“We forget that to give us more than we currently have, life must make us more than we currently are. And that the first act of every creative change is the destruction of the existing order. Make no mistake: when we ask for better lives, we are calling the whirlwind.”
~ from Martha Beck

“My three miscarriages taught me a lot, more than just pain, hurt and sadness. They also taught me how to be free, speak what my heart feels and express the hurt into purpose. If we silence mum’s who are suffering with the loss we also silence their chance to grow through it.”
~ from My Melanin Matters

“Some days I hate my body. There are times when I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning because of how I feel about my body. There are days when I could cry myself to sleep because of this body of mine…. And I feel helpless to change sometimes. It might not be what most people are assuming right now. Yes, physically, I could stand to lose 5 pounds… or 20. Yes, I wish clothes fit me differently or that I was a few inches shorter or my hair was a little less flat…but that’s not at all what has such a profound effect on me. I’m talking about my body’s inability to do what it was designed to do.”
~ from Infertile Me

“While it may be true that all of us bereaved moms are “doing the best we can,” I couldn’t help but wonder: Who are we doing it for? Initially after losing Ainsley, my actions were clearly selfish. In self-preservation and “shutting out the world” mode I was obviously doing it for myself – it was what I needed to do in order to survive. However, after that, in doing countless other things before I was ready…who was I trying to please?…I now know that I need to set my own expectations and parameters on this healing process. We all do.”
~ from Still Ainsley

“I don’t always look forward to shots in the rear, but when I do it’s because I’m like, “Estrogen, get in me!””
~ from Hoping to be more than a dog mom

“I think for the first few years I did a good job of keeping my boxes separate, especially the pregnancy box and infertility box. When Kelly would be pregnant I would be totally involved in it and be happy, and the miscarriages would carry just as equal devastation. The first time it was a massive shock. So much that I still can feel pain when I think about it. And so much so that it punched holes in the pregnancy box and now it leaks into other boxes. I used to not care about coworkers having kids or seeing kids on walks but now, I notice it all. And I feel a twinge of sadness but if I’m with Kelly I feel shame. Shame such that I don’t feel like I can even mention how thats a cute kid or how I like it, for fear that it would upset Kelly. The first miscarriage has given birth to my infertility box.”
~ from the husband @ Hoping to be more than a dog mom

“Don’t get me wrong, I am getting better and I am starting to feel more like me. But there are moments when I am not feeling like me, I am feeling angry. I am feeling left behind. It’s like I am still living in the past. I am still 4 weeks in the past while everyone else is living in the now. I don’t know how to let go.”
~ from Ray Shepherd

I just wasted nearly $20,000. I hate myself. My husband cried. Only the second time in 6 years I’ve ever seen him cry and I caused it.
~ from Oh Just Relax

“For the past two years I have been trying really hard to accept this new life. I have embraced infertility treatments (as much as one can), I have accepted the disappointments and losses as part of our journey and I have worked really hard on finding the positives in all of this. I have happily shared my story. But I always found myself falling back to the same thought on a bad day “this is not the way my life is supposed to be.” Except…that it is.”
~ from Girlwithagolddress

“It’s all a balancing act of values, uncertainties, and risks. None of the options are what we want, but at least we have options right? Or is it worse to have to make these decisions? I feel like it’s just tearing my heart apart and my depression is a beast – it might be worse than all of these other conditions combined because it weakens my foundation and clouds my thinking. I just didn’t realize how much grief I would feel.”
~ from Snowdroplets

“It’s a weird feeling. I’ve spent the last 18 months  in a blur of IVF-fuelled enthusiasm. It’s like I’ve been on an enormous infertility bender and I’m coming down from it all. I’ve just woken up in a soggy field after an all night infertility rave and I have no taxi money and no phone.”
~ from Babyscienceproject

“I know it’s only a few more days and I need to be patient but I’m oscillating wildly at the moment between wanting this all to be over because I’m sick of not living life my way versus moments of optimism and talking to my belly.”
~ from Wonky Genes

“Nothing anyone says can make me feel better about it right now. I am in my own private hell and all I can do is take one day at a time. At some point in the future I know it’ll start to get better. I just have to hold on.”
~ from A Life Without Peas

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  One thought on “Solidarity

  1. September 20, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    💚 I hear you. I’m doing the same thing. I have so much grief and feel so alone. I check in to read the stories of so many women and couples in the same boat and feel so much better. Now I want to go through your whole list of quotes and follow all of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. September 23, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Awesome story about how you met your husband! Also I appreciate your honesty re: following, unfollowing blogs, I know how you feel!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. September 23, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    You’re fab. I love your blog and I just want you to have some good news in the next 6 (less?) months. I’m rooting for you x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. September 27, 2016 at 2:43 am

    The above really hit home to be and I love reading your blogs – thank you xx

    Liked by 1 person

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