Monday, April 6, 2009

Infertility Funk: An Analysis

Thanks for the comments on my new look. I'm trying to Spring up the place. I love the new yellows and oranges that are in all the stores, but they don't really work in my house.

I am in an infertility funk cycle and I feel like I can’t get out. Sometimes I think that dealing with infertility has been worse than when my father died. I feel weird saying that because my father was a real person that I had a relationship with for twenty-one years. Shouldn't losing him feel worse than losing something I never really had?

But I think the difference is this (shown graphically no less)... When Dad died, the worst had happened and each day moving forward improved a bit emotionally. Some days were better, some days were worse. I still have days, over ten years later, when I cry about it, such as holidays or when I do something really great and I want my dad to know about it and be proud of me. For the most part feeling bad about this life experience has leveled off.

On this infertility journey it seems that each day gets worse and something bad is always just around the corner. OK, there are some good days, some more hopeful days, but by the time you start to heal emotionally from one bad cycle, there's another negative pregnancy test to mourn. I'm not going to say that a negative pregnancy test is on the same level as the death of a parent, but perhaps it's on the same level as a death of an acquaintance or coworker? After about six of these in a row, month after month, it starts to take its toll. Take the cumulative effect of years of this type of disappointment and I argue that you start to get to the same level as death of a parent.

Sure this journey can end with the greatest joy, but it can also end with the greatest sorrow. I don't know if this is a sad story in my life that ends happily or if it will be a tragedy the whole way through. And here's the scary thought... If you don't have a baby, how do you ever get closure? Where does the chart end? When does the bad feeling level off?

Sorry for the bummer, go back to enjoying the nice Spring colors now...


Tiffanie said...

i get it. totally. and thinking about the possibility that we might not get out happy ending makes me want to drive my car off of a fucking cliff sometimes so i don't have to deal w/ it. this funk sucks.

B MoM said...

excellent comparison.

Anonymous said...

It is an excellent comparison...

If you think about it, loosing a parent is a one time experience that does weaken in its pain as time goes on...yet infertility is a monthly loss that can often go on for years with or without resolution. So its totally understandable.

Anonymous said...

You are so right. When does the healing begin? As I gear up for IVF, the psychologist I had to see said that IVF is said to be more emotional than the death of someone close. Hard to believe, but at the same time. . . I AM starting to believe it. This is tough stuff. :-(

UnicornMommy said...

nicely said. I lost my mom (best friend) in 06. It happened so quick. She was there one moment, gone the next. Not really a drawn out process.

It hurt and still hurts, but it doesn't consume my days anymore.

IF does. The bitch is that I dont have my best friend here to talk to about it.

One of my college friends just found out she is pregnant. Posted pictures on facebook of her sonogram. I posted a comment. Kinda forced, but nice. And now I get updates of others congratulating her. I love her to death, and she doesnt know about my IF issues. but its so hard to see that. Another part of everyday life that is effected.

Your charts say it perfectly.

Anonymous said...

very well stated. and as a true type a person you put it into graph form :) i'm so proud.

Erica said...

I often wonder the same thing. Does this pain ever go away? I think it does, eventually. Especially if you have children.

That being said, I do have a feeling that this is the kinda pain that stays with you, like the loss of a loved one, forever. You just learn to live with it, but you'd give anything to have it (fertility/loved one) back.

Sending you a giant HUG. I love the new look too. Oranges and yellows are so fresh and springy, but I don't know if I'd put them in my house either...even if they went with the color scheme.

Leslie Laine said...

I get what you're saying completely. With the loss of anyone in your life, it happens and then you work on moving on. Infertility is one loss after another after another after another. And, it makes it hard to be receptive of success too, because you just keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Hang in there. I'm thinking about you.

areyoukiddingme said...

The yellows and oranges remind me of the time my sisters couldn't agree on what color to paint their bedroom. So they painted a couple walls yellow, and a couple walls orange (OK, it WAS the 70's) and it stayed like that until I was in college and painted it bamboo beige. It's better on a blog, let me tell you.

I lost my dad when I was 22. It was an immediate pain that faded over time to a low level wish-he-was-here feeling. Not to argue with your analysis, but I really think infertility is a pain that cannot be compared to anything. You have an idea of what your life will be like, and some things are intractable. We can anticipate that our parents will die. We can anticipate that our careers will not necessarily be static or as planned. But if you assume you're going to be married/have a partner and have some children, you sort of plan the rest of your life around it. If you find that it's just not going to happen, there's no work-around. You can't go back in time to follow a more aggressive career path or force yourself to save money so you'll have it later. You have to forge ahead on the hope roller-coaster, knowing that there is a possibility that all of this effort could come to nothing. I guess the closest similarity in pain would be a cancer diagnosis. Of course, I'm talking from a perspective of having the ability to get pregnant, but not carry a baby with out medical aid, so I may just be talking out of my ass (so to speak).

Caroline said...

It's really interesting that you compare IF with the pain of losing someone close to you.

I have experienced such an ongoing sense of grief and unresolvable loss due to IF, that I often wonder whether I am just being too sensitive.

I have even begun to read books written by cancer survivors, and can relate to their journey...The diagnosis, the fear, the shock, the depression, the anxiety, the treatment, the pain, and the ongoing search for a cure at any cost.

And it's comforting to read books written by people who have truly, deeply suffered and survived. IF makes me feel that each day is a struggle. Thanks for validating that.

Tiger said...

I so completely agree. ((SUPER HUGS)) It is a loss every month that we grieve.

Caz said...

how it seems to me is that its
1 step forward
2 steps back
with the journey that you are currently dealing with.

The loss of a parent, or loved one..
The only option you have is to step forward... and normally in your grief thats the only way to go...
When someones dies, its clear that they wan't you to move forward with your life, go on and honor there memory.
But to do that, you dont have to step back.. you can simply see what was..

I'm so sorry that you keep getting made to take those backwards step.
But I have faith, that one day you'll be able to skip forward and never have to look back.

Frenchie said...

This strikes such a cord with me. I lost my dad too, when I was a teenager--and until INFERTILITY, it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. People don't understand what I mean when I compare the two things at all. I totally get what you are saying 100%. And the other thing is, when a parent dies, you get so much support and understanding. People are more likely to be understanding when you are sad because it is the anniversary of losing your parent. People aren't so understanding with ongoing losses of infertility and the sadness they bring.

Kristin said...

I can't say anything any better than anyone before, but all I can do is wish you to feel a little less grief and a little less sadness over this. Please continue to hope that this IF journey has a happy ending. Your dad would want it that way.

Anonymous said...

I hate the unanswered questions of IF. If you KNEW you couldn't have children it would be easier to face that grief and move on (like when someone dies). But there is that little hope that THIS time it will work...and maybe it will!

Hoping the spring colors take over your day - I'm actually in the process of ripping out orange shag carpet in my house (from the 70s)! I agree orange is better in a blog!

Anonymous said...


Infertility is like losing your baby-to-be each and every month. Just when you're ready to move on, you lose the baby-to-be again.

As one who dealt with primary IF and then had a son...I'll tell you that there's still scars from IF. And, now that I'm dealing with secondary IF, those wounds are fresh again.

chicklet said...

I think the worst part of infertility is the total unknown - you don't know if you'll get your happy ending, or when you'll get it. So you have to just keep playing the game hoping you'll be a winner in the end, but wondering if you're just playing and waiting to hear you lost. It's a horrible horrible thing to go through.

Liz said...

Anything that can be illustrated by the power of graphs has to be fact, right!

I'm another one who lost a parent as a teenager (there seem to be quite a few commentors who have the same maybe the next project should be a venn diagram of those who have lost a parent young and having to go through infertility).

Where was I?

I think the reason it is more painful over time is when someone dies it is final, terrible, but final. With infertility you have to contend with hopes being raised and dash continually. And you are rarely told never (until you reach menopause), so can't start to grieve properly.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry that you are going through this. There is nothing I can say that will make it better, except that you are not alone. It's unfair, totally out of your control, and so painful. I truly wish a happy ending for you and your husband. I know it may seem tough, but keep trying. It's worth it in the end. Don't lose hope that someday you will be rocking your baby to sleep. It will happen. Just don't give up. Another thought, if IVF doesn't work, have you considered a donor IUI? It may be easier on you, medication wise, but of course introduces a lot of other issues.

humbird97 said...

I'm living this with you - I'm sad, wondering if I will ever have a biological child. I wonder if I will ever see my own eyes looking back at me. It haunts me. And now that it's almost Easter, and all the little ones will be in their cute dresses and boy clothes, I am enraged!

And if we adopt, how many more YEARS of waiting will we have to endure? No one can tell me since no one knows. I will be so glad when this journey is over.

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