Wednesday, November 2, 2011

what's in my suitcase

Next week is my 3rd blogoversary.

I've thought a lot recently about my blog and how it's changed over these last three years. And how I have changed over the last three years. In the beginning, I didn't speak to many people about what I was going through. I didn't want to talk about it. I was/am not the most outgoing person in the world, so shouting to everyone that my ovaries were jacked up seemed unnecessary. Plus, what was the point? Telling people I was infertile wasn't going to change anything. It wasn't going to make me better. It wasn't going to make me a mom. It wasn't going to take the pain away. So, I closed myself off. I shut down.

Except for here. I blogged my little heart out. And, eventually, I blogged the introvert right out of me. Blogging turned into talking. It turned into advocating, interviews, and speeches. Blogging made it seem easier to share my story.

Lately, though, I feel like I've retreated back into my shell a bit. Blogging in depth about our adoption journey so far has been difficult. I rarely go on Twitter to talk about infertility or the adoption process anymore. And when people IRL ask how things are going, I have a hard time discussing it. When some people ask me questions, I get flat out bitchy.

I've been trying hard to figure out why. Why I feel this way. Why I don't want to talk about it. Why I get offended when people ask me certain questions. Why I'm struggling.

I think part of it is the normalcy of it all. The talk about why having a baby swing is so important or how I plan to decorate the nursery. It doesn't bother me from members of the IF community, but I get turned off by pushy questions and comments from people who don't get it - who aren't sensitive. Don't get me wrong. I have no desire to be pregnant anymore. I have stated that at least a couple of times here and many times off of this blog. I've accepted my infertility, and I don't let it define me. But no matter what, it will always be with me. It will always be my baggage, even though I feel like the suitcase is at least manageable to carry now with one hand. There will always an element that makes my path to motherhood a little more complicated to wade through emotionally.

It's sort of the same sentiment I felt when writing the truth about resolutions. The pain has gotten easier. I don't get upset about baby announcements anymore. I can actually attend baby events without feeling a sudden urge to drink heavily. But the pain is still there. It's subtler, but it exists.

The other part is the happiness. I get it. People are happy. We are happy - believe me. But adoption isn't all happy. Like infertility treatments, it comes with baggage. Another suitcase for me to lug around. While people are busy getting excited about meeting our future child, we're busy talking through tough details like wait times, gender, race, drug use, and mental illness. And while I would love to spend every waking moment of the day educating people about these issues, I don't have the time or the energy to do it. I don't always have it in me to counter every person's rosy picture with the harsh reality. I don't want to always be viewed as a Debbie Downer for tempering the joy.

It reminds me a lot of what I went through with infertility treatments. Every time we had an IUI, our family and friends would get excited. This is it, they would say. You'll be pregnant in a couple of weeks! And every time, I wasn't pregnant. Not only did I then have to deal with the disappointment I felt over the latest failure, but I also had to deal with the disappointment everyone else felt, too. So imagine my fears now when there are much bigger stakes and concerns. Of course, there's the potential for a disrupted adoption. But there is everything beyond just bringing a "cute baby" home. There are bonding issues, integrating a child of potentially a different cultural background into our lives and our community, the feelings of loss our child will go through during his or her life as an adopted person. Because adoption IS a loss. It's not all sunshine and roses, and I'm not sure too many people understand that.

So these are the burdens I carry. In a lot of ways, I feel like Tom Hanks in that shitty movie, The Terminal. (My apologies if you liked that film.) Stuck, carrying around all of my luggage, waiting for someone to tell me what the next move is. And - above all else - unable to communicate with anyone.


Jenn said...

Happy *early* blogoversary! I'm a long-time lurker, and I want to say I've appreciated your openness and honesty. Due to infertility (unexplained) my husband and I may be pursuing the adoption route in a year or two, as well. I know that it too will be an emotional journal. I'm rooting for you, and thinking of you!

Jenn said...

(emotional journey*, not journal! oye!)

thewrightday said...

happy early blogoversary! I don't know a lot about the process of adoption so I appreciate your honesty about the emotions (whether good or bad) that go into it. It's the same way I feel about talking about my infertility. I hope that others could be like me - that I appreciate the information you give on here - when they ask about what it's like to be infertile. I don't want to assume anything about other's experiences and it frustrates me when I feel others are assuming things about my own living child free experience. I think you should be as open or closed (for lack of a better word) as you want. Share what you want to share, and keep private what you feel is best private. If people are really your friends they will understand.

Shannon said...

I found myself seething the other day when someone during a conversation about our upcoming one year wedding anniversary asked if we had had the baby talk yet. REALLY? talk? Yeah I wanted to punch him in the throat. Then I realized, I don't talk about it. so how would he know.

Rita said...

Happy (early) 3rd Blogoversary!

Katie, you have been such an amazing advocate for raising infertility awareness. You have educated so many people and continue to do so. Not only that, but you have been such a strong supporter of your friends going through infertility. I'm not sure I could have made it through everything I went through without you holding my virtual hand.

I get that after all this, you're just tired. You may not have the energy to educate everyone about infertilty AND adoption. And I think that's ok. It's not your job. You should be as private as you need to be about this. Because it's really nobody's business but your's and Joey's.

As always, I save the biggest (((hugs))) for you. :)

Loren said...

Hi Katie,

I have not written in a long time but just want you to know that I am listening and I do understand- and you should not have to discuss...It is ok to be still I think and not have to say a word. In those still moments, great things come up....L

myunassuminglife said...

Hey Katie,

I'm not sure if I've commented on your blog (shame on me)... but I was emailing all the tweeps that shared their emails with me, when I came across yours ... I miss you ladies, and am glad to read that you are being so realistic - even though it may seem pessimistic to others.

Adoption isn't "an easy solution" to infertility... it is one way to grow one's family, but it also means parenting will be different...

But - You are one amazing woman - and although the road ahead isn't all sunshine and daisies - you are going to be an amazing mother!!And there are plenty of sunshine and daisies in your future!!
- and it's not your job to make ignorant people understand that... share when you can, educate when you're able...but at the end of the day - it's your life, your decision, and when you don't feel up to it, it's okay to take a step back.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for being honest about adoption. I have always felt this way too "Because adoption IS a loss. It's not all sunshine and roses, and I'm not sure too many people understand that." and have gotten crap from people who have no idea about it or any of what we've been through and want me to blow sunshine.

Geochick said...

Fantastic analogy. I've shut down a bit since we were placed with Baby X. One thing I've learned is that you can't educate those who won't listen, and it's surprising who won't listen. It's exhausting after trying to educate about infertility.

It Is What It Is said...

I have an "I'm feeling so burdened" post brewing, too.

Happy blogoversary!

I sometimes worry that as I get "better" with things (celebrity pregnancy/birth/adoption stories no longer bother me, seeing and/or being amongst pregnant women in Target doesn't make me run for another department, I've thrown umpteen baby showers since hopping off the TTC train 2 years ago) I'll just decide to stop pursuing #2 altogether, that I'll have grown so accepting that I'll lose the drive. I don't know, that might not sound normal but it is sometimes how I feel. Like, if I really and completely come to grips with never being pregnant again and the fact that we are 1 year into our adoption wait, I will just throw in towel completely.

PS said...

Sometimes you will have days like this. Sometimes they turn into weeks. Know that you have support for these days. You should also know that by you sharing your thoughts and your pain you are touching and changing lives that you may not be aware of yet. Know that this is also part of YOUR journey and perhaps find a little bit of comfort.

JustHeather said...

Happy early blogoversary.

Thank you for your candid post. It is exactly how I have felt many times during this journey (that isn't over yet). It too took me a while before I felt I could really start talking about how and why my body is failing me and even now, I am still selective.

*big hugs* I know IF is difficult and I can only imagine how adoption is too.

Rebecca said...

It's why I never told my family about what we have been going through. People are just really insensitive sometimes when they're trying to be nice.

And, no, the baggage will never really go away. Its contents will change, but it will never be completely gone.

Massie said...

Just came across you, and wanted to say that I have enjoyed reading, especially about your views on adoption. Good to see somebody out there being honest!!

Lindsay said...

I totally relate to the wavering back and forth between wanting to talk/not talking and I don't think there is one right answer when it comes to dealing with any of this stuff. Continued luck in your journey!

Erin said...

I cannot even tell you how much I identify with your post. We are also adopting and so many people are either insensitive or just don't get how hard it is. It truly is exhausting to educate everyone, so I often just let things slide or smile and nod instead of launching into discussions about why we've made certain choices. Now that we're in a match I'm finding it SO hard to be nice to nosy people. I don't want to always be the Debbie Downer when people are excited, but I want people to understand that papers are not signed yet and that baby is not in my arms, yet. You're right - it's not all sunshine and rainbows and it's SO hard to communicate that. I understand how you feel and, while I'm not happy someone else feels the same way I do, it's nice to know I'm not alone.

Tammy said...

You do such a beautiful job of communicating honestly. I love that. There are so many people who I wish would read your blog. I can only imagine the pain and the baggage that you carry with you. I was just talking to my husband the other day about something you said a while back about feeling the pain even after you've reached a "resolution," whether it's pregnancy, adoption, or something else. It's amazing . . . you were SO right about that. I still feel hurt by insensitive things people say, and I still get upset when people act like having a family is a given rather than a gift. Thanks for keeping things real.