Maybe “Out” is not enough

When it comes to infertility and loss it sometimes surprises me how in the dark society can be in this day and age. I know that the IF community often gets an a bad rap in the media. They seem to only publish articles about the fanatic and wealthy thus giving the impression that all that go through this are the same way. They do it because it sells and the money is what keeps the word going round.

It is also because for some reason infertility is treated like some sort of shameful act. To admit that our bodies can not perform the most basic human function makes us feel useless and broken. So we hide it away. As we suffer loss we hide that away too. Partly because we are afraid of the ignorant comments that opening up will get. You know the ones: “Maybe God just has a different plan for you”, “Why don’t you just adopt?”, or “Just relax and it will happen”.

It is not easy to exposes ourselves to the world in this way. This journey brings out the most dark and raw thoughts that we could experience, and to admit those makes us feel weak. But how else will the world ever learn? If those of us who suffer through this pain never open up and educate?

I consider myself pretty “out” of the infertility closet. I’ve never made a big grand announcement on Facebook or anything, but anyone in my life who talks to me and cares enough to ask how I am doing knows what we are going through. I’ve never hid that we struggled for a year and now I don’t hide away our losses. Sometimes it is hard, I can feel the awkwardness in the air whenever I refer to MB as “him” or “my son”. Most people just don’t see it that way, they hear that I lost a baby at 10 weeks and wonder how I could ever talk about him like he was “a real person”. But I refuse to refer to him as if he was no big deal. Because to me he was, and always will be.

As J and I are starting to try to change directions in our family building plans I’m realizing more and more how few people truly “get” infertility unless they have gone through it. I tend to think the best in people and it is hard when they disappoint.

The other night J posted a comment on Facebook regarding adoption. He was asking for advice from anyone who had experience with it and made a comment on how expensive it could be. 95% of the comments were supportive and full of love. But then there is one…one ignorant person who has to go and say something beyond stupid. One of his co-workers said “What is crazy…is making one of your own is much cheaper!”.

Knife. To. The. Heart.

I don’t go on Facebook very often. After my 2nd loss I went on a strike and I know it was the right decision. I still log in from time to time, mostly because some people still message me and I like to make sure that people don’t think I am ignoring them. That being said I log on maybe one every 3-4 weeks. Of course I happened to log on right after this guy posted the comment.

J got frustrated about how upset I was about it because this guy had no idea what we have gone through. I told him to imagine he had posted asking for advice about chemotherapy. In doing so he is not saying he has Cancer…but he is very much insinuating it. Then imagine that someone came along and made the comment “Well you just shouldn’t get Cancer then!”. This is an extreme example I know, but if that was the case people would be beyond upset. There are just certain things you don’t say. And this is how this guys comment felt to me.

I didn’t reply. Only because he was a co-worker though. I’ve never met the guy and even J isn’t very tight with him and the last thing I want to do is cause J issues in the work place. But if it had been anyone else believe me, I would have had said my fair share.

This is the problem though, I didn’t just want to educate this guy…I wanted to bite back. I wanted to make him feel stupid and small. I wanted to tell him that not everyone lives in a rose-colored world and that some of us lose 4 babies and have no other options. I wanted to hurt him like he hurt me.

But that is not educating. Maybe he would have felt bad but it most likely would not change his perception overall of what infertility is. So how do we change that? How can I as an infertile teach society that this is a real disease that hurts and affects more people than most realize? And how do I leave my personal bitterness and resentment out of it?

Please don’t misunderstand me, I do not judge anyone for keeping their journey quite. This is an extremely personal decision and I don’t expect for a minute that it is the “right” thing to do for everyone. Only you know if you are ready for this step or not. And if you are not that is okay. For me though, I feel like it is time for me to do more.

I want the world to understand. I want them to know that children aren’t something that just come along and I want them to know how hard it is for those of us who struggle. I want the hurtful comments to start. I’m taking a vow to be more proactive in trying to educate those around about what infertility really is. For me it is a way to honor my lost babies. And I refuse to be made to feel like they, or all of this, isn’t a big deal.

trishasig

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14 Comments

Filed under adoption, Infertility, Miscarriage, People suck, RPL

14 responses to “Maybe “Out” is not enough

  1. I respect and applaud your urge to educate the uninformed (a nice way of referring to jackasses like your husband’s coworker who say Insensitive things out of ignorance) and simultaneously honor your lost children and those of others. Sounds like your impulse to “bite back” (which is totally understandable!) is coming from a very raw and painful place within you that needs time to heal. Please give yourself that time and be mindful of the fact that you are still grieving. It might feel good temporarily to put that guy in his place (I’d like to do that for him!) but then you’d just be back to feeling bad and misunderstood and he’d be none the wiser. All I’m saying is that, right now, it may be too hard to keep the pain and bitterness you are feeling out of any attempts to educate all the idiots you encounter.
    I’d be surprised to see anyone go through what you have (and are going through) and then have the composure to present an unemotional case to those people that cannot see your unborn babies as precious lives, and just as real, important and beloved to you as their own living children!
    Your deserve to have that “satisfaction,” to help people see things through less rosy lenses, and to make your mark in the battle to educate our fertile culture on the realities of IF and ART. I believe you will make that mark. I just hope you will give yourself the time you need to heal before taking on such an important, but emotionally huge task.
    Distractions are good and help to move you through the stages of grief… think about choosing ones that are guaranteed to treat you gently.
    Wishing you strength and peace… and a social circle as free from ignorant idiots as possible… At least until you are up for the fight.

    • I agree. Now is not the time to take a huge stand. I just know in the months to come, months where we are making some life altering decisions, there are going to be so many moments that I can either ignore…or educate.

      Right now I am far to emotional for my own good. Pregnancy always heightens my emotions to the extreme and coming down from the hormones…well it is not good. Time will heal that though and when I do feel more stable I want to be ready to handle these situations.

  2. I struggle with this one all the time. I think a lot of what you’re getting at is how to promote change. It’s not easy and with topics like infertility and loss, there’s so much social sigma. But, it’s not impossible. Change requires a couple of things: 1) a group of people who believe that the future can be different and are willing to make the initial sacrifices for promoting that change and 2) the willingness to approach misunderstanding and hate with love and factual information. Thing Gandhi or MLK. As tempting as it is to meet ignorance with hate and to cut them down, we can’t do that.

    I actually think the time is right for this movement. More and more people are being diagnosed with infertility and RPL each year. More are looking for answers. And more of us are talking about it.

    So, keep pushing. Keep talking, writing and pushing for change. And as you explore adoption, talk openly about what an amazing thing it is. Finally, know you are not alone in this. And if you ever need support, just put out a call.

    For the record, that J’s coworker is a dip.

    • Thank you Cristy, as always you have such a way with words that express what I want to say better than I could. I just want to know that I am putting up a fight for change rather than cowering in the corner so I don’t make anyone feel “awkward”. I tend to be a non-confrontational person by nature as well as a people pleaser. But when it comes to this subject I no longer feel that I can hide in the shadows. Even small steps can make a huge change and that is what I am going to strive for.

      • I think most of us are naturally non-confrontational. Most people don’t get a high off of confronting others (there are certainly a few who do, but I really do believe they are in the minority), so it’s always hard to speak up instead of smiling and giving the nervous laugh. So, on that note, I promote baby steps. I’m not suggesting that you become the champion for every ALIer out there, but there is something very therapeutic about taking a moment to say “Huh, I get where you’re coming from, but that’s actually a really hurtful statement. . . .” Most of the time, especially when done in a manner that isn’t meant to humble the offender, the situation comes out okay.

        In short, I’m promoting small steps, especially as you and J are getting your bearings and healing during this time. Look at it as training and practice.

        As always, thinking of you. And proud of you for taking a stand too.

  3. Hi Trisha, i read your blogs often and have been following your struggle. I hope you dont hate me for saying this , but, are you ready to undertake such a cause? There are tonnes of idiots out there who are out to hurt infertiles like us. You are still fragile, i am just worried that you shouldnt end up hurting yourself further in the process. Are you ready to allow others to open the scab of your wounds and hurt you again?
    I apologise if I have hurt your sentiments in any way, my intentions are not to hurt. I am concerned thats all. Take care

    • No hate at all, in fact I appreciate the concern. You are right…right now I know I am not in the right frame of mind to fully tackle this issue. Not because I can’t handle people knowing, but negative comments are not really something I sure if I can take or not. When I say I am going to do more I mostly mean small things (at least for now) such as maybe posting on Facebook about infertility awareness week. Things that will firmly establish the situation that I am in but not open the door to slander.

      I wish I was strong enough to do more. I see many ladies fighting much harder than I am about this particular issue. I just don’t want to feel ashamed when I duck out of a educational opportunity because I might make someone feel uncomfortable. Does this make sense? I’m not sure if I’m making sense to even me anymore.

      I thank you for your concern. It means more than I can say. First and foremost I will protect myself.

  4. Good for you! Seriously. You have more balls than I do, and I commend you for that.

  5. This is beautifully written. I too am VERY out in real life. Everyone knows. And not just close friends. I believe it is important.

  6. samkersley

    I read your posts and they break my heart, I suffered an Ectopic pregnancy which resulted in me losing my right tube and effectively taking 50% of my fertility. So i except the road ahead to be tough to conceive. But like you i refuse to hide it, I didn’t do an announcement or anything but those who ask i tell and for me if they feel awkward that’s their look out. Why should women hide away about Losing their babies or their struggle to have babies to make society comfortable. I fully support you and i applaude you for restraining yourself you are a better person than me as i Would given that Insensitive prick a piece of my mind. when i told someone about my ectopic pregnancy they asked what that meant and If i was still pregnant and like you it shocked me that in this day and age how could they not know what it was so I explained in every detail what it was and what happens and what it means for me. One educated person down a gazillion to go. Please please keep educating the world we need more people like you in the world.

  7. I totally feel the same way. For now, spreading IF awareness through FB and Pinterest is all I can do, but for several months I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a blog that people I know can read. As soon as Hubster is on board, that is my next step. I’m proud of you and can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  8. As a woman that is infertile and adopting there is are so many people uninformed about both. Adoption is growing rapidly and how people are adopting is changing. Thirty years ago an open adoption would be unheard of and today it is very common. I try to have mercy on the ignorant because I am sure I was one of them ten years ago (before experience taught me differently). I feel your pain in wanting to respond and if my heart is in the right place then I do. Just know adoption does not take away the hurt of infertility…that is still there everyday, but it allows you to grow your family in ways you could not on your own. Praying for good news soon!

  9. Love this post. I am “out” in the real world. Not on FB or anything, but like you, anyone who matters knows what we’re going through. But – per my new blog’s post – I don’t know how to deal with IF ignorance either. It is horrible to fight this battle and then have to fight other small fights too. Best of luck to you.

  10. As we both continue to heal, I interlock my arm with yours and match your voice. And as we patiently educate those that do not understand, we honor our lost babies. xo

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