Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When Everything Hurts

There are moments in time when everything around me seems to disappear, and the only thing coming into sharp focus is The Issue. I watched a movie and cried; saw a preview for another movie and got choked up again. It seems almost ridiculous.

After reading through parts of one of the books I have on infertility, I felt more confused and scared rather than reassured. In aiming to provide a comprehensive analysis of available options, the book somehow managed to twist the knife just a little bit more. The options discussed in the chapters I read include things like Donor Sperm - which I found really disturbing - and a host of different surgical procedures, some extremely invasive, that Kenton would have to undergo depending on what the specific problem turns out to be. It's daunting, to say the least - and I find myself struggling with the ache of wanting a baby and the love and concern I feel for the man that I love. How can I ask him to undergo surgery in the quest for a family of our own?

And then, of course, there's adoption - something we'd already discussed a while back, before we ever really started trying. It's almost as if, instinctively, we both KNEW that we would have to seriously consider it at some point or another.

Just when life is throwing us these curveballs, it seems harder than ever for either one of us to talk about what we want. How far are we willing to go? I don't even know that I can answer this question for myself, even without considering how Kenton might feel about all of this. The other day I got so mad at him - I felt that he'd just taken this information we got on board, and then conveniently filed it away somewhere in a DO NOT DISTURB pile.

I'm ashamed to admit that, intitially, I felt a strange sense of relief when we got the lab results back. Because it meant that it wasn't my fault. Which is ridiculous - because no one can foresee or change these kinds of things, and it's not a question of fault. Yet, presumably, it's not entirely uncommon for people to inclined to point the finger at someone. Maybe that's because of the magnitude of this kind of information - the impact it has on a marriage, on a person's sense of self.

The worst thing for me, perhaps, is that I think Kenton doesn't even begin to realize the depth and extent of my pain. I don't think he understands just how much this is taking out of me. Or maybe he's just dealing with it in his own way - in the way that men tend to deal with these kinds of things: head down and keep moving. I, on the other hand, find myself completely paralysed. I feel, at times, that I turn into an automaton in public: smiling, commenting on someone's baby, feigning interest. Whatever envy I may feel towards another woman who has a newborn or a slew of kids is compounded by what I often perceive as lack of interest in their offspring. I turn into Judgy Van Holier Than Thou amid comments on strollers, toddler clothing and diaper bags - all things that, for a woman, should be as much a normal part of life as make up and sanitary products.


As a child, I had a bad habit of picking at scabs. I got some sort of perverse pleasure of ripping them off - knowing full well, after the first few times, that it would just end up bleeding again and therefore take longer to heal. Similarly, I feel an almost irresistible urge to keep looking at things that drive home this void ever more forcefully. Masochistic? Perhaps. Destructive? Quite possibly. Normal, given the circumstances...? Who knows.

For some reason, I've had a few country songs randomly play in my head - just snippets, really. Why not us, why not now...Is there a cure for the broken-hearted...All those songs that Frank would've called crying-in-my-beer music. Then again, I've always been a sucker for wallowing in these kinds of songs when I feel that I've really hit rock-bottom...

I tried, again, to find some sort of self-help group or a support network. I went on Oprah's website because I remembered that they used to have groups on there a few years ago - different ones for all sorts of different issues. Well, apparently they've done away with that in the years since I last checked it - figures, right? So I started to browse around and came across an article by Gena Rowlands, who is one of my favorite (and, in my opinion, one of the most underrated) actresses. And not 3 lines into the article I am hit, abruptly, with yet another affirmation to torment me:

"Mothers are the most powerful people in the world. "

Of course this has nothing to do with power in the sense of controling people or anything like that; nothing to do with power in a political or scientific sense. But I read over the sentence several times and thought about the simple things mothers take for granted: a baby clutching its tiny fingers around your finger; a broad smile that lights up an entire face and all that is around it. I walked past someone at a shop this afternoon and the woman was engaged in some sort of conversation with a very young girl, maybe 3 years of age. And there was something so...easy, so relaxed, in her manner. I smiled, sadly, almost unable to look away. It's kind of like that theory that you can't NOT watch a car crash or something like that - how, as things careen out of control, everything seems to proceed in slow motion and you can't tear yourself away.

1 comment:

Murgdan said...

My husband, while disappointed somewhat, seems completely unaffected by this...and doesn't understand my pain at all. Of course I don't want to lose it in front of him...because it's not so much 'his fault' and I wouldn't want him to think that....

We're of course waiting to hear about the possibility of ICSI...we have planned to give that one try here (no insurance coverage) and if we need more tries we're moving to Massachusetts (mandated insurance coverage---4 free IVFs). If it's impossible..or we fail..we've considered donor embryos as we'll still get to experience pregnancy--but it's like adoption and much much less expensive than adoption!
I can't wrap my head around donor sperm yet...and hubby is really opposed to it...so I don't know if we'll go that route.