As we inch closer to the next steps in our journey, I find myself looking back at some of my first posts, looking to see the ways in which I've grown and changed in these last two years.
I was drawn to this post: Things I Wish I Could Tell People About Grieving My Infertility, first posted in April 2009. I had reposted this list from World of Winks, a former ALI blogger and now special-needs parent. I had written this post just a few weeks after I was diagnosed.
I had posted 10 items from her list and added my own commentary of where I was at that emotional stage as a newly diagnosed infertility patient. I think it's time I circle the wagons back and take a second go at it, this time making it more of my own in the process.
Instead of just wishing I could tell people about just my grieving process this time, now I'm simply just going to tell people what my experience is like with just over 2 years under my belt. Rather than just a broad, generalized list of things, this is now very personal to where I am at this moment in our journey.
Things I Want You to Know About How I Live with Infertility
1. You can talk to me about my infertility and how I'm doing. It doesn't matter whether you're a friend, family member, new reader or random internet stranger - stop by, introduce yourself, say hello. Ask me your questions. Understand that I have a right to bristle if your questions or comments are insensitive but I'll do my best to tell you why they might have been inadvertently hurtful.
2. Infertility is now a major part of who I am, but I am not defined by my infertility. I recognize that I live with infertility like any other disease. I'm on hormonal treatment for the lasting health effects of POI and plan to seek treatment to address the fertility effects. I seek fulfillment in my life through a variety of other avenues: volunteering with RESOLVE, writing, the Red Tent Temple, fishing, and a host of other hobbies and interests. In all these things, I am just as much infertile as I am woman, wife, sister, daughter, etc.
3. I'm still grieving. I may not be overt; just because I'm not having daily crying jags doesn't mean that I'm not sad about being infertile sometimes. As I've mentioned in previous posts, getting ready to begin the donor egg process has stirred up some emotions I thought I had put to rest but haven't. Coping with loss is a recurrent emotional process in the infertility experience.
4. Pregnancy and birth announcements are still painful, but not in a lingering, crippling way anymore. I still cry when I get the news that so-and-so is pregnant or that so-and-so just gave birth. I am of course joyful but also insanely - but instantly - jealous. The weight doesn't last for days now; it's a momentary near-Pavlovian response. I cry for a minute or two, I wipe my tears, and I share my congratulations. That said, if you can tell me in an email or leave me a voicemail, I find it better to cope and process later.
5. Just because I talk about infertility all the time, I'm not contagious, I'm not bad luck, and I'm not a downer. I'm just infertile. Has infertility opened my eyes to a level of skepticism and pragmatism I've never encountered before? Absolutely. But just because I "like" (relative term here) to talk about infertility, I'm trying to give voice to a rather silenced disease. Raising awareness about infertility helps me to cope and heal because I know that I'm helping others cope and heal in the process. Ironically enough, it has been that through this experience I have found my life's work.
Homework assignment time.
Head back to some of your first posts on your blog. If you blog about infertility, what stuck out for you? What did you find yourself writing about the most? What's changed since then and how have you grown? Share an old post that's stuck out for you in the comments below and tell us why it resonates with you now.