Thursday, August 6, 2015

How Infertility Has Made My Life Smaller

My life has become smaller because I carry a secret no one understands.  I watched Cait Jenner's reality show, and I felt dumber having watched it, and I've watched some trash TV.  But something stuck with me, this idea that Bruce lived a LIE.  Even the people who knew him best, didn't know him.  He was never his full self because he carried this secret for years.

I've lived a pretty open life, but infertility has silenced me.  I carry a secret that in many ways defines me.  It has defined my job, my workout routine, my diet, my vacations, my responses to normal banter, my interaction with others.  It kept me from kids' birthday parties, brought pain and suffering on my body, and rocked my identity to the core.  And yet, no one really knows all of it, certainly not how I feel about it.

Going way back to my emergency ectopic, I felt like no one had the "right" response.  I'm still pissed my husband never cried.   I felt like my friends didn't get it.  I wanted them to call more.  I wanted them to leave me alone.  I wanted to cry or scream or talk about it, and it was too painful to mention.  I wanted my mom to leave me alone.  She called too much, she cared too much.  My poor husband still hasn't wrapped his head around the baby dying and me almost going with it, I think.  Some people just didn't care.  I don't know what the right response was, even now.

Telling people about medical intervention, like Cait Jenner, reduces me to stats and shots and scans.  It has a certain logical appeal to explain all this to my mom, because there is no emotion in it, it is just science and the next step.  But this is drastic medical treatment that reduces my genitals and my body to a patient.  I don't even notice transvaginal ultrasounds, aka the dildo cam, anymore, but they are terrifying and invasive, or they should be to normal women.  And so, my identity as a person is reduced to my meds, my weight, my medical choices.

Most people I don't tell about this stuff anymore.  I am so disappointed in so many responses.  And I don't want to hear second-hand miracle stories or second-hand miscarriages or IVF/adoption anecdotes.  They just don't matter anymore to me.  I've heard it all.  I've lost friends.  Real, flesh and blood friends who couldn't handle it.  And everyone in my life experiences me with a lie that removes a giant part of my life from what they see.

Plenty of people in my life know about what happened over three years ago, and I'm still a drunk, so they should be able to conclude things haven't gone well.   But I stopped investing emotional energy into people who just don't give a shit and won't be able to understand how this feels.  I'd rather have no response than one that I feel is dismissive, even if well meaning.  And people used this against me without even meaning to.  My sister couldn't even respond to a text after the most recent miscarriage, which cut me to the bone.

Thinking about the reverse scenario, if someone told me their struggle, I'm not sure I could be much help either.  Calm Persistence came out with her real identity and her hellish journey through this.  She claims it let people love her?  Depending on how you count it, I guess I've had four miscarriages too, and I'm not sure even I would know how to respond to her.  It would be even more awkward if this were my sister-in-law or my dear friend.  What am I supposed to even do?  What does she expect me to do?  Am I supposed to talk about it?  Send a card?  Say some crap like I'm sorry or I know someone who had a miracle baby?  What can I possibly say to help that?  So, how can I put that responsibility on others to handle a situation that even I can't deal with?

Over three years in the infertility trenches has left me completely alone.  Honestly, I don't even think my husband understands the level of pain and of struggle I am having with my body, and with my identity.  The stakes are so high for me that I am not sure my life is even meaningful if I can't figure this out.  And yet, at some point, I must face reality that this may never happen.  So I write it here.  This is the only way I know to process it, and I don't expect anything really.  Maybe somebody gets it?  If so, I'm sorry, I wouldn't wish this on you.  I know I can't keep living with all this suffering inside.  The only way to openly live my life is with some kind of resolution.  Maybe I'll finally get pregnant, like Mark Zuckerburg's wife.  Maybe I'll just give up.  Maybe if I can't figure out that life isn't fair, life will keep teaching me that lesson over and over again.

No comments:

Post a Comment