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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm on your side...

I am on Facebook but I don't post any statuses or keep up with anyone on there.  I have always been pretty much against it, my feeling of privacy overwhelming any need to connect with people from my past.  I mostly keep in contact with my friends and family in person, though of course this has taken a massive hit from going through IF.  I don't hate FB, I am just wary of it.  I also don't mind if people use it all the time to keep in contact with their people, we all make our own ways of communicating in the world and it is not up to me to decide how other people go about it.  

About 9 months ago, I got invited into a IVF secret group on Facebook.  This was a spin off group of a forum that I used to be a part of.  There is a group for those in the trenches, a group for those pregnant and a group for those parenting after IF.  At first it felt great to be a part of these groups - I mean, what can go wrong with women who have such a profound issue in common?  It turns out, a lot.  There have been arguments, people who have been hurt from others' words and many other upsets.  I have been perplexed, we are all in the same boat, what is there to argue about?  

For me, the biggest lesson that I have learnt on the IF journey is that there are many people out there that don't like others to have powerful emotions.  Unfortunately, IF brings out so many of those profound emotions, grief, loss, emptiness, jealousy, depression, failure, hurt, resentment, exhaustion, defeated, alone, guilt - obviously there are so many more but I am sure that you all have felt many, if not all of these emotions at one time or another - I certainly have.  At times that the people who I am closest to were the ones that were invalidating the emotions - mostly because I think it hurt them to see me hurt.  One person that never invalidated my emotions was my bestie.  She is single and doesn't really want kids but she was one person who never shied away from me admitting to a horrible emotions like being jealous about my sister getting pregnant when I had just had a failed cycle - a horrible emotion to admit about your sister but if you don't face it, how do you move past it.  One day I asked her why she is able to empathise and be there for me when others wanted me to 'think of the good things in my life' and move on.  She said simply 'I'm on your side'.  I've never forgotten it.

So, when thinking about the arguments, hurts and misunderstandings that I have seen in the secret IVF groups - I wonder why can't we let the differences float by and be on each others side?  I will support you if you want a water birth or you elect to have a caesarean.  I will support you if you exclusively breastfeed or if you decide that formula is the only way to go.  I will rail against the horrible IVF god's that give you a negative or a loss or a cancelled cycle.  I will give you the benefit of the doubt if you say something that hurt me, I am pretty sure that you didn't mean it that way.  The biggest lesson that I have learnt as a parent is that no child,  or indeed no parent is 'one size fits all'.  We are all unique, we are all different, we all have different opinions.

I have written a post about this and will post it later but one of my new bosses told me that she is going through IVF.  My heart broke for her as it does for any of us that walk this difficult path.  I asked her how she was going and she said something like 'fine but it's hard.....but of course not as hard as what you have been through'.  I said to her 'you never have to say that to me, it doesn't matter what I have been through or what you have been through, there is no harder, there is just shit - this is probably the shittest thing that has ever happened to you and it is the shittest thing that has ever happened to me'.  She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said 'yes, it is just so hard'.  I hope that I let her know that it is okay to have crappy emotions.  Just because there are millions of people that are worse off than you doesn't mean that you can't feel sad, hurt, jealous, devastated and every other emotion that comes with the rocky IF terrain.  

When I was younger, my bestie was in a terrible bus crash in France.  She had had the crappiest year of all time and had gone away on the holiday of a lifetime.  A few weeks later she was at home in the hospital, her dreams shattered and her back hurt in a way that she has never fully recovered from.  Not long afterwards, I said to her 'I feel sorry for the bus driver, he will have to live with this for the rest of his life' and it upset her terribly - because in my youth and stupidity, I gave the impression that I was on the bus drivers side and not hers.  Of course it was okay to express empathy for the bus driver but it was not okay for my friend to think I was not on her side - lesson learned.

At the end of the day, I know that my little blog does not have a huge readership and I am okay with that but I do want all of you to know - I am on your side, wherever you are:  in the trenches, pregnant or parenting after IF.  I have quoted this before, I am sure but it is a favourite from the West Wing:

'The things that unite us are far greater than the things that divide us'


  1. Beautiful!!! Thank you so much! I agree! What you said to your boss is true and lovely. Feeling kind of lonesome in the real world and blogosphere right now, so that felt good. Big hugs to you, my friend! Xo

  2. I don't think I could be a part of that FB group. In all my years of being an IF blogger I never understood and still don't why even among our little group, some of us had to quit following the blogs of other IFers who finally overcame and got pregnant. Much like you say in this post, aren't we all on the same side? We're all striving for the same thing: parenthood. I never understood how there were some who couldn't be happy for those who had finally overcome. I also wrote a similar post about the length or route of the journey not mattering. Who cares if you only did a couple rounds of clomid and not a couple rounds of IVF? The fact that you had to see a fertility specialist at all means you are in the same painful boat as me. And honestly, I'm glad when others' IF journeys to parenthood end quickly, because years in the trenches change you in ways you never imagined, and not for the better. I don't wish years of this on anyone!

    One of my best friends when to Turkey for IVF. They knew right away their only chance was IVF, so they didn't mess around with anything else. They got pregnant on their second round, a FET, and I was so relieved for so many reasons. I didn't want to watch IF break her. I was so glad their journey was so short.

    To me, the point of life is to be happy. It is hard to be happy when you are hurt by other people's happiness. It is self-defeating and not worth it. Life is for living, and the only way to live is happily.

    That being said, I'm not saying that you shouldn't be able to wallow in your grief, or that you should always be glad for the things you have when you can't get the things you want most of all. It always made me so angry when people would tell me to be happy with what I had and to count my blessings. They were ignorant words from someone who had never fought what I was fighting. They meant well, sure, but they didn't really think about the fact that they were invalidating me, like you said. And like your friend, the correct answer is, "I'm on your side."

    Girl, I am on your side too. I have been since the first day I found your blog.