Wednesday, November 18, 2009

sweet, sick innocence

I have a friend who, at the beginning of this journey, was extremely understanding and supportive. She would always call and ask how I was doing, or e-mail me to check in on the status of my latest doctor’s appointment. Now, she doesn’t write and when she does call, she never asks how I’m doing. Last week, she called to tell me about her sister, who was about to give birth. After five or ten minutes of non-stop talk about labor and babies, she said, “Childbirth sounds pretty scary. Are you sure you want to have kids, Katie?”

I kind of paused, not knowing what to say. When I regained my breath and collected my thoughts, I just mumbled, “Yeah, I’m sure.” Then, she stuck the nail in the coffin: “Well, don’t worry. You’re still so young.”

Are you joking?

I shot back, “Yeah, and every day my eggs get older and my chances of having a kid go down.” That was the end of THAT conversation.

The only thing I can blame this on is sickness: People are sick of my infertility.

Infertility may consume me, but it certainly doesn’t consume my conversations with people in real life. The only person I will bring it up to spontaneously is my husband. If he isn’t around and I feel like venting, that is what my blog is for. I tweet about it too, occasionally. But I never bring it up to friends unless they ask me about it first. This is for two reasons: 1) Rehashing every single doctor’s appointment, every fear I have, and every time I get a negative on a pregnancy test to every friend I have isn’t going to help me and 2) I don’t want people to get tired of hearing me talk about it or feel sorry for me.

But think about it: Does it ever occur to anyone that I get tired of talking about it? Or thinking about it? Or getting probed by the ultrasound wand? Or popping pills? I get tired, too: physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’m effing exhausted trying to remember which drug I’m supposed to take on which days, when my appointments are, and how I’m going to pay for current and possible future procedures.

I didn’t ask to be like this.

The friend, the one who hurt my feelings last week, has my blog address. She doesn’t read it. Most of the friends who I’ve given my blog address to don’t read it anymore.

When you’re young, you are innocent enough to believe that you will meet the person of your dreams, “marry”, buy a house, get pregnant, and become one, big, happy family. You think you’ll be friends with the girls or boys you hung out with on the elementary school playground forever. Each time a person wrongs you—whether that person be a friend, a lover, a parent, or another family member—a piece of your innocence dies. Each time you receive bad news, experience a family tragedy, are diagnosed with an incurable medical condition, a piece of your innocence dies.

The last of my innocence died last week.

I’m not bitter, or angry, or sad. I just am. I know I will never get that last piece of innocence back. Not now. Not after the things I have seen and heard and experienced. I will never be the person I once was: so sweet and na├»ve that I couldn’t see the truth of what was actually in front of me. It’s just not in me. Instead, I will be more aware of the questions I ask about other peoples’ personal lives. I will never tell someone that I “know” something will happen. I will never try to make excuses for others. I will be the best wife, daughter, sister, and friend I can possibly be.

Part of me wishes I had kept my diagnosis to myself. The other part of me knows that, despite the few bad apples, I’ve gained a world of support from others—both inside and outside of the IF community.

I don’t want people to get sick. I want them to understand. And as much as I want my innocence back, perhaps I’m better off without my rose-colored glasses.


Hayley said...

You know you can always email, text or call me to talk. I don't get sick of it.

Love you girl!

A said...

i dont have experience with that particular situation (i haven't told any of my college friends, and the friends IRL i have told are ALL 100% supportive- some are going through IF themselves!), but i know my college friends, 4 of whom are mothers, none of them have gone through IF, and they all seem to think it happens on the first try. it is really disheartening to talk about babies being born with such frivolity.

we never get tired of it and will be with you whenever you need!

Kelly said...

If there is any reason in the world that we have to go through this, it's because of this:
"Instead, I will be more aware of the questions I ask about other peoples’ personal lives. I will never tell someone that I “know” something will happen. I will never try to make excuses for others. I will be the best wife, daughter, sister, and friend I can possibly be." You already are the best wife, daughter, sister and friend that you can be.

I'm sorry that she hurt your feelings and that you feel alone. That's why we're all here though, don't forget. So people have no clue and, unfortunately, they never will. I feel sorry for them.

Erin said...

I'm so sorry that your friend was so insensitive. People who haven't experienced infertility just don't understand how hard it is. It's easy to say "You're still young," when you aren't in the middle of trying to get pregnant.

Always here if you need to chat, vent, etc.

nicolemarie said...


I don't even know what part of this I love the most, I'm just completely in love with all of it, because I have felt the same way so many times.


Kelli-Sue said...

Hey hon. THANK YOU for your comment on my blog, you really helped! I hope she sees it and gets the needed help. You are such a strong woman.

Now as for your blog, I know I am a new comer but when I open my reader and my eyes gaze over the numerous blogs that have updated if your name is bolded with a little (1) next to it I ALWAYS click yours first. I am so curious to see how you are doing and feeling etc... I am far from being sick of "hearing" about it.

I am so grateful for finding your blog (through a friend) b/c of how you have opened my eyes to this whole new world, I was so naive. You have educated me and encouraged to educate myself. For that I am thankful. I knew I was meant to help people & If it wasn't for you I don't know of I would have ever realized exactly what/how I was supposed to do that and now I know it is to be a surrogate (as soon as I graduate from grad school).

I hope you realize as much as your blog helps you, it helps others (in lots of different situations) as well. :)

Bean stalk ballads said...

Oh Katie. You sound like such a fantastic and wonderful person, your strength, self awareness and committment to being the best person you can make you really friggin special.
I am sorry your friend hurt you. I am sorry your innocence is gone.

Here is my wish for you, that you somehow, find joy in this place of sorrow. That you continue to have the strength to carry on, and you know you arent alone.

rebecca said...

Katie -- I'm so sorry your friend was so insensitive. Know that we're all here for you and will never get sick of it. There is something to be said for how much those of us going through IF learn about sensitivity and how to really "be there" for others around us.

A baby for Al? said...

Katie, I get what you're feeling and where you're coming from on this post. I don't think I could have said it better myself.

It's kind of like friends view IF as us being in an abusive relationship. Somewhere, they're sort of seeing this as self-inflicted pain when adoption or living child-free are feasible options in their eyes. We can stop at any time and just let it be, but we continue to put ourselves through the ups and downs and continue to hope. That might be a far fetched comparison, but thinking about it that way has helped me be at peace with the insensitive way my friends reacted. That and they just don't know how they can support us through this.

Love reading your thoughts and positivity on this. It is a hard road, but there are good things. I'm much stronger and more compassionate than i was before this. And I've met some amazing women (eg, you, although virtually) from being in this situation.

Astrid said...

Thanks for your comment. It is a delicate thing when 'friends' know your story. I too question whether telling people was the right move, but in V's case in particular I thought I was helping myself by telling her because before I did she was constantly trying to convince me to have a baby right now! and seemed to be on daily babywatch (oh Astrid, you're not drinking?).

I kinda wish people would leave it alone too. They never know the right thing to say and I'd prefer it didn't consume my daily life any more than it already does. This is why I never told my parents, only a few people know. It's like damned if you do tell, damned if you don't.

I can totally relate to this post, I really like it. The part about how you will never tell someone you know something will happen... I am such a realist now, and I realize that foolish optimism, no matter how well-intended, can be downright hurtful. People like us need people that can be trusted. And I hope, if nothing else, this experience lets me be that for someone else.

Katie said...

Well, first of all, BAM to that "friend." F her. Sorry, I guess I'll just be angry for you.

Second, I think we are probably ALL better off without the rose colored glasses. I mean, what good do they do anyone? As with my whole "just half a glass" outlook on life (not half full, not half empty), I think we are probably all better off just being realistic. I would never encourage anyone to be all "doom and gloom," but a healthy dose of reality in your life just puts things into perspective, KWIM?

I'm not saying "hey this is real life," PLEASE don't think that. I HATE what you are going through and wouldn't wish it on anyone! Of course you didn't choose to be this way. I'm sorry that you've lost the "innocence" of life, but I am glad that you still LIVE your life, despite what you are dealing with.

I just have so much respect for you! (and the other F.F.'ers, of course!) :-) ((HUGS))

OK, I've rambled enough.....