facing the demon

I’ve been trying to identify the many emotions that have been swelling up these past few weeks. It’s been a process, to say the least. It’s hard to articulate where I am and where I’ve been, but I must to get to where I’m going…

It’s been almost 6 months since our failed IVF, nearly 3 since our FET. A while back I wrote how I’ve felt lost without living in two week increments, how I’ve struggled to let go of the hope that we could ever conceive on our own. Those first few cycles months were disorienting, because really I haven’t known any other way to live for more than four years. This has has been my life, fucked up as it is for so many reasons. 

I’ve since come to the realization that in all likelihood we have zero chance of conceiving outside a petri dish or of me carrying a healthy baby to term. Even when we had everything going for us with IVF/ICSI, it didn’t work. Since we’ve decided we cannot continue to toss what’s left of our precious resources (financial or other) down the black hole of treatment, we’ve had to accept that we will never have a biological child. Ever.  

This harsh reality is made clear every day. There is no escaping it. We will never have the family we envisioned, with children borne of our love, children through which we might see glimpses of our ancestors and siblings, nieces and nephews, children who might reflect the most beloved qualities we see in each other. 

There will be no fantasy baby, no miracle baby, no oops baby. Those days are long gone. 

It fucking sucks, to be sure. Yet it’s true. It’s odd to say it, still, because for so long I tried so hard to believe otherwise. I convinced myself to have faith in the chance. I allowed myself to feel hope. I envisioned and tried to will a different outcome. Now, I’ve had to accept that it just isn’t going to happen. To delude myself into thinking, wishing or hoping otherwise is simply to prolong the inevitable. And it would be torture. 

This thought saddens me, beyond words. It also frustrates and angers me, that nothing has been easier. Every step has been a struggle. I know it (the anger) will pass, I will work through it. It’s only natural to feel this way. I am still accepting, so I can keep moving forward.

Of course this is a loss that must be grieved. It’s the five stages of grief and more, all over again. I’ve been through it before. But it’s not that simple. We know grief is not linear. I won’t simply move through the stages and viola! acceptance!

I even anticipated this, grieving my fertility, much like you might anticipate grieving a dying loved one. But nothing can really prepare you for such a loss, or me anyway. Just because I know something to be true doesn’t make my heart embrace it any easier. 

Of course I grieve the children we will never have. Am I supposed to get over that?  I think I just have to move past it. I’d really like to hear your views on this… 

The truth is, I’m so tired of feeling this way. I’m tired of feeling like a failure as a woman, defeated by my body. I’m tired of feeling powerless and hopeless. I’m tired of feeling sad and resentful. I’m tired of being misunderstood, of feeling guilty about my feelings. I’m tired of being pitied, and feeling pitiful in return. I’m tired of people tiptoeing around our infertility. I’m tired of missing my angel boy, and I can’t stand that the air gets sucked right out of the room if I so much as mention him to anyone other than M. I’m tired of feeling so often like I’m just a breath away from tears. I’m tired of sounding like a broken fucking record.

I’m so tired of the wrath of this demon infertility. I just want to get on with my life. And I want it to be different. Now I must be the change I wish to see in the world, as a wise man once said.  

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~ by luna on June 18, 2008.

17 Responses to “facing the demon”

  1. I was especially struck by your comments about anticipating your grief, like you would a dying loved one. I know that feeling so well, like if maybe I just prepare myself enough for the end of the road, it won’t hurt so bad when I get there. But watching you face it reminds me that there is no preparation, no bracing yourself for that final negative. I still just can’t imagine the final answer being “NO.”

    I understand your exhaustion so well. I can’t imagine life that isn’t “about” my infertility right now. But I dream about it.

    Are you finding some measure of peace as time goes on? Do you have to keep reminding yourself that it’s over? Do you see glimmers of yourself in the mirror again?

    I want so much for you to claw your way out of this hole, to step into the light again. Because if you can do it, maybe I can too.

  2. Wow… this hit me deep in the gut. Especially the wanting to get on with your life. Today I realized that the only thing I’m looking forward to — in my entire life here — is the next treatment cycle. Everything else is this big, soul-sucking dread and darkness. And I’m even on anti-depressants! Yikes.

    Lately it’s seeming to me like most infertiles DO get pregnant eventually. And often with twins. But then some of us don’t — and that makes me feel so much more alone and lost than when normal fertile people get pregnant in a way. I don’t know why.

    Anyway, sorry to pout on your blog 🙂 Just thinking a lot lately about how to cope with treatment not being the magic key it’s supposed to be. It’s scary to realize and no one really talks about this part. Most of the people who write books had a happy ending.

    I know there’s a happy ending for all of us out there, somewhere. It’ll just be interesting seeing what that is, exactly. As always, thanks for making me think, Luna!

  3. The courage to stand up straight and take it like a grown up totally sucks. Every bit of it. Every part of the grief, every part of the new normal, every part of the tragedy and sorrow that is infertility and baby loss. Every bit of it.

    And I’m sorry that you are here. I’m sorry that the new normal isn’t the normal you dreamt of. And I’m sorry that there aren’t any better words for me to say.

  4. It’s the most difficult thing to deal with and to accept. I’m not sure I feel that people pity this loss. I just think people don’t understand it. They do not understand how the grief simply rips your guts out until you simply don’t know what to do anymore. It will get better. But it will never go away. It’s like losing a limb that nobody else can see. But you will get through it eventually. And I’m standing here with you.

  5. It sounds a bit to me as though you’ve hit a wall, read the writing on it, and to belabor the metaphor have turned away and are now contemplating which way to go. And just that act of turning around is enormous — it means you’re not beating your head anymore.

    I know you’re tired. And god, those dreams die hard. But I catch here a faint whisper of a new path beckoning. And sometimes in IF and loss the hardest thing is recognizing that another path does indeed exist.

    Now I’m madly looking about myself.

  6. Oh, Luna. There’s so much here that resonates for me. I am not where you are yet, but I feel it, I feel tired of being tired, tired of the grief, of feeling the loss everyday. All of it.

    I wish you strength and peace.

  7. It sounds like you are now searching for a new path . . . a different dream.

    Two & 1/2 year ago I would have never envisioned the place I am at . . . it looks nothing like I ever imagined. It was so much harder, more brutal, more cruel, more painful than I could have dared I’d be capable of surviving. The “journey” that people wax on about, quite frankly, SUCKED.

    But the different kind of dream, the one we proactively and vigorously pursued . . . it is special and beautiful. And almost upon us.

    I feel strongly that you and hubby will find that different path to take. And it will be a different kind of beautiful and special.

  8. A word about grieving.

    The five steps make it sound like it’s a linear process.

    But for me it was spiral. I’d think I was over it, but it would come back around again.

    Each time with less intensity.

    Let me know what I can do, Luna. It is such a tough realization to face.

  9. As others have already said, so much of what you write here resonates with me. There is a part of me that has had enough of it all. I’m fed up with being infertile. I’m tired of the seemingly endless round of what seem to be increasingly futile treatments, scans and surgeries. There are moments when I wish that I could simply walk away from it all, and start building a life for myself that doesn’t revolve around the failings of my reproductive system.

    But it is so incredibly difficult to let go of one’s hopes and dreams for a child.

    As you say, grief isn’t a linear process, but rather a continual process of adjustment (I rather liked Lori’s idea of the spiral). It may become easier to live with over time, but that isn’t to say that you every truly ‘get over’ a loss such as this. It’s an old cliche, I know, but sometimes all you can do is take things one moment at a time.

    Please know that we are all here for you, both as you mourn for your loss, and also as you begin – however tentatively – to look to the future.

  10. Our society/culture/whatever you want to call it has no real paths for grieving. It’s all ceremony, psychology, and then silence, because so few folks (in the US at least) have a grip on their own terrifying mortality. So when a cherished child and dear future dies, they flee. I feel very bereft of any lineage to help me place my anger and despair. I wish I had the wisdom of my foremothers to guide me…

    I was most impressed by your fire in the last two paragraphs, that fighting spirit. I can’t help but think that that spark will see you through the darkness.

    Sending you all my love, and whatever light I have!

  11. I read something a few years back, early into the struggle of infertility… The loss of being able to conceive is similiar to having cancer. Now, I am not sure I buy into it because cancer is so different (and I would never want to minimize how heartbreaking cancer is), but I think the severity of the message rings true. It is life altering.

    Do you just get over it? No. How can you possibly just get over something you expected would be a part of your life?

    Yes, grieve it. Linear or not. People’s expectations or not.

  12. So much of what you wrote resonates with me. I remember well that feeling of total fatigue, of coming to the end of the ttc road & wanting to get on with the rest of my life… but also not really knowing what that was going to look like. (“NOW what do I do??”) In some ways, I’m still trying to figure that one out. But there’s been some nice scenery along the path so far. ; )

  13. This post made me cry. I’m going through the same stages of grief, and I love the way you articulated the reality of what we are missing. I wish I knew how to embrace acceptance. I’m just not there yet. Sending lots of hugs your way.

  14. This post took me back in time…so familiar, so poignant, so true. It does get better, slowly. Keep allowing yourself to think and feel and reflect. You’re not alone.

  15. Staring into my own darknesses, what I’ve decided is this: Acceptance doesn’t mean accepting the loss. Acceptance means accepting the grief.

  16. Trying to accept that you will never ever have a biological child when this has been your highest wish is harder than anyone who hasn’t been there can know. I don’t mean to belittle other types of grief, which are surely devastating too, but this is truly heart breaking and rocks the foundations of your life. I hope you find a light to follow soon. I’ll be there with you. xxx

  17. congratulations on writing this post. it is beautifully written, and i am proud of you for being so honest with yourself. no, waiting and hoping and having no control is truly ‘for the birds’. and yes, you have every right to grieve your current state of infertility and grieve the children that you feel you may not have. and yes you will probably grieve for quite a while, as those hopes and dreams were absolutely real to you and actually resulted in your now lost precious baby.
    i also applaud you in moving forward and considering adoption. honestly i would love to pursue that, but at this time my husband does now want to. So far, i have had no problem conceiving, but do have genetic issues and we have a 1 in 4 chance of passing on a defective gene to any of our conceived children. so yes, even when you can conceive easily, you can still have issues like i do. because of our reccurrence risk, i wish my husband would consider donor sperm, but no he won’t. at least not yet.
    about your post refering to your ‘friend’ (just kidding 🙂 I would tell her to be honest and not ashamed. I worked at an adoption agency and read countless letters from adoptive parents and children. they really don’t focus on how they became a family, they are just glad they did.
    well i think, that’s enough of a post for one evening.
    I am truly happy that you are in a better position now and have regained some control back.
    HUGS
    your friend,
    jaded me

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