Tag Archives: emotional support

Infertility: You Are Not Alone the Aftermath

Standard

you-are-not-alone-in-this

Sometimes you get what you want and you would think all will be well but then you realize some ghosts just cannot be exorcised. This particular post is not your typical infertility blog. This blogger for those that do not know is a man and he blessed enough to have an IVF child with his wife. I have a great bit of respect for my infertility circle and understand the sensitivity of those reading a blog about the pains of infertility from a person lucky enough to already have a child but in infertility there are many stories and this is ours.

The common gripe you hear from those that suffer from infertility is being angry and or jealous of your friends when they are pregnant while you are trying to just get pregnant. It is an understandable human trait be frustrated when you can’t have what its seems everyone around you attains with ease. Why would infertility haunt you even after you have a child? I am an only child as is my wife. We both admit we never considered having siblings as kids but we both grew up in neighborhoods where kids our age were out at all hours. Just step outside and join the nearest group of kids and you did not have time to consider you were a single kid.

In 2015 most everyone is time starved. Both parents work in most households and in many cases the schedules are opposite of each other. Playdates have taken place of stepping outside and joining up with a group of neighborhood kids. Playdates are a mixed bag because not only does the date include the kids it includes parents that do not always know each other. Some people are comfortable with that (myself included) and others are understandably not. Finding a playdate family is nice but rarely is it a regular event. You may be like us and find yourself in a beautiful neighborhood with wonderful neighborhood and kids galore but schedules just don’t seem to line up and the kids sometimes only catch glimpses of each other when they are just going in for the night. The kids have schedules too. Kids do so many things these days from sports to arts to school activities. As a group we have taken our time starved adult lives and handed them down to our children with their own time starved schedules. What is the hell does this have to do with infertility?

When you are an only child you notice when your friends have siblings and siblings equal a play partner. Siblings equal that lifetime partner in crime and person you can share secrets with. The single child knows nothing of sibling rivalry or the politics of sibling civil war. They don’t see sharing toys, space, TV, and mommy and daddy. They only have the why: “Mommy and Daddy why don’t I have a brother or sister?”.

We were honest with our daughter. We explained in the best terms possible that we barely held on to her and that because of infertility issues she will be an only child. She gets it sometimes but then one of her friends has a sibling and is no longer an only kid and she realizes she is the only kid in a neighborhood full of kids that has her own room, playroom, ton of toys, but when it’s thirty minutes to bedtime she has no child to play with. She looks at Mommy with big eyes and innocently mentions that she is the only single kid. The infertility that my wife kicked the ass of over six years ago reaches out from its grave and crushes her. Now my wife does not feel the pain for her and I but our daughter too.

My wife understands everything. She understands she was fine as an only kid. She knows full well the fortune of having one child. She also knows our daughter is not trying to hurt her feelings when she tells her she wishes she had a sibling or there is no child for her to play with. My wife takes it all to heart. She is reminded of the feeling of being a failed woman and now it is compounded because she thinks herself a failed mom to boot. She went from failed woman to failed wife to failed mom and even though none of that is true the spectre of infertility has a way of making you believe lies. You hear new things from people when you talk about infertility that happens after a child is born. You hear that your life is great and you should feel lucky to have what you have but now you see the world through your childs eyes and admitting to them you are not able to give them something they want is painful. As the husband all you can do is console. You are a chained dog to infertility as the man. You would destroy anyone that hurt your wife but infertility is intangible so like a dog tethered to a tree all you can do is pull at the length of your chain and bark because you will never be able to bite.

I look for ways to console but they are fruitless. I sometimes find myself thinking I am intruding on others when set up playdates for my daughter. I worry when I think my little girl has not found her lifetime friend yet even though she is only six and all good things in time. She has great friends in the neighborhood and lifetime friends so far but eventually grade differences split kids apart, friends you only see every few months stay friends but the kids grow apart to at least some degree. Infertility reminds me that I will always be looking over my wifes shoulder to make sure it is not pulling her down. It reminds me that when you think it is no longer a factor in your life your child is sad because she doesn’t understand that the older kids move on and another can’t play because it is late and they are getting ready for that crazy schedule all kids seem to already have.

IMG_1075

At this stage infertility is a teaching moment. It causes you to step up your game as a parent. You learn to be more honest with your kid. You learn to find new ways to keep them occupied and work harder to make new friends at her school and her activities so maybe she finds a friend that will be the Thelma to her Louise. This is where you teach her to never give up on things and to find ways to not let the dark things in life crush your dreams, hopes, and self-confidence. Infertility never goes away but it does not have to win. Twenty years from now infertility could haunt her and even though she will have been well versed in all we told her about in the first two and a half decades of her life she will feel the same pains a person just discovering infertility feels. I hope she never knows that battle. She is not alone if it happens. She is not alone figuring out that single children are fine. She will never be without us next to her watching her grow and make friends. My wife too will never be alone because as long as a breath comes from my lips I will never let it win by taking her out emotionally.

This is my third year writing a blog for this annual Resolve event. I will never forget where we were and how we felt. We are fortunate we had a child but I still see hurt in my wife eyes from time to time as she enters a new level of the infertility struggle. No matter where you are in your struggle you are not alone. You are important and you are loved. Below are links that will help you to better understand infertility. Please consider surfing the web for others personal stories.

In 2011 I wrote The Longest Love Letter. The E Book is the true story of our infertility journey. It leaves little to the imagination but is the most honest thing I have ever written. It is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

http://www.amazon.com/Longest-Love-Letter-Andy-Thornhill-ebook/dp/B004MYGAM2

Infertility: Love Thy Neighbor Virtually

Standard

As the Beyonce beat to “Single Ladies” chimes in with these replacement lyrics “All the infertile couples, all the infertile couples..put yer hands up”……I am a social network guy. I will sometimes moan over the thought that Social Media has taken away the art of a face to face conversation. I frown when I see my family or any family at a restaraunt table staring hypnotically into I Pads or I Phones not speaking to each other. Okay maybe sometimes they are Facebooking each other as they sit next to each other (GUILTY!!!) but that does not count as conversation. I bemoan these things but I applaud social networks for one thing, emotional support. My wife and I were not on Facebook when we took our assisted conception journey. My wife was on nearly eight months bedrest and could have used Attain Fertility or Resolve or one of the intimately personal infertility blogs like:

Where The *Bleep* Is Our Stork
Scrambled Eggs
Infertility Awakening

Social network sites like Facebook opened a deluge of pages and support sites for those looking to hear that they are not the only person feeling the way they do during their war with their reproductive systems. Once I stumbled upon these sites I swore I would do all I could to share my family story and to lend a listening ear to the tens of thousands of people hoping for answers on these sites. I was on one of the pages just before I began writing this blog and read a womans comment , “It’s not my time to shine like a diamond. As I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks..” Just the beginning crushed me. No one should ever have to feel this way, especially about themself. This is typical on the support sites. People, mostly women, are emptying their hearts out hoping to be heard, just letting it out, hoping for answers or for any and many other reasons. What warms me up is that there are always responses to the posts from people that are knee deep in the battle. They are trying to support each other. People are having painful battles of their own but they are quick to come to the aid of a stranger in the same wheelhouse self doubt.

My wife and I won our battle and could have easily walk off into the sunset but my wife spends hours on these sites trying try to cheer people up lending her pharmacutical knowledge and personal experience to people that need it. She works twelve hour days and comes home to talk to strangers that are walking steps today that she wept on years ago. It means something to her. She constantly talks about things she would like to do to help people. I am so lucky to have her in my life.

You have to bring a clear mind to these sites. If you ask a medical question remember only your doctor can give the best answer. When others share their experience keep in mind that their situation is very likely different from yours. It is a good idea to bookmark their advice and maybe run it by you doctor. Go to the “LIKES” portion of your favorite site and see what else is out there. There are sites for people of faith, there are sites that specify race (not that they only want one race on their page), their are medical sites, and humorous sites…the list goes on. The one thing that ties these sites together other than the condition we all share is the openess that people share. It is inspiring what people share of themself.

I personally love the blogs. When a person shares their journey, especially in live time, that just pulls me in. It takes courage to open yourself up that way. Fertility Blogs are exceptionally good at letting you know that it is normal to sometimes hate the pregnant 20 year old neighbor or to want to sock someone in the eye when they say, “It’s God’s will.” I am certain that some of the authrs families or friends question their openness at times. I wrote a book about our journey and have often been questioned. It comes with the territorry when you write but you also get the release. I strongly encourage people to frequent the blogs and hopefully find something in them that helps you.

As the tagline to Alien went….”When you scream in space no one hears you”….the tagline for Infertility Blogs and support sites could read “when you scream here we scream WITH you!!!” I hope you find what you need and I only wish we could be as supportive to strangers in our real lives as were are on line. Best of luck and I love you all.

You are all shining diamonds, it is the clouds that are dark. The clouds will pass and bright days will abound.