Saturday, February 25, 2012
There was a recent post that seems to have caused a lot of stir in the community.
When I read that post, I did not get offended at all.
It could be because I have lived in that place she was coming from.
It could be because I have felt the same kind of hurt and defeat that fueled that post. Not a defeat of giving up a dream but the defeat that only failed IVF cycles can bring.
And I am a little shocked at the backlash over this.
I am not going to link the post or mention the blogger.
I am just going to write about some of the issues that resonated with me.
Warriors come out and play...
When I first started out on this journey I felt so utterly alone.
I felt like I was the only one going through this.
I felt like there was no one out there who could possibly understand.
I felt like an Outsider.
I felt as if only I have ever had to face such a cold, harsh reality...
I may never have children.
It's a crippling fear and with the fight or flight instinct most of us choose to fight.
And I did choose to fight.
I fought like hell.
And I found a community of women fighting the same battle.
I had found my warriors.
I was no longer the Outsider.
The "fertiles" became the Outsiders because they would never know what it's like to fight and all they would ever be able to do is take it for granted.
And you could laugh it off when a "fertile" announced a pregnancy, complained about morning sickness or a talked about an "oops" pregnancy.
We could point to the Outsiders and actually feel sorry for them because they would never be able to appreciate what they have the way we, the warriors, could.
Because they didn't know. They have no clue of the magnitude of the situation and they could never understand. And we told ourselves we would care more, appreciate more and love stronger.
And your girls, your sisters, your warriors...they know. They fully understand. They are there in the trenches with you.
And there is this huge feeling of solidarity.
The feeling that we were all in this together.
We're all warriors fighting the same battle.
But what happens when you become battle weary?
We no longer get support?
Or when one of our sisters succeeds!
Sensitivity and compassion are lost?
You made it!
If it were me I would be screaming from the roof tops.
And you do!
And you should!
You should be over the moon happy and not feel the need to defend the means by which you got there.
Maybe it's something like "survivors guilt" which causes everyone's defenses to go up.
You fought so hard and you made it.
And I don't blame you. I don't fault you.
But for those of us left behind being within hearing range of that celebration magnifies our own battles. Our own losses.
It plunges us into a place where doubt of our ability to achieve the same success clouds our ability to truly embrace the victory.
"You can't win. You know that, don't you? It doesn't matter if you whip us, you'll still be where you were before, at the bottom. And we'll still be the lucky ones at the top with all the breaks. It doesn't matter. Greasers will still be Greasers and Socs will still be Socs. It doesn't matter." - The Outsiders
So now who becomes the Outsiders?
Those of us left behind?
Those of us still fighting?
Or those of us who have won the battle?
There is definitely dissention in the ranks.
A division among our own.
Aren't we the ones who are supposed to understand and show the most compassion?
Wasn't the Outsiders, the "fertiles" who were insensitive and didn't understand?
Weren't they the ones that callously threw around pregnancy and baby talk that ripped our hearts in two?
And now we are attacking our own because a limit has been reached?
This dissention, this division I didn't understand when I was a new soldier, ready fight and full of the promise of victory.
I remember early on in my journey one of girls left the community. I checked in on her to see if she was okay and she told me that all the new pregnancies and ultrasound pictures and baby talk was just too much for her to take.
I didn't understand. At the time all the talk and seeing your fellow sisters win gave me hope. It fueled my determination to keep going.
After 10 cycles, 2 pregnancies and 2 miscarriages I also know the complete devastation that only IVF can bring.
Every BFP, every ultrasound, every complaint about morning sickness, every mention of bellies and nurseries fills the empty void within my being with the loss of a million dreams.
A pain so intense that it can bring me to my knees.
As happy as I am that our fellow "soldiers" were able to win the fight, it still hurts that I am still fighting. And it brings a whole new level of devastation that one could only imagine because unfortunately for us, those of us left behind, we must face the very real possibility that it may never happen for us.
It is beyond battle weary.
I myself have shouted from the roof tops that I would never give up.
I have felt many times that I was done with IVF. I have been angered and enraged that mine didn't work and I was putting myself through such physical and emotional torture. I was infuriated that I have spent nearly $50,000 (Oh yes you read that correctly) on treatments and my arms are still empty.
IVF has become a bone of contention for me.
I am contemplating my ability to charged into battle again.
And it makes me contemplate the risk of going forward with no guarantees.
I dread starting a cycle and all the shots and all the medications. I can see the effect it has had on my body and my appearance.
But I can also see IVF for the true miracle that it really is.
Really without it, what options would a single gal of "advanced maternal age" have?
On my last FET I remember watching these 3 shining dots on the ultrasound screen as they burst into my uterus like shooting stars and even though that FET failed I was overcome by the miracle of it all.
It blew me away.
But I am in full retreat right now.
And really it isn't whether or not I could face another failed cycle. I am actually more afraid of my cycle working and miscarrying again.
That I could not face.
And as I try to decide my next moves, I try to find my support base and realized that I have truly been left on the battle field alone.
My friends who have won, who have rightfully moved on to a place where this pain is a distant memory. I cannot join their ranks. I do not belong. And their celebration becomes my heartache.
I can't march with the new soldiers joining the fight. Their optimism becomes my dissention.
It really does becomes divided.
I wish it wasn't so.
So who are the Outsiders now?
"You can't win. ..you'll still be where you were before... It doesn't matter. Greasers will still be Greasers and Socs will still be Socs. It doesn't matter." - The Outsiders
In truth The Outsiders are the battle weary. The ones that are left behind.
*By the way I am not giving up, I am just trying to find the best way for me to achieve motherhood.