Letting it all sink in

Its been two weeks since my lap in Omaha.  I’m still not sure how I feel.

Physically, I’m almost back to ‘normal’.  My scars are still a little swollen and crusty and if I do too much bending over, reaching, or wearing a belt (my first time yesterday), it lets me know it.  The bloating is gone and so is any semblance I had to a woman with child.   I’m very grateful I went to Omaha and was able to cross off some structural issues from the list of why we’re not getting pregnant, but at the same time I look at what we’re left with and scratch my head when I think about what direction we go.

Emotionally, I’m wrestling trying to figure out where I am.  Because we didn’t get bad news, necessarily, I feel like my innate reaction should be one of happiness or relief.  I hate that I’m back to my ‘normal’ feelings of bitterness and anger.

Rosaries we both held during my surgery, from Dr. H

We had a lot of time to talk in the car ride out here after the surgery.  Regarding our fertility, we talked about how long do we ‘actively try’ using treatment, about adoption, and about my job situation.  But one thing I really wanted to talk about was who I’m becoming.

Of all the undesirable outcomes of sub-fertility, the thing I hate probably the most is who its turning me into. Which seems silly to say, since this is my life.  Its like saying “I hate how my life is affecting my life”.  No one wants to be that person who faces adversity, crumples down, cries and gives up.  The American dream is to overcome bad times, strong face forward and rise above the challenge!  But what I’ve realized that even if you’re trying to do that, even in facing the hard facts, you’re forever changed.

I’ve read about formerly “infertile” women who after they get pregnant write about still having this same feeling of resentment and anger towards the world.  And while it used to bug the heck out of me, I guess maybe I finally understand where they’re coming from.  After years of practicing anger and resentment, that doesn’t just go away.  It literally affects how you see the world and it molds you into a different person.

And what I hate more than the fact that I have no child in my arms is that I feel myself changing into an angry and bitter person.  Because I’m moving further and further away from my goal of serving God.   So much lately my first reaction to something is just, anger.  I have not found a good way to stop it.  The only reason I hate that more is that I know if I were to ever become a mother, I’d carry those same qualities with me.  I don’t want to be that person, Lord.

And then I think about how silly it is to think that I, of all the people in the world, can be given this cross and handle it gracefully.

“There are three things that are never satisfied,
four that never say, ‘Enough!’:
the grave, the barren womb,
land, which is never satisfied with water,
and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’

Proverbs 30:16.

I cannot change the fact that this is where you want me, Lord.  But, oh Lord please, protect me from changing into this bitter woman who only sees the negativity in life.  I know there is so much good in this world.  Help me to see it and be a part of it.

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22 thoughts on “Letting it all sink in

  1. Ugh…I so understand. I’m sorry. Things that take away my bitterness and anger include serving others, reading my Bible or other spiritual books, and listening to worship songs even when I don’t want to. It is still so hard. I’m praying for you!

  2. It may not happen like that. I have always been a sorta negative person and had dealt with depression even before infertility. And I was as bitter and angry as they come while dealing with infertility. And yet it all lifted as soon as I became a mother. God does amazing things. I hope it’s like that for you too!

  3. I understand this completely, I’m struggling with it too. I use the bitterness and cynicism as a cover-up for the very raw hurt underneath. It’s doing the same thing to me too and I don’t like it…but I don’t know how to stop it…I feel powerless.

  4. I am praying for you dear friend. I feel this negativity creeping in too, and I hate it. I’m such a positive person I’ve been accused of ONLY ever seeing the good, but some of the thoughts that go through my mind. They break my heart. And this is only month 10. Between the negativity and the fear and the doubt, I wonder who I am.

    Prayers and love friend. Prayers and love.

  5. My bitterness from IF has been one of the most difficult things for me to deal with. As a naturally positive person I hate how IF has made me more cynical and careful about my life. The important part is that you recognize it and try not to let it eat up your life.

    Easier said than done, I know.

    I’m praying for you!

  6. Yes, IF has changed me as well. I told my husband last night that about a year ago I hit rock bottom as far as sadness, bitterness, and jealously goes. Here it is a year later and I am still NOT a mother but my outlook on life has improved. I try to focus on becoming a stronger person because of this cross. I appreciate the smallest aspects of life now whereas before I blew off these “smaller” moments. Trust me, I still have my sad days. Heck, I have my mad, sad, and furious days! God still manages to work his magic in so many different ways. You are in my prayers!

  7. I had a rosary like those once – do they glow in the dark ?
    Hope u heal really quickly – am happy you got the chance to meet up with dr . H

    “But, oh Lord please, protect me from changing into this bitter woman who only sees the negativity in life. I know there is so much good in this world. Help me to see it and be a part of it.:

    And i hope this happens for u

  8. Gosh as that was publishing I started worrying it sounded short. I’m sorry about that. Sometimes you just wanna let someone know that you pray for them and all, ya know? I’m sorry if that last comment was as insensitive as I suddenly thought it was.

  9. I apologize in advance for the long comment! My husband and I have been going through unexplained infertility for the past 5 years- everything is perfect, but nothing works. So I know all about the bitter, the anger, the shame, and the jealousy. For me, I did not know I even had these feelings before IF. I was never a jealous person, never bitter, rarely angry, never ashamed. IF brought these feelings out where I had to deal with them. I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed this process, but I’ve grown from it personally, and our marriage has grown from it.

    On a very practical level, what has been most helpful has been making baby blankets for other people’s babies- this takes a long time, and allows you to work through a lot of pain. It’s repetitive and you can pray the whole time. Then you end up with something beautiful that you give away. I do not, however, go to baby showers. I have found that it’s necessary to strike a balance between spending time with children, which is wonderful, and avoiding the pain of sitting in a roomful of ladies talking about labor and breastfeeding.

    I also have found the book of Job enormously comforting, particularly Job 13:15- Though he slay me, yet I will trust in him. Oh, and John 16:33- In the world, you will have tribulation, but take heart! I have overcome the world. And James 1:2- Count it all joy… I really hated hearing the stories of Elizabeth, Sarah, and Hannah– the barren sisterhood of the Old Testament. These are, unfortunately, everyone’s favorite thing to share women struggling with fertility.

    My husband and I are finally in a position to be able to adopt (we faced IF pretty young, so it took some time to amass the necessary finances, particularly when also going through treatment) and we are currently pursuing that, which we are elated about. We are very certain that this is God’s will for us, which I think is the only way you can really do it- so obviously, do not listen to people who say, “Why don’t you just adopt?” Our agency wants adoptive parents to be “over” it, and while I won’t say that IF never hurts anymore, we are in a much better place with it now than we were before, if that helps at all.

  10. I was just thinking about this very thing the other day…IF and bitterness and anger. I hate that anytime I hear of a pregnancy-planned or unplanned-my heart sinks and I feel more and more alone. I hate that my husband works around women who pop out kids like it’s their life and then neglect them. Its just so hard.

    I too am praying that throughout all this struggle I can see the beauty and not be a bitter woman with no compassion for those who do not struggle.

    Anyways, beautiful post. I feel your pain and will be praying for you. So glad to hear you’re healing!!!

  11. Oh, wow. Your thoughts on who you are becoming in all this… it’s like you were inside my head today. I was just thinking the same thing!

  12. What a beautiful post. I totally get it.
    And I admire your courage in wanting to rise above all of this NOW and not wait until/if you become a mother. Because honestly, I think that’s too late. I think God wants us to find the peace and joy IN the cross, and not just praise Him in the rainbow after the storm, so to speak. This has been my constant struggle, and thanks be to Him, most of my days now, I am able to say I am a peaceful, joyful person. I am confident you can get there too, with the right tools. And with the right outlook.
    I’ll be praying for you!
    Oh, and I thought of you the other day while talking to my Clear Passage therapist and when I said “infertility” she said, “well, I prefer the word subfertility, because infertility seems so final.” ;) I think you’d like it here :)

  13. Your honesty about the anger and bitterness strikes at the heart of handling any cross. Thank you for sharing it. That honesty is key to getting through it. With prayer, your husband at your side and your strong faith, you will get through it. Something that helps me tremendously (believe me, I’m still a work in progress ;) ) is meditating on the mysteries of the rosary. Mary’s example of meekness, acceptance of God’s will, and the eventual glory she enjoyed helps me understand how God wants my heart to be. Even though Mary wasn’t infertile, she only had one Son and she knew for many years that she would probably have to watch him die. Meditating on her example and asking for her help day after day have tamed those feelings throughout the years. Everyone has their own path and maybe that won’t be what helps you, but I thought I’d mention it because your post began with the picture of the rosaries :) Hope you are enjoying that adorable new house a bit.

  14. All of us who have been through any length of infertility can see ourselves in your words today.

    “years of practicing anger and resentment, that doesn’t just go away. It literally affects how you see the world and it molds you into a different person…”

    Here’s the thing: eventually, when/if you pass through this fire, you jump straight into the crucible of parenthood. And the constant frustration/negativity you experienced in IF will reassert itself at some point during parenthood, and sometimes you feel worse because you don’t think you should feel it at all, based on past suffering.

    The good news is that you can choose. You don’t have to allow it to make you into a different person…it’s freaking hard, but you can redirect attitude and outlook so that this is a phase or stage and not a permanent change. It’s not an easy attitude adjustment to make–more like a major detour than a minor course correction–but I think the fact that you’re aware of it (and unhappy about it) means you’re being called to move in that direction. I’ll pray for you. FWIW, I’ve found Ann Voskamp’s 1000 gifts count to be helpful in shifting my attitudes when they get negative (which happens far more often than I’d like to admit.).

  15. Catching up on reading blogs tonight–I’ve been gone too long!

    I still continue to worry that Caleb will be our only child, so I don’t think that anger/resentment ever goes away.

    Prayers!

  16. Thank you for sharing that post.

    Anger and resentment are things that I have been struggling with in my life even without the IF. They are not welcome guests, and I wish to rid them over and over again.

    Your readers/friends all gave you such wonderful comments and ideas.

    I also agree with Kathleen’s idea about checking out Ann Voskamp’s book A Thousand Gifts. I was actually just thinking about that book earlier today–realizing that I need to bring my negative attitudes to God…and focus more on the gifts he has given to me.

  17. Thanks for this post. I’ve always been a positive person and sometimes I feel like IF is taking over in ways I definitely don’t want it to! Praying for you!!

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