Infertility, Miscarriage, Our Infertility story

What you say, What I hear

December 15, 2010

I can’t believe I’m going to address this topic and be so open, but it’s on my heart right now.  I have a really hard time with pregnant women.  There, I said it.  I always feel I like I need to explain myself.  Because from the outside looking in, I can’t imagine what people think of me.  I just want you to understand how I feel and what goes through my head.

  • When you say, “We had our first ultrasound today,”  I hear that was the day our world was rocked when we found out no baby was developing.
  • When you say, “The baby has a heartbeat of ____,” I think the first time we heard that, the doctor accompanied it by saying, “You are threatening to miscarry.”  It was the one and only time we ever heard a heartbeat in five years and we couldn’t even enjoy it.
  • When I see your belly, I see the lack of my own.
  • When you say, “I’m seven weeks pregnant,” I hear the voice in my head saying that was the day I miscarried #3.
  • When I hear your big announcement, I know I will never have one, even if I do have a child someday.  My announcement will be riddled with beta hcg numbers and the need to take things day-by-day instead of a happy proclamation.
  • When I see your joy, I feel my pain.
  • When I see your husband holding your child, I see myself as a failure that I can’t provide that for my husband.
  • When I see your family photo Christmas card, mine feels empty.
  • When you come home from the doctor with an ultrasound photo, I come home with a book called “Empty Arms.”
  • When you go to the doctor, it’s a happy time.  When I go, it’s torture to be so surrounded by pregnant women and baby photos, especially after a miscarriage.
  • When you say, “Being pregnant sucks”or “I hate this morning sickness,” I say “Bring it on!”
  • When you say, “We weren’t even trying,” I hear the universe laughing at me.
  • When you say, “We’ve been trying for a whole year,” I think, “Just a year? We’re approaching five years now. How is that possible? When will this end?”

It’s not you, it’s me.  No, really, it is me.  I’m not trying to turn everything you say or do to be all about me.  I don’t want to think about ME.  I don’t want to think about pregnancy. I don’t want to think of my problems and my failures.  I don’t want to remember my losses.  I would love to escape everything.  These are persistent thoughts that come bubbling up even though I do my best to keep them out.  I do not possess Vulcan mind capabilities.

Think of it like this.  Do you know an alcoholic?  Is it a good idea for them to be around booze?  Should they hang out at a bar?   It’s too hard.

Or, what about a war vet?  Do you think many of them want to re-live what they’ve been through?  Do they want to see war movies?  Does hearing fireworks make them jump?  Do certain triggers give them flashbacks?  Again, these things are too hard for a veteran.

Well, pregnancy is too hard for me.  I have to protect myself.  So, if I don’t seem happy for you, it’s not that–I’m just trying to keep myself sane.

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  • I know it took a lot for you to publish these words. I love how transparent you are, although I wish things were different for you and Erick. Know that I’m always thinking of y’all!

  • Great post! Good point Whitney, about the war vets and the alcoholic. I might need to use those in the future. Thinking of you.

  • Patricia

    If others could read your words, I think there would be more sensitive people around. It took me 2 miscarriages before I realized it wasn’t a good idea to ask people why they didn’t have children or why they stopped at one. I know it’s trite, but unless you’ve been there, people really cannot comprehend this pain you live with it. My continued prayers are for you both.

  • Thank you for sharing such a real, authentic post. I too feel this way, every time someone brings up pregnancy or babies it makes me sad and even now I’m terrified of beta levels not rising or no heartbeat. Its so hard for me to picture a pregnancy going as it should and you’re right it completely sucks to have that innocence about the joy of pregnancy stolen. Good for you for acknowledging your feelings honestly and for doing what is best for you. Thinking of you & sending love and hope your way ((hugs))

  • Jay

    This is such a eloquent post on an issue we all sadly have to face. This is a new issue for me, I had my first loss in June of this year. It was so novel for me to look at a pregnant woman and flinch a little inside, or look at beautiful babies and feel pain. I fear these feelings will build up the longer you spend in this sad process.

    I don’t WANT to be this way. I don’t want to shy away from babies just because I don’t have one. I don’t want to feel dreadful every time I look at somebody who managed to carry a pregnancy to term, because both babies and pregnancies are beautiful things even if we are not the ones blessed with them. Hiding behind, wallowing in our fears and pain and bitterness hurts only us. If we can discard these feelings (not at all easy I know), we have conquered one of the demons of infertility. Infertility takes so much from you. We have no control over our biology, but we have some control over our psyche. I’m trying to exercise that control and not let infertility slap me around even further. I don’t know if I should be telling others these things though. If I sound out of line, just know I mean well.

  • Whitney,

    Thank you for posting all of these very open and raw thoughts. You have pretty much summed up everything that I have been feeling about the preggos out there, but haven’t been confident enough to say. For me, your comment about the bellies is right on. That is one of the things that makes me cry every time i see it.

  • Mia

    Whitney-it’s Mia from the RPL forum. I am so glad you published words that so many of us feel inside. I do have a child-and am so blessed to have her as I have had 2 miscarriage before her and 6 after her-two with donor egg-genetically normal embryos. But I so feel your words as we have been trying to have a second child so desperately for the last 3 years. It’s extraordinarily hard to see pregnant women-or to listen to people say ‘well, you’re not going to leave your daughter an only child are you? you can’t do that to her!” like i have some sort of choice.

    anyway, i just wanted to say thank you for posting this.

  • Allison

    I felt exactly this way after we lost our first two babies. You are very courageous to put these feelings into words.

  • Kim White

    I still flinch, so many years later when I have officially put my childless state to rest, to be around pregnant women. Most people cannot imagine the knife-like pain that shoots through the heart of a woman that has miscarried. I applaud your being so forthright in this matter…it is a subject that too many of us remain silent about.

  • Hey Whitney, just found your blog on Cyclesistas and hopefully we will be doing our 5th IVFs together. I’m scheduled to transfer (FET this time) on Feb 1. Good luck to you – will try follow along!

  • Whitney Anderson

    Thanks to all of you. Kim, you are now yet one more person I know in real life with this pain. It’s unbelievable how many of us there are.

  • Drew

    Your thoughts are right on for so many of us… fathers included. We found we shared less and less after each loss just to protect ourselves from ‘helpful’ comments. (You all know the ones…)

    Hopefully, someday, the taboo of talking about our losses will be lifted, and folks will simply join us and support us on our journeys.

    Thanks for your courage, and sharing your losses.

  • Lex

    I completely agree with all of these. I have thought all of these.
    I have a friend who started announcing her pregnancy in church and a girl just gave her the biggest, most joyful and heartfelt hug. There was no cloud. No “but I’m still scared”. No “but my betas were low”. No fear. I can never have that.

  • C

    So, so true. The analogies of an alcoholic at a bar or a war vet watching a war film are so perfect. Thanks for this post, from a fellow RPLer and ICLWer.

  • Jem

    I totally get this post. I feel the same way. The day of my first m/c I saw this young pg woman and I wanted to kick her. I felt such shame after.

    ~Jem, ICLW #5 – http://ambivalentwomb.blogspot.com/

  • ebc

    love love love this (like in a, i wish a bunch of people, including myself, couldn’t relate but since we can thanks for saying this kinda love this way.)

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  • Shannon

    THANK YOU! Absolutely amazing! I had 4 miscarriages in a 15 month period. It has taken it’s toll. I have tried to share my true feelings with friends only to have things I’ve shared thrown back in my face. So, sadly I have become gaurded and put on a smile when I am around them and their children. Again, THANK YOU! I really needed this today!

    • JA570

      Shannon I too can relate to the things I say being thrown back in my face. Only it wasn’t to my face, it was behind my back. And they don’t know I know. Calling me crazy and psycho for looking in to every test there is. And for researching every possibility as to why I’ve had three miscarriages in a row. It’s heart breaking to know how they truly feel and what they are saying about me. But what’s more heart breaking is I feel more alone now than ever.

  • Emily

    Finding your blog helped me feel a little more normal today. Thanks.

    I get pregnant easily, but I can’t seem to keep one past six weeks. Last month, I held my infant godson during his christening while still bleeding from a miscarriage that had taken place the week before.

    Yesterday, we went to get our blood test results. The lab hadn’t returned the chromosome analysis or the clotting tests, even though they’d been done two weeks before. We sat there for an hour and a half while the doctor drew pictures of disorders that I don’t have and told us that we were just the victims of bad luck.

    What a day.
    Onward (or something).

    • Whitney Anderson

      Ugh…the bad luck diagnosis…yea, I got that for years until even the doctors didn’t believe that any more. Now, I have the dreaded “unknown” diagnosis. I’m sorry for your struggle.

  • NML

    I am reading your story (stories) and just keep thinking…yes, finally someone gets it. She is saying all the things I want to say. She is reading my mind. She is validating that I am not crazy. So thank you. Thank you for sharing your journey. I am currently going through my 4th loss with my thoughts and emotions running every which way.
    I an truly happy for you and your most recent journey. And thank you for sharing what so many of us want to. You make me want to speak up, reach out, help others and have a voice.

    • Whitney Anderson

      Thank you so much and best of luck to you! Yes, speak up and reach out! 🙂

  • Andrea Ramsay

    All i can say is a thank you to Dr zogo for making me and my family a happy home, i have been married for 2 years without a child and i had 4 miscarriage within this time, i saw a post that says contact Dr zogo for Infertility help, so i did, after he cast a pregnancy spell on me i get pregnant few weeks later after having sex with my partner as instructed by Dr Zogo, and i am 7 months pregnant now without any complications and i will share another post here after my delivering and i will also give out my personal info, watchout for my next post, so i decide to drop this here for any body going through infertility problem to contact Dr zogo on zogospellcasters@gmail.com and you will be happy you did…