Tuesday, October 26, 2010

a post about giving up

I hope you haven't given up.

This is what my inbox screamed at me last Thursday afternoon.

Okay, so my inbox didn't scream at me. Nor did it write that message. But someone did, and I never knew that I could analyze six words so much.

What is that supposed to mean? Why doesn't she want me to give up? Have I given up? 

The truth is, all of these thoughts (and more) went through my mind as I stared at that message. I know it wasn't intended to be hurtful, but it sort of was. It made me feel . . . well, like I was a failure.

In a way, we are failures. We never succeeded in making a baby, and we never exhausted our options. I have that feeling of letdown every single day. Sometimes I need no reminders. Sometimes my reminder is going through my reader and seeing how many women have babies or are in their final stages of pregnancy - women who I started this journey with nearly two and a half years ago. 

And sometimes, my reminders are messages like the one above. They are reminders that I am not the only one who is disappointed. My husband is disappointed that he is not a father. My mom is disappointed that she is not a grandmother. Reminders like these expand my feeling of letdown beyond my own broken heart. They make me realize that this failure to succeed has let down others, too. 

I can deal with letting myself down, for the most part. What I can't deal with is letting down others. I can deal with accepting my fate. What I can't deal with is people thinking that I've given up. 

Putting it like that makes it so negative, so final. I'm not a quitter. I don't give up.

But would it be so wrong if I did?

34 comments:

A said...

What a great email to receive! Maybe she could send me the same email ;-) We all need reminders like that now and then. I have a whole post about giving up rattling around in my head- yet to be hammered out on the keyboard...

Marci said...

I'm a fan of Lois McMaster Bujold who said in one of her books, "We're not giving up; we're waiting for a better chance to win."

To me that resonates more strongly then an absolute "never give up, never surrender."

Sometimes it's important to take a step back and choose the location for your next battle. That preparation may be difference between a fight you aren't ready for and one you can win.

omginindy said...

I hope you don't give up, my heart goes out to you. I can't imagine, I think each of us has felt we let our families down in one way or another, keep your chin up.

AL said...

Even if you are done with treatments, giving up seems like the wrong word to use. Moving forward. Focusing on other, more controllable aspects of life for the time being. It's impossible to keep fighting infertility for years and years, to be on the roller coaster of treatments and heartbreak indefinitely.

Hugs, Katie. You're a fighter.

EC said...

I've struggled with the idea of "giving up." We aren't pursing IF treatment or adoption, and we know that the chances that we'll ever have children are slim to none. We know it could happen, but more than likely, it won't. We've accepted it, and while we wish things were different, they aren't. We may change our minds, but right now, that's our decision.

"Giving up," to me, has such a negative connotation. I like to think that what we've done is made a decision based on our set of circumstances that works best for us right now. Ideally, that's what everyone is able to do - whether that's pursuing IF treatment, starting the process of adopting, or choosing to do nothing at all.

Jen said...

I agree with Al-moving forward, etc. It's not giving up no matter what you have going on with IF or otherwise in your life. I guess something that makes you think is never a bad thing, but I can't imagine sending that email!

Alex said...

I agree - moving forward is defintely the right phrase. Analyzing your choices and going with one that makes sense for you is never a bad thing.

Rita said...

I don't think you've given up. It's not like you no longer dream about becoming a mother or are doing something to prevent pregnancy. Like others said, you're moving forward and doing the best you can with the circumstances life has given you. ((hugs))

S said...

Whether it's "giving up" or "moving on" is all in your perspective. Sometimes it is wiser to accept what is than to continue swimming against the tide.

The important question is which your decision feels like to you & your husband.

P.S. I don't know who sent you that email, but it reminds me of when I set up future reminders for a weight loss goal on a website and periodically receive similar emails mocking me with "How's your weight loss going?" Usually it's not going at all when I get the emails. Ugh.

Keiko said...

I'll play devil's advocate: maybe it's not giving up... maybe it's moving on. Just like you told me today to be strong and confident in my decision to get a 2nd opinion, if it's time to move on, you'll know. *hug*

Kelly said...

With everything that you have dealt with, no one would blame you for whatever decision you would make. I don't think it's fair to say "giving up". Hell, a person can only take so much.

That being said, you're a strong woman and the only person whose opinion truly matters in all this is Joey. Please don't add guilt on top of everything else you're dealing with.

It was very kind to receive that email and to know that you have someone in your life who is so supportive.

Stephanie said...

What a great post. My friends and family have asked the same question of me before in regards to IF. I don't think they mean harm by it, I think they don't know what else to say sometimes. They know how badly we want a baby and all the things we're going through to try and get there, but when we take breaks for our own sanity, they often perceive breaks as giving up and they don't want us to give up. I think sometimes, at least in my situation, its meant as a gentle reminder that we can persevere and get to our goal. I don't think you're giving up, you're moving forward, taking a break and living life outside of the IF bubble! Hugs to you!

Stephanie said...

The guilt can be overwhelming at times, but you have a positive outlook on things and that's all we can hold onto. One day you will have a baby to make you a mom, your husband a dad, and your mom a grandma.

Secret Sloper said...

As everyone has said, "giving up" is the wrong choice of words. This isn't like a little kid standing at the end of a high dive, throwing her hands in the air and saying "I just can't do it!" and getting down.

This is your life. This is you responding to the realities of it and choosing what will make you happiest--short term, long term, right now or forever, who knows? Your reasons for making this choice were strong and powerful. Your reasons for choosing to restart treatments or leave them forever will be, too.

Trisha said...

I agree with the others, not giving up but moving on or in a different direction. Seeking out what new opportunities await you. Many prayers for you as you continue to find your path.

lis said...

i know it sucks to be in a holding pattern (BELIEVE ME!) and i hope that you are alright. this last week has to have been traumatic, and with every setback we can feel oh, so far away from our goal. but i know that you won't be giving up, even if you change course. hope you are feeling alright.
xoxo
lis

Carli said...

First of all, what a subject line. Wow.
Katie, only you know how much that you can take emotionally. Even if you aren't currently pursing treatments, it doesn't mean that your dream to be parents has been abandoned, only that the path to get there may be a little different than you had previously thought. So what if you take a break to figure out your next step? It doesn't mean you have given up the dream.
And, should you reach a point where you decide that future treatments aren't for you, well that is just changing your dreams. It doesn't mean you have given up.

JC said...

Well said! I feel the same way right now. Like I could deal with it if we decided to stop and live child free, but I wouldn't want other people to see it as a huge failure. It would be a decision and our choice. It's whatever you guys decide and I hope people would support and cheer you on in whatever that is. I have a feeling you have more in you though. You're such a fighter! =) Lova ya!

Kakunaa said...

It's not giving up, it's moving on and making the best decision for YOU. I know others are affected, but, in the end, it's your life and your sanity. Remember that. Maybe the words were meant to be encouraging...who knows. Try to hang in there, hon.

Browniris said...

I don't think that you should be too hard on yourself. You need to do what is best for you and your husband, and not what family/friends want you to do. Hang in there!

PCOSChick said...

In no way are you giving up!! Do not ever think that. You are doing what is best for you & your DH at this moment, both physically & mentally & there is nothing wrong with that.

Huge **hugs** You are so incredibly strong, do not ever think otherwise!

Jennifer said...

This is SO one of my pet peeves. That someone would say that to you just irks me. I have had that said to me as well. My answer to the person that said it. "So what if I decide to "quit". It is my choice, not yours and you can never tell me what choice to make because you have not been through what I have been through and until you have (and I mean exactly what I have been through since we are all different) then you can't advise me - you can only listen and be there for me"

I have done a lot of soul searching around this "giving up". I have a coworker who had one pregnancy, one miscarriage and that was enough heartbreak for her, she went right to adoption and she is now (three years later) the proud mama to a beautiful girl.

I have another friend who has done multiple IVF cycles and all that came before, multiple miscarriages. That's her choice.

How can anyone ask this question? This is a very difficult place to be. There is no one answer. If I had known that my second and third pregnancies would also end in loss and terrible heartache would I have quit right then? Maybe, maybe I would. I am doing these cycles and it comes up for me EVERY time, that I am tired of it. I am tired of the heartache and fear but I push on and sometimes I wonder if that's really what's best? or if I am doing it for the fear of having given up.

Thank you for this post. It's obviously helped me to put into words some of my own issues over this question.

You are a very strong lady, you have taken tough circumstances and made a choice on how you will deal with them that is what's strong...and in no way in my mind giving up.

Another Dreamer said...

I can't stand the term "giving up" when it comes to TTC. I get highly offended now when people say it to me... I don't give up. I move on. We all move on at some point- whether it's to having a baby, adopting, living childfree, or whatever. We only have so many options for ourselves, there is only so much we can do or take as individuals.

I know people who say not to give up have good intentions (usually) but they don't get it. Giving up implies choice. What choice have we had in all this really? We can choose which options to pursue, but even then we are limited by finances, science, our bodies, and whether we can take anymore emotionally. It's not a free choice, it's hard to decide what to do.

And there's nothing wrong with moving on if that's what you feel you have to do, or what's right for you. We all do the best we can in our own situations to reach the goals we want. Sometimes those goals change, sometimes they remain the same, but how we get there is up to us. And we do the best we can.

(*hugs*) Just the way I feel about it.

I totally understand the feelings and sadness of letting others down. It's been 3.5 years here, and I feel like I'm letting everyone down. My husband, my parents, my in-laws, even my fertility doctor. It's hard.

S.I.F. said...

Katie, you are the only one who knows how much you can take and how much you're willing to put into this. Realizing you've hit your line isn't giving up, it's setting boundaries.

Honestly though, I've kind of been thinking this whole time that you were just taking a break. And we all need breaks sometimes...

conceptionallychallenged said...

I'm sorry for the painful reminder, Katie. And no, there's nothing wrong with "giving up" which, as others have said, is really "moving on" -- we need to, we can't be stuck here forever.
(hugs) Thinking of you.

Erin said...

I have been in this place so many times before over the last 30 months. I never thought the day would come where I would be pregnant but I am. It will happen for you too. I know you don't feel hopeful right now but trust me someday you will. My favorite quote by Winston Churchill is "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." This got me through so many hard times.

Rebecca said...

I definitely agree that "moving forward" is the better phrase. And, this would have both pissed me off and made me feel supported and guilty all at once. Giving up isn't a bad thing if it is the right thing for you.

someday-soon said...

No, it's not wrong to give up...and it's not wrong not to. There are no right answers in the world of IF. People try to say supportive things but many attempts fall short. Please don't be too hard on yourself about "letting others down". You are doing all you can in trying to make the best decisions for your family, which includes yourself...

serenity said...

I never thought you were giving up. I thought you were being smart; retreating for the time being so that you could figure out what the next step was.

You're not FORCING the issue, you're waiting for it to present itself to you.

But those words? I wonder if they meant giving up on hope.

Hang on, sweetie. You're in a dark time with a broken heart. I have faith that you'll find the path which will bring you peace.

xxx

Kim said...

I dont know if I would refer to it as giving up....taking a break, walking away from it or just nto actively pursuing it doesnt mean you have given up. And I can so oh clearly identify with the feeling of failure, but we aren't failures, we haven't failed anything. We just haven't succeeded yet :)

I just posted about people not checking in with us and not seeming to care about our journey, but I suppose I should be careful what I ask for because if I received an email like that, I am not sure how I would respond or how I would feel.

Crossed Fingers said...

I know it's hard not to but you shouldn't feel like you have to shoulders everyone's expectations on yourself. I'm sure they're sad they're not a father/grandparent/aunt/uncle but to place the blame on yourself for that isn't fair to you. I'm sure none of them place the blame on you.

If you want to "give up" you have that choice and that right - just because you haven't gotten pregnant and you haven't exhausted all options doesn't make you a failure - it makes it your choice on your treatment.

If a break is all you need - you should be able to take that break without beating yourself up or fearing others are beating you up in their minds. It's your life, your body, your choice to make. Make it and find peace with the choice of that moment.

*sending lots of hugs and well wishes*

My So-Called (TTC) Life said...

Katie, I could not agree w/Al more. This is not giving up, this is a change of plans, a change of strategy. This is such a fantastic blog post. I applaud you for putting so much out there to share with us all. xo

T said...

You are the only person that really knows what you can and cannot handle.
From reading your blog for almost a year now, I can tell you really are stronger than you give yourself credit. There are so many days that I read your posts and get so inspired. I don't think you are the kind of person to ever give up on anything. You may change roads, but giving up..I doubt you could ever do that.

Waiting Lisa said...

My Mom never put any pressure on me at all, but her not being a grandma was something that always really weighed on me.

I don't in any way consider what you are doing right now as giving up.

Love you.