It seems like I hit on a hot topic with my last post when describing how dumbfounded I get when I realize people are literally on their third baby when I'm gearing up for yet another miserable ART procedure. I wish there was a word to describe this...feeling of being stuck on IF Island when it seems like everyone around you is moving forward with their family. I'm certainly not alone with the frustration of being constantly reminded of my own struggles by the apparent ease of pregnancy from all those around me. My logical mind knows that someone else's pregnancy success has nothing to do with me. My rational brain is happy and excited for those I love when they get pregnant. But my emotional self feels the past trauma of unsuccessful cycles reemerge. My body feels the rage and anger at the years spent, the tears shed, the money lost, and the way IF has become a complete obsession and time suck. The core of my being feels the unfairness of all many of us have had to endure.
Sometimes the head and the heart aren't on the same page.
I've been trying to work on integrating my past experiences with my current desires to be supportive and happy for others. I remind myself that I actually love babies and kids, all of them, and that my time will come. I try to convince myself that this experience--this never ending friggin' experience-- will eventually come to an end, and it will continue to change Noah and I for the better. It will make us better parents and more appreciative people.
The big problem is the bitter cycle we often get into. Someone gets pregnant--it becomes weird because no one knows what to say. My very existence makes the happy couple feel a little uncomfortable, so there's a mutual avoidance that happens. That avoidance creates distance and disconnection and more isolation. The frustration starts to swell and I'm again reminded of how lonely and dark it is here on IF Island.
So how do I break the cycle?
Sometimes I have to just sit with the feelings, whatever they are, for a while. Because that's being honest to myself. When I'm ready, I try to think of ways to build a bridge from my head to my heart. I acknowledge and understand why another pregnancy is another reminder of our long, difficulty journey, and then I remember what I am actually angry at. I'm not angry at other people for moving forward with their lives. I'm not even angry that they got pregnant, even if it was "on the first try." (Who am I kidding, that does hit a nerve, I mean...really?) What I'm angry at is the hand we've been dealt and all that it has entailed. So I sit in the anger and accept it for what it is. I validate my own feelings and then try to soften them. I think of all the beautiful things I have in my life and I start to let that anger go--I imagine it jumping onto a cloud and floating away. I hear my acupuncturist's voice telling me my baby doesn't want to come to an angry mama, and I take a deep breath into the most broken and jagged spaces of my heart, and exhale all the negativity I can.
I've been more open to hanging out with friends and their new, and not so new babies. When I'm in the moment it's totally fine and actually fun (until they start complaining about getting no sleep or something I would kill to be able to complain about. Then our visit it done. I know my limits).
The more love and fun we can let into our lives the better we are going to feel. That's a fact. I know it can be really hard sometimes and that it does take some effort but I also know how important is it to let the bad feelings go. It's always a work in progress, and I wish everyone out there struggling with this so much peace.