Infertility, Our Infertility story

Slowing backing away

September 18, 2011

These days, it’s become impossible for me to relate to or interact with women at the beginning of their infertility journey and lots of others at any stage for that matter.  That’s because we feel completely left behind and like total outcasts. We are the last people standing. Six years of infertility and loss leaves you in a very different place than when you started.  We started with hope, enthusiasm, strength and determination, but those emotions have been replaced with grief , fear, despair and bitterness.  It’s not a pretty place. It’s hard to even imagine our first few years now. I have always been happy to help others in any way I could, but at this point I am just too tired and spent to root for myself, much less anyone else.

The best way I can describe it is by comparing it to the interactions I’ve seen and read about amongst soldiers.  There are the hardened veterans who have been in battle for a long time and there are the green replacements that have never seen combat before.  The veterans know what is in store for them and know that many of them are naive to what’s about to happen.  There’s the feeling of  “Let me protect you,” but also a feeling of “You have no idea what we’ve been through.”

To see people with success at any level right now is hard because it’s a reminder that everyone but you is having children.  The girls that get pregnant in the back of the pickup truck at 18.  The couples that decide they want to have a kid in September, so they get pregnant in January.  (Gag.)  The people who try for for 6-9 months, freak out, and then promptly are expecting.  The couples that get pregnant on IUI #1 or IVF#1.  And, getting into pathetic territory here.  The couple that tries and tries with many IVFs and finally gets pregnant.  The girls who have several miscarriages and finally make it the whole 9 months.  The couples that lap you and are having their second or third child since you’ve been trying for your first.  And, the “infertile” couple that’s on their second child since you’ve been trying for your first.  Oh, and don’t forget the couples that can afford adoption and are waiting families.   Like I said, EVERYONE but us. Even the really bad infertile and repeat loss people.  Eventually they get things resolved.

There are very few people on this planet at the moment that I identify with.  We are in a very sad, hopeless group.

Sometimes, everything is just painful.

And, right now, even participating in this community has become painful.  It’s doing me more harm than good right now.  I have participated in many forums and many support groups and seen TONS of “infertile”  girls go on to have healthy babies.  Right now, nothing is an inspiration to me.

We are no longer trying to conceive.  We’re on a permanent break because we don’t have any other choice.  And, yes, even my doctor doesn’t recommend that we keep trying.

And, I’m having a hard time accepting it.

In fact, my instincts aren’t firing on all cylinders lately.  I went to fill out paperwork for a new doctor the other day and there was a question that said, “Are you pregnant or trying to become pregnant?”  And, without thinking I checked “Yes.”  Are you kidding me?  Trying to become pregnant??? Hell yes….for forever.  But, sadly, that is not the right answer now.  We are, in fact, not “trying” to become pregnant any more, nor have any dilusions of doing so. In fact, at this point, it would be ridiculous to try under any means, because of the unexplained repeat pregnancy loss.   And, trust me, I know we aren’t trying.  But, why is my first instinct to say yes?  It’s just been so long that it’s hard to imagine we aren’t I guess.  Clearly, I haven’t really accepted this yet.

And, last week, I was cleaning out my closet, and found a kind of blousy top that I thought I should just get rid of .  But then, I thought, I will just save it for maternity clothes.  And, then, two seconds later, I thought what the hell are you thinking?  That ship has sailed.  This has been weird for me, that part of me isn’t with the program and can’t grasp what’s happening.

So, I am slowing backing away if I can.  I will try to reclaim my life that infertility has stolen from me and try to heal.   I want to try to focus on other things.  I want to pretend at least for a while that I have never even heard the word infertility.  Not possible, but I can pretend.  I won’t stop talking about this part of my life, but I am going to try to not dwell on it if that makes sense.

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  • jaclyn

    Good luck! We will be rooting for you in your adoption journey, and wish you and your family all the best!

  • jess

    Hugs to you. We wrote very similar posts this week.

  • Good luck, Whitney! I look forward to continuing to follow your journey.

  • Being in this community is only helpful while it’s still, well, helpful. If you’re not getting what you need out of it, then of course your energies are best invested in other paths to help you heal.

    I just want to say in regards to your commentary about getting into pathetic territory with the groups of people who it pains you to see have success, I think you need to give yourself a break on that. No matter what someone else has been through, it can still be painful to see them have success when you don’t. That’s not pathetic; that’s inevitable.

    Best wishes for everything, Whitney.

  • Next month will be my 9th year of TTC. I have and probably still am feeling the same way. I had to back off from the amazing IF community because I had to try to find a way back to me. Plus, it just became too darn depressing to try to stay so positive with everyone. The classic “it’s not you-it’s me” breakup. (((hugs))) I found trying to remember what I use to love helpful. I wish I could say I’ve found the solution but sadly I still struggle. We started the adoption process earlier this year. It has been a roller coaster. I wish you the best of luck. Sending good vibes your way.

  • Jay

    I think what you are planning to do is a very healthy and sensible thing. I’ll miss your voice though! I wish you all the very best of luck with adoption and also just healing from everything you have gone through. Hugs.

  • Nic

    I am so sorry for eveything you have gone through and still going through.
    You need to do what is best for you, and if that is backing away, then go for it.
    Good luck with everything

  • I think this is a good move. Sometimes you just have to know your mental limits and back away from those things that ware standing in the way of making progress. Good luck to you. I will be thinking of you and wishing you peace and happiness.

  • Sending you love as you continue on in your journey. I think that you have to do what is best for you, and only you. Hugs!

  • Whitney, I can never imagine everything you have been through and you are only an inspiration to me. I think the strength that you have is what is giving you the wisdom to back off.
    I was at one stage involved in childless forums until I realised it wasn’t what I needed.
    Your post is so touching, so real and raw, I only wish you all the best and send you the greatest respect and love.

  • Just wanted to share with you about my sister. She and her husband tried to have a baby for TEN YEARS!! Now they have three. The first was adopted privately. The second and third were adopted through foster care. My husband and I also did foster care. It’s not for everyone. But for some people it is a great fit and good for those who can’t afford private adoption.
    Anyway, I understand that the last thing you want to hear is advice. Believe me, I’ve been there, after having 4 miscarriages myself. So please know that I’m not trying to fix anything or give advice. Mostly I just want to comment and say that I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. I’m sending love and encouragement to you!

  • I think this makes total sense to want to back away. I feel like I’m on my way out as well, being left behind by all those that made it work (I, too, have been lapped), even though I’ve only been at this for 2 years. I think it’s good to step back, I think it helps get us to a healthier place. And also? I did the exact same thing this weekend…I looked at a blouse that would be perfect for maternity and didn’t want to get rid of it just in case. But then deep inside, I don’t think I’ll ever get to wear it and I should just get rid of it.

    Thanks for being so honest. This is such a difficult road. Hugs.

  • I come and go in the online IF community. I definitely empathize with feeling left behind. And I have less-than-healthy reactions when people, even IF people, get a BFP and rejoice as if that’s the final milestone. So I get feeling jaded.

    As others have said, the community is only helpful if it’s, well, helpful. Spending time finding *you* is the most important thing you can do, and we support you doing it!

  • I am so sorry, Whitney. It is not fair that you should have to experience this pain. I wish there was some way to lessen it for you or at least lighten it. I can relate to your feelings, so much. If you need a listening ear, please know you can always email me. I know how hard it is to stay afloat among all the others who are celebrating successes and resolution. Here for you… xoxo

  • M&M

    “There are very few people on this planet at the moment that I identify with. We are in a very sad, hopeless group.” I just want to say that I am part of that group too, and I don’t identify with many people. I am sorry for all of us in that group. We’ve been TTC for 4.5 years. 3 IUIs. 5 IVFs. Broke and broken now. I have been through all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, but never, ever have I arrived at acceptance. I think that has made it worse for me. If I could just accept, maybe I could move on with my life. I am stuck in depression right now, but I am seeking help through a counselor. I hope one day we’ll both be able to move on with our lives.

  • Here from ICLW and I find myself nodding in agreement with everything you say.

    We are in the midst of adoption – I’m not quite positive how we will do the money part of it, but I keep telling myself we’ll find away. After all these years and so many losses, I don’t even give a crap anymore about the cost – I will figure it out like I’ve figured stuff out up to now.

    I can’t seem to make myself stop, though I know it probably in all likelihood would be healthier for me, so I admire you for focusing on other things. Sometimes I feel so singularly consumed, and no one else gets it. But if I stop, then I feel like all hope is gone.

  • Pingback: Moving forward on the adoption front « Just Another Beautifully Irrational Life()

  • Kim

    Whitney I’m so sorry that you’re in this dark place. I second everything “theportofindecision” said about backing away from the community as well as giving yourself a break for how you feel about others’ success. You’re in my thoughts.

  • St. Elsewhere

    I hope your intention in backing away to reclaim some of the lost you in this infertility jungle would be totally fulfilled. You know best.


    iclw #39

  • I feel the same way. I have stopped following women on their blogs who are pregnant or also very early on in their ttc. It just seems so far away from me and I definitely can’t relate. Seeing success is very hard because I still wonder, why me? Ya know? I’m sorry that things are so painful for you right now. I get it. Truly. Do what you need to do, take the space you need to take, and know we are here when and if you need us.

  • Whitney, I’m sitting here in tears relating to so much of your post – and even after only 2.5 years, I can feel and understand that struggle of watching all these other people move on but you… it’s such a hard feeling.

    I want you to know that wherever your path takes you, you are an amazingly strong and courageous woman. I’ll never forget reading your posts for Advocacy Day and being so proud of you without ever having met you. And I can finally confess that yes, yours was the post I voted for Best Blog this year, b/c it really was stunning and so well-written.

    I promise I’ll keep reading if you keep writing, and I totally respect what you and your husband need to do to keep yourselves emotionally happy.

    Savor this break. Live in the moment. Be well.

    I’ll be thinking of you and waiting here whenever you come back. *hug*

  • Hi from ICLW. I understand what you are saying…so much. I do. And I’m sending you virtual hugs…lots of them!

  • Jo

    I wanted to pop in and say I get it. We’ve been TTC for nearly a decade, with no end or solutions in sight. Three losses, no more money…and no ability to accept that maybe this won’t work for us. I’m finding myself unable to blog because I am just beaten down by everyone else’s success. You are so right — it’s no longer inspiring, just frustrating.

  • I feel completely left behind. I can’t even be supportive to those that I know have struggle but made it b/c I am still struggling. It seems that there are so many girls on my Fertility Board getting pregnant and with every pregnancy it feels like my chances are diminishing.

  • Popped over from SQ.

    Though we were ultimately successful on our one and only treatment, IVF (we went straight from ‘we’re having trouble’ to ‘IVF is your best option’), 8 1/2 years passed.

    It is beyond soul-crushing to sit in limbo while friends, neighbors, strangers, you watch them have babies over and over and over again and there is no connecting to it. Infertiles who have long waits…there are only a few of us still blogging now. Happily most of us have kids, from IVF, surrogacy, adoption.

    Parenthood doesn’t take infertility away, but it makes it a hell of a lot more bearable.

  • I totally understand you wanting to step away. I think of you often and just sending you lots of hugs and love. I’m so sorry for the pain you are in and the limbo…I can only imagine.

  • Kelly

    I am also so sorry for the pain you are enduring and have endured. I am just like you and none of us could have ever imagined being here. The feeling of loss is like a constant feeling of death with no finality. I’ve gotten to the point where I feel as though I need to have a funeral for my unborn child and the death of my life long dream. I’m going to include the beautiful treasures I would have given my child along with a letter to the child I always thought I would have loved and cared for. I’m hoping that this will help me get closure on a long and heartbreaking journey. I understand how it feels.

    • Whitney Anderson

      Kelly, I’m so sorry. I hope that will give you some closure.

  • Kelly

    Obviously I will have a small type of funeral in private but I’m hoping it will help me gain acceptance and find meaning in my existence. Letting go of this dream is the hardest part.