A letter to the partners who are supporting us through InfertilityOct 26, 2020
People who haven’t suffered from infertility will never understand our grief.
But that doesn’t stop us from trying.
We spend so much of our time and energy trying to explain to those around us how we’re feeling and justifying our actions. It feels like we’re in defense mode constantly. We have trouble articulating why we can’t go to that baby shower or why we cry when a girlfriend tells us she’s pregnant.
Part of the battle with infertility is trying to manage the expectations of others.
Not just those who ask us when we’re going to have a baby, but those we have bared our soul to by telling them we’re struggling with infertility.
But there is always be one person who we struggle with the most.
Our partner. The one who is travelling this path with us. Who sees the absolute worst side of us.
Trying to explain to our partner why the woman they fell in love with has changed. Why she can no longer laugh, or make a decision, or stop crying, or get out of bed some mornings, and is angry all the time is sometimes impossible.
Especially because we’re struggling to understand why ourselves.
I couldn’t articulate to my husband how I was feeling when we were on our fertility journey because it was too enormous to even process within my own head let alone communicate it clearly. The feelings were overwhelming and to avoid it, I pushed them down and kept running.
So, we didn’t talk about it, and therefore I wasn’t able to get the full support I needed. Don’t get me wrong, my husband was amazing throughout the whole process, but there were things that I needed.
Here is what I wish I had said at the time. If it resonates with you, feel free to share it with your partner or loved ones, in order to explain what’s going on inside you, and what you need right now.
Or, you can write your own version.
I find it difficult to say this to you in person, because I’m having trouble processing everything that is going on in my head right now and I know that it won’t come out right. I’ll end up crying, and it will worry you. And above all else, that is what I am trying to avoid.
I’m so sorry that we’re having to go down this path. I feel guilty that I cannot provide you with a child in the way we had always dreamed. Every time I see you with our nephews and nieces or a friend’s baby, it hurts. I don’t see the joy; I see what I am robbing you of. Because you deserve to be a dad. You’d be a great dad. And this may or may not be my fault, but I feel responsible. Even when you tell me that it doesn’t matter. To me, it does. I am weighed down by guilt.
My emotions are completely turned up-side down. Some days I don’t even recognize myself in the mirror. I know I’m not the same person you fell in love with. I wish I could be her. But now I am in this vortex of fear of not knowing what our future holds. What was once so certain, is filled with a black hole of emptiness. For some reason I can’t see beyond my desire to have a baby anymore.
If I can’t be a mum, I don’t know who I am. And that scares me more than anything.
As a woman, our bodies were built for motherhood. And now that it can’t grow a child, I feel like I’m half a person. That I’m defective or broken. And I don’t want to feel weak or broken.
Your first reaction may be to try to fix me. Please resist the temptation.
I’m trying my hardest to be strong and in control and positive. I am putting in the work – I try to meditate, and be grateful, and read books on how to get through this. I have put more hours into researching for the magic cure than you can possibly imagine. Everything that you’re suggesting I do, I have tried. Believe me.
You trying to fix me also implies that what I fear most, is true. That I am in fact broken or that there is something wrong with me. And while this is the dialogue that is running inside my head every day, I still have that glimmer of hope that I’m still whole. But when YOU think there is something wrong with me, I go into defense mode. And then I will attack, and you don’t want to feel the wrath of my anger.
Because I am angrier than I ever thought possible. I am trying to control things that I cannot control. Which is frustrating. It pisses me off that we have to go down this path, when others seem to have it so easy. I cannot separate my feelings. I cannot be happy for others and sad for me. I just can’t.
When you see me angry? Just tell me you love me, no matter who I am in this moment.
And please don’t compare how I’m handling it with how you are. That book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus is correct. We do not think the same way. I wish I could separate my feelings the way you can, but as a woman I am highly emotional. And not in a bad way. This is how we were made.
Tell me you’re angry or sad too. That it isn’t just me. I don’t need you to be tough. I need you to be honest and vulnerable. Because I feel completely alone in this. Like I’m the only one who is being impacted by this struggle. When you keep it to yourself, it feels like you don’t care as much as I do. Which really pisses me off. That’s why I try to pick fights with you – because I want to bring you into my bubble of suffering, because it looks like this isn’t hurting you. And I don’t want to go through this alone.
Please don’t compare my reactions to people we know who are struggling with infertility. They are only showing you the exterior and public façade. The same way we “fake it” when people ask us how we’re doing, they are doing exactly the same thing. So, when you wonder why I’m not handling it as well as someone else, perhaps I am.
If you see me looking sad, please don’t try to cheer me up and stop me from crying. It feels like you’re trying to make light of it. I need to cry, and that’s ok. It’s exhausting trying to keep all of these feelings inside of me and pretending that I’m ok. Just hold me and let me cry in your lap until it’s all out.
I am not crazy – so please don’t look at me like I am.
Please take my side. Fight for me. Defend me. Stand by my side.
Listen to me when I need to talk. And really hear me.
Ask me what I need.
And even if you don’t understand everything that is going on inside me, tell me that you love me. And that we’re in this together.
At the end of the day, we just want to be heard.
And we need re-assurance that we are not alone and that we are not crazy.
So, I’m here to tell you, I hear you, you’re not alone, and you are not crazy.
AND if you’d like to give them the full birds eye view of what is really going on inside your head, you can give them a copy of my book, The Injustice of Infertility to read. A brutal and honest account of what it’s like to struggle with infertility.
Would you like to know more about how you can work with me, so you can get back control of your life and start moving forward? My 1:1 coaching program is packed with information, tools and support. Find out how you can get on the wait list now.
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