Balance?

I met my Dad for lunch the day after I found out our first IVF had failed miserably, and he said something to me that has had me thinking quite seriously since then.  He said that I was letting having a baby completely take over my life and that I was losing the essence of who I was in the process.  It was hard to hear that, cos I know that in a very real way it is true. 

Before this journey, I used to be a “glass half full” girl, I was genuinely happy for other people who got their hearts desire and I used to be a lot more carefree.  I laughed more easily.  I played nicer.  I was the kind of girl who used to be the life of every party and the one who people used to come to for advise and who people loved talking to cos they knew I would always give them my honest opinion to their situation.

Now after walking the ttc road for just over 4 years, I find that I am not so easily persuaded by the “glass half full” theory (though I make a concerted effort to hang onto this aspect of myself, cos I like it, I like it a lot).  I am a lot more suspicious of goodness and I question the use of positivity to guide the outcome of situations.  Deep (very deep) inside I am happy for people who get their happiness easily, but closer to the surface sits the jealous harriden whose first thought is “why them and not us?”.  I still laugh, but not as easily as I used to.  I think a lot more dark thoughts.  And while I can still obvivously can be the life of a party (see my 30th pics) I find that at some point during the party I remember that I am not the girl I used to be, I remember that I am more jaded and mostly a little broken inside.  Instead of being the girl people seek out to chat with, I am the one that they now avoid, because talk of my failure will result in tears and uncomfortable silences, and talk of their happiness and children will cause me hurt (not as much anymore but sometimes) and might result in tears and uncomfortable silences (not so much anymore but sometimes the buggers still leak out my eyelids).

More often that not I find myself trying to find the tenacious balance between my obsession desire to be a Mother and the person I used to be.  I know that I will never be able to go back to being that girl, but I also know that I need to try and find the good pieces of her, the pieces I liked, and knit them into the person I am now. 

How do you find the balance?

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14 thoughts on “Balance?

  1. Hey Sam
    Very interesting post…. Something I’ve thought about alot myself as well.
    I was also “the glass is half full” type of person, in fact, I think I still am, except when it comes to my infertility! 😦
    I too believe I’m not the same person I was 6 years ago, but you know what I have realized?
    Nobody is the same person they were 6 years ago. For better or worse, life bends and moulds and changes us, itsn’t that part of maturing? If it weren’t for our fertility, something else would have come along that would have fundamentally changed who we were as individuals. I believe this is true for every human being out there. For some women, having a child is what fundamentally changes them, for those of us battling infertility, that’s what changes us, but change comes. Without change, are we even growing as individuals?
    I think its important to not just focus on the negative changes, I mean, I know you will agree, infertility has changes us for the better. We’re more loving, committed, compassionate and determined than what we were at the beginning of this journey and I think those are great qualities to have!
    And nobody avoids you my friend, you are still far to much of a people magnet for that to happen. Example: My DH has met you once and the first thing he said to me was: ” What a cool chic!”
    Hang in there Chicky!
    Its a bumpy ride, but its gonna get better!!! 🙂

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  2. This is a topic that is so close to my heart. I went through a stage where I was very very bitter and just could ‘snap’ out of it. As a result lost friends, because I think that we just didn’t relate anymore. Infertility changes you, but don’t let it swallow you. I don’t know the answer but I know it has something to do with time. Be strong.

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  3. I don’t have infertility in my life but I do know what you are talking about (I am chronically ill and deteriorating rapidly of late; in the words of one of my doctors “the patient is having difficulty adjusting to her new level of wellness”–FUCK THEM if they think this is any kind of level of wellness, and I wonder how well THEY would “adjust!”). Aaaand the icing on the cake is that most of what is wrong with me is an autosomal-dominant (think brown eyes–you will almost CERTAINLY pass it on to any children you have) genetic syndrome, which all three of my children have, but is so rare that we weren’t all diagnosed until my thirdborn came out gravely ill and they sent us to a geneticist. That was a little over a year ago and I think my (remaining) friends are thoroughly sick of hearing me go on about the GUILT, and the ANGER, and the PAIN, etc. etc. That and asking them to babysit while I have surgery or something. I keep a pretty good handle on it and there’s not much that’ll make me fall apart in front of anyone unless they ASK about my health (which I finally referred all of my good friends to my blog so that they can just read it and I don’t have to tell them over and over), but it’s the ones who are more “acquaintances” than friends who get to me, when they make uneducated statements about what I ought to try or start talking about acupuncture (not that there’s’ anything wrong with it, it just isn’t going to fix a defect in my connective tissue) or reducing stress levels. Sometimes they get to have an impromptu “learning experience” courtesy of moi, and not always a pleasant one, either.

    Sometimes I just nod and smile and think in the back of my mind “asshole” and move on. But I still have not managed to “accept” that at twenty-nine I have already been the healthiest I will ever be, that the pain will only get worse, that there’s nothing to be done except treat symptoms, and that statistically I will probably lose my ability to walk by forty and not live to fifty, and have doomed my children with that same grim future. I don’t know how one is SUPPOSED to accept such a thing (personally I take loads of antidepressants and see a therapist twice a week, but I dunno if it’s helping yet, the therapy part–the ADs I KNOW are not helping because I’ve tried them all, but I agree with the prescribing physician that it’s not a bad idea to cover ALL the bases JUST IN CASE).

    All I can tell you is what I have learned through personal experience–that something like this will, if nothing else, show you who your REAL friends are (or, more painfully, are NOT) and probably end up making you a little more blase about minor things like having to get a tetanus shot (my husband moaned and carried on like a dying man but for me it didn’t even register as pain) or staining a favorite piece of clothing (unless it’s the kind of day where that is the LAST FUCKING STRAW and you find yourself sobbing over a bleach spot on your GOOD JEANS; don’t quite know what to tell you about THOSE days except to try and remember you’re not crazy to get so upset about whatever it is, that it isn’t the stained pants, it’s everything else finding a way to come to the surface and bursting loose). I’ll be following you, too, and hoping I’ll get to read better news about the next try, and if nothing else I am ALWAYS good for a pity party. Pity is like drinking–if you do it alone it’s sad but if you do it with a friend, even one inside the computer, then it counts as SOCIALIZING!

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  4. Yeah, infertility has made me bitter. But I would have changed from the person I was when I started ttc back in 2002 whether I suffered from IF or not. It’s the unfortunate thing about getting older.

    I have put a lot of thought into “who is nancy” over the years and one of my main goals is to let “nancy” still be her own person. I ended up overcoming IF and I now have a family. I also have a husband. And a career. But to still be ~Nancy~ is very important to me. I don’t like me kids define me. I don’t let my husband define me. I don’t let my career define me.

    You said ” I find myself trying to find the tenacious balance between my desire to be a Mother and the person I used to be.” But I think it would be helpful to be the person you ARE. I’m not the person I used to be because I evolve all the time. I don’t forget nor regret my past, as that is why I am who I am today. The fact of me being a mother (or desiring to be one when was ttc) is who I am. I am a mother, yes, but it’s just one of my many roles.

    I know I’m rambling here because I’m not doing a very good job at explaining this, but it’s just such an important concept for me.

    I see people put all their being into roles. The problem is, these roles don’t last forever most of the time. So when their role is over (ie: their child moves out), they are an empty shell of a person. They’ve lost themselves over the years and ake the mommy apron off? They are just a mannequin.

    So while you have this very strong desire to BE a mom, keep in mind that you should still be the girl who are. If you liked the person she was, use your experience to start evolving into the person you want to be. You can’t go back, but you certainly can still be happy, even if you don’t have the next role quite yet.

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  5. I’m stopping by from NCLM, and just wanted to say that it’s very refreshing to see someone who is so intune with themselves that they can write something so honest and heartfelt.

    Good luck on your journey.

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  6. I know how you feel hun, it’s terrible how IF changes who we are and turns us into bitter, unhappy people. Hang in there sweetie!

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  7. Indeed, how do you find the balance? It is so hard to not let it all take over your life – as if our only hope for success is to think about it, talk about it, read about it as much as possible. I have never been great at balance.

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  8. here from NCLM–Balance has always been a tricky thing for me–I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. The quest for anything (babies, wealth, weight loss) can be all-consuming.

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  9. It is so hard to find the “right” balance with IF. I don’t push myself to feel or be a certain way anymore because it is what might make others happy. IF has changed me and there is nothing I can do about it. Other things in my life have changed me too. It’s a journey and we never know what is around the next turn.

    I try to find the “good” IF (total oxymoron, I know) changes too – I have more compassion and understanding for others in difficult situations; I have found patience I never knew existed; I have grown closer to my husband than I ever thought possible.

    Huge ((hugs)) to you.

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  10. Thank you to everyone for your very thoughtful comments, I do know that IF has changed me for the better as well in so many ways. But I think what I was trying to say was that I need to not let it completely define me – ala Nancy’s comment. (Ta Nance, made perfect sense to me)

    I have a lot more thinking to do on this topic – I really appreciate all your responses.

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  11. Hi Sam,

    I agree with Shaz, the point is to grow. You are growing and it’s not necessarily a painless exercise. I’m not sure I agree with your Dad, in life things will always happen, take for instance Matt who lost Liz, the reality is you can’t always have sunshine and roses.

    The other questions is, do you want to just sit back and let life take its course bobbing along, where ever the wind blows there you’ll be? Or do want to find a solution. Would a cancer or chronically ill patient just sit back and accept whatever comes their way. My sister also has a potentially fatal condition, and she obsesses about it, researching, trying new diets, trying to avoid chemo at all costs, I want her to obsess because I want her alive, she has also changed, it was hard and painful and still ongoing, on the other hand she wants me to obsess about my infertility, she wants me to have a baby.

    My mom is like your Dad, they just want us to be happy and carefree. That is not reality. It hurts them to see us in pain and they will say things because they love us. They want to see the sparkle back in our eyes. They want to see the joy. Many people believe that we were simply not meant to be mothers, that we should accept defeat and move on. The only defeat I will accept is if I have a hysterectomy.

    Nothing will change the way we feel right here right now, we are not obsessed with having babies we are PASSIONATE about it. Some people are passionate about cars, some are passionate about wealth and they will not let anything stand in their way to achieve it. Why not us?

    Accept and embrace the person you are NOW, don’t look back because it will only hold you back. I’d love to be ignorant about my body. I’d love to fall pregnant and not know about it, but it’s not gonna happen.

    When the baby comes you will eat, sleep, think and speak baby, believe me, ask any new mother out there. Why is it so wrong for us to do the same?

    I do believe you have balance, you have a job, your relationship with your husband is great, you run a home smoothly, you want a baby and you go to church. That sounds like balance to me.

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  12. Err…uhhmm…I think that is why a whole section of psychology is dedicated to childlessness.

    It seems rather cliche, but Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief rings very, very true: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

    All of us go through these stages and sometimes regress back.

    What your Dad says is true, but it would be inevitable that infertility will consume you at some stage of your life, until you find resolution and move on. I think it’s very necessary to ‘be consumed’ for a period of time, otherwise you will never fully process your loss and it will forever remain a raw wound.

    I say, see how deep the rabit hole goes, you just might find light at the end of the tunnel.

    Balance is a tricky beast, one that I have never mastered and one that I think is an illusion. All you can be is who you are in the moment, and that will change from day to day and year to year. As the good book says: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”

    Your Dad should perhaps embrace your struggle, for however long it takes. I know his intentions are good, and the way you are experiencing his comments perhaps illustrates that you are in fact moving on in a certain sense. I on the other hand would get very upset if my parents mentioned something like this to me at this point in time. Then again, I haven’t been on this road as long as you have…

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