Please note on your readers that I have a new blog: http://nowaystosayit.com.

If you have any questions, you can email me at katieschaber (at) gmail.com.

Thank you for all of your support over the years! xo

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

project IF

What if the hole in my heart never goes away?

People walk around with holes in their hearts every day, but you would never know simply by looking. Some carry a hole in their heart made by a lost loved one. Some have a hole made by an old flame or a broken friendship.

I have a hole in my heart created by infertility.

It began with the diagnosis, when a sliver of my heart disappeared. With every pregnancy announcement, every baby event, every question about when we are having children, every ignorant remark, every biased news article, every tear shed, and every negative pregnancy test, this sliver has turned into a gaping hole of emptiness.

The pain I endure from this hole can make the most mundane activities unbearable. I have lost and will continue to lose friendships because of it. Family functions and holidays take on a different meaning. Each one is a reminder, a milestone, of what we have not achieved. Something simple, like running errands, can bring on a wave of emotions if I see a baby or a pregnant belly. Watching television or movies becomes a constant reminder of both how easily others get pregnant and how misguided the public is about this disease. Comments like “relax” and “you still have time” send a dagger into the hole, ripping the edges with such force it feels like my heart is going to tear in half.

The hole aches every day, but not just for me. It aches for the thousands of women and men who are currently in treatment, for the women and men who are unable to afford treatment, for those who have lost, and for gays and lesbians who clinics discriminate against because of their sexuality. It aches for those who have exhausted their options and are living childfree, and for those who are still waiting for that phone call from their adoption agency.

What will it take to heal my wound? I have asked myself this question a lot lately and this is what I have come up with: A positive pregnancy test would place a Band-Aid over it. Making it to week 24, the week of viability, would stitch it back together. But even holding a living, breathing child would not erase the scar of infertility. Slowly, I am beginning to realize that this missing piece of my heart--this piece filled with hope, innocence, trust, patience, and control--may never truly be complete again. Even if this cycle ends in a positive, it is impossible for me to ignore the past two years and what we have experienced. More impossible is to ignore those men and women still fighting to keep this same hole from swallowing their hearts completely.

But what if I wear my hole outside of my heart?

What if I use my hole to make people more aware of our pain and suffering? What if I use it to educate the public about who we are and the challenges we face? What if I let my hole speak for us--let it speak for all that we have been through and all we continue to go endure?

What if wearing my hole outside of my heart allows my heart to heal?

For more information about infertility, please visit www.resolve.org/infertility101. To learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), go to www.resolve.org/takecharge. And to see how "Project IF" started, check out www.stirrup-queens.com/2010/04/bloggers-unite-project-if.

42 comments:

Hayley said...

You already know you have me bawling my eyes out with this post. I think you are so strong, and think you will do a wonderful job educating others about this. xo.

Rach said...

I dont think I'll ever totally be the same either. Even if I have a child, the memory will still remain. Hopefully it will faid with time, but not sure right now.

Kandid Kelli said...

I wrote a little post directed at you..

http://thekellisue.blogspot.com/2010/04/be-educated.html

I didn't know what else to say so I blogged.

Thank You Katie!
xo
-K

Al said...

Beautiful post, Katie. You're making me all emotional.

Thanks for posting this - I need to think of something to do on my blog\in my life to help this campaign.

The Millers said...

I completly agree. Even holding a child in my arms will never heal the hole in my heart.
These experiences and journey will forever hold a scar.
As always, thank you for saying the things I cannot ever find the words to say.

Kim said...

I have a draft post on my blogger account, pondering the idea of going publif with IF for NIAW. Our family and good friends know but not all of our acquantinces and I was thinking of spreading the awareness next week via FB and other social network sites.

Thanks you for sharing this journey with us, we are all so much better off for having you, and each other.

JC said...

Yup, this was a beautiful post. ((hugs))

Jin said...

Our holes are our badges of honor, if you will. Like the scars of someone who has dealt with emotional/physical trauma/illness and has beaten it or is still fighting the fight.

At some point it stops being a hole and just becomes part of us, like an arm or nose. And you better believe I'll show my battle scar whenever I get the chance, regardless if someone is there to listen/read.

micgruber said...

Thank you for your post. Your words are very powerful and are straight from your soul. I wish I could wave a magic wand to make it all disappear for you, me and every other person out there who feels the same type of void.

waiting for baby said...

Lots of good questions. I wonder the same thing. When I have a baby will this all feel like a ghost. But then I think, this right now is my life. My life is different, I'm different because of this. Only time will tell.

ifcrossroads said...

"But even holding a living, breathing child would not erase the scar of infertility. Slowly, I am beginning to realize that this missing piece of my heart--this piece filled with hope, innocence, trust, patience, and control--may never truly be complete again. Even if this cycle ends in a positive, it is impossible for me to ignore the past two years and what we have experienced."

- I couldn't have said it better. It's exactly what I feel right now.

Jen said...

You always have the most powerfully written posts. I also feel like I won't be the same. I won't forget.

lis said...

beautiful, sad and heartwrenching post.

i was nodding along with you

xoxo

Secret Sloper said...

This is beautiful. I'm glad I've found your blog. I hope the hole in your heart is less painful one day, an extra bit of wisdom in your smile as you watch your children play, an extra bit of compassion in your hug as you witness the suffering of others.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Oh my G-d, that ending killed me. That was so beautiful. Because yes, that scar will always be there, but it isn't necessarily a terrible thing to have the hole closed and a scar. It can do a lot of good for the rest of the world.

Alice said...

This is so well written and touching. I feel that hole too and it will never completely go away. I think educating the rest of the world is a really great idea because there is lots of room for improvement! Hugs.

Willow said...

So beautiful, so heartbreaking, so true. Thank you for giving voice to the pain all of us infertiles endure.

S.I.F. said...

You have got me sobbing right now Katie. Seriously sobbing. You are amazing and I love everything you wrote here.

AnxiousMummyto3 said...

~ICLW
This is so beautiful. You have literally given me goosebumps because this is EXACTLY how I feel at this moment in time and I was just about to write a similar post.
Thank you so much for having the courage to write this!!

Kelly said...

You are always so good at capturing your emotions (and the emotions of so many of us) in your writing. I admire your willingness to talk about this so openly. I wish I had your strength.

spyderkl said...

Beautiful post. You're right - the hole will probably close up with time, but the scars will never go away. I love what you said about sharing the hole in your heart to help someone else. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Crossed Fingers said...

Beautiful post and very well written. *hugs*

Katie and Howard said...

Thanks for writing this...you captured the feeling of infertility so well. Mine will be a similar post for my Project IF.

Basic Girl said...

Katie, this was just amazing. Thank you for writing, and for helping make people aware. I think its so awesome that you put yourself out there, I really admire your strength!! (((HUGS)))

Katie said...

What a beautiful post, Katie!

Bean stalk ballads said...

Katie
This post was filled with beauty... and so much truth and pain. I wish with all my heart that this wasnt the case for so many of us. Unfortunately it is .

Rebecca said...

Beautiful as always, Katie.

Stephanie said...

Just found your blog...love it. This post made me cry. At work. Thanks ;) Can't wait to read more of your story. Prayers and hugs.

Miriam said...

This post is simply beautiful, raw, and inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

Here via ICLW. Thank you for this.

~Miriam (ICLW #93) Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed

stacie said...

I could have written this if I could have found the words. I can totally relate. Perfectly and beautiful written. Thank you.

Kakunaa said...

This was a beautiful What IF. I haven't done one....I can't seem to find a place to start. But thank you for your beauty and honesty.

ICLW

..Soo.See.. said...

You have me in tears. Beautiful, honest, raw post. And I'm sure your hole is helping others already, even though it's so hard for you. Lots of support for you! Xo

Glass Case of Emotion said...

I don't know how I missed this, but I think this is amazing! I agree, I've come to the point too where I've accepted no matter what happens, infertility has left a scar. Hopefully, somehow we can make it a positive.

Sonja said...

Beautiful post.

wendryn said...

This made me cry a little.

"Slowly, I am beginning to realize that this missing piece of my heart--this piece filled with hope, innocence, trust, patience, and control--may never truly be complete again."

Yup.

Mrs. Farmer said...

WOW!! This is beautiful!! Thank you for sharing this! What an insightful post.

Mr. Thompson and Me said...

Confession: you made me cry a little too.

Stopped by from Project IF and became a follower.

Thanks for sharing and writing such a beautiful post.

www.mrthompsonandme.blogspot.com

jrs said...

beautifully written

((hugs))

findjoynow.blogspot.com

Amanda and Zach said...

This was a beautifully written post. You touched on so many things that I believe we all can understand and relate to. Thanks for being so brave to say all the things that some of us don't ever feel comfortable saying.

Amy said...

I wonder about this all the time. I have sat in support group meetings and have had people tell me that this will all go away once they put that baby in my arms. You know I don't think I want it to go away completely. I mean if it did I feel as though I would be forgetting about my 5 angels in heaven that did not make it this far. I love them very much and although the situation is not ideal they have helped make me the person I am today. I hope every one of us on this journey finds the peace and strength we need to continue.

panamamama said...

You are so brave.

foxy said...

Katie - You are an insanely brilliant writer. Seriously!

I joined the blogging community just after Project IF and have absolutely LOVED your blog. You have such a beautiful way of communicating and making sense of these emotions that are so powerful they can barely be contained. You manage again and again to find the perfect arrangement of words to gently hold together these chaotic thoughts that bounce around in my head so that I can get my arms around them.

The reality is that we will all wear scars from this experience of infertility. I knew the day that we got our IF diagnosis that I would never be the same. A year later my struggle continues, and I have found a way to co-exist with the pain, but I am not the same, I will never be the same as I was before.

I have so much respect for your decision to wear your hole, and someday you scar, on the outside. That is a brave and honest choice that we can all choose to make, when the time is right.

Finding the way to talk about this experience continues to challenge me and blogging has helped immensely. Your blog has helped me find the right words to talk to my mom and bff. Your blog has inspired me to write about my own thoughts and fears, and helped me find my own words.

Little by little I hope to join you, in time, by wearing my hole on the outside too. Thank you Katie for this post and for sharing all of your writing with us and with me.

I just read that you didn't win the Resolve award, but I wanted you to know that I think you are AWESOME. Really freakin AWESOME!