Friday, January 13, 2012

To Say or Not to Say

Thanks for coming with me on this journey! I really don't want to start this whole thing off with negativity, but I sort of feel like I need to get this out there before I carry on with the chronicling of this thing we're going through. I know it's hard for people to know what to say in difficult situations. Believe me. I'm the queen of not knowing what to say. And I also know that there is an urge to say something. Anything. To fill silence. To show support. So, I just thought to myself, "Why not be upfront?" I can't speak for anyone other than myself. I can't even speak for Ian (although I'm hoping he'll pipe up around this blog now and again). But I can tell you, at least, what it is that makes me feel good to hear and what makes me feel bad. And I can tell you that if you are here reading and interested in my journey and in understanding, I appreciate it, no matter what you say. And I love you. OK?

So, all that out there, here's what a girl wants:

Cheerleaders! Clearly, I never was one, and I've never been on a sports team that had them, but I could use some now. All I really want is to know that my friends wish us well and believe that things'll be great in the end of all of this!

Information. I am a researcher. I quell my anxiety with facts and information. So, if I'm about to experience something that you've experienced, I am always curious about how it was for you. I like facts and science. Articles, websites (valid ones) and books are all my friends.

Things I want less (and I'm going balls-out honest here):

Pity. Just blatantly doesn't help or make me feel good. That is probably obvious. I really do believe we'll be fine and get through this happy and strong and with the family we dream of. So don't pity! Cheerlead!

Religion. I respect those of you who have that kind of belief and faith, but know that Ian and I do not. When people say they are praying for me, I just turn that into my head as "sending good thoughts my way" and take it as a really nice and caring thing. But I think it's important for people who want to give us to support to realize that we are not looking to any sort of God in this. Our faith lies with science, our relationship, the goodness of humanity etc.

The Saying of Not Helpful Things. Hmmm. This falls into a few categories, but there are two things that in particular feel really bad to me.

The first goes all the way back to when we first started trying to get pregnant and continues and continues. The last thing I have ever wanted to hear (and this is one that I know is a relatively universal dislike among people attempting to procreate) is anything along the lines of, "Stop worrying and it will happen"..."Don't stress about it"...."Stress is bad for babymaking"...."As soon as you aren't thinking about it, it'll happen" etc etc etc. All I can really say about this is that, while of course stress affects health, and fertility is a part of that, telling someone not to stress or worry about something is just not nice. Whether or not you have been through this before (having children, infertlitiy etc.), I feel the same about this. First of all, no one should really be the judge of my stress or worry level other than myself (and maybe my doctors). Second, telling someone to not think or worry or stress about something that is very important to them is just counter-productive and not helpful. It's simply not going to's not that easy. And, also, when you're having trouble conceiving, you have no choice but to think about it. I could not think about it and not get pregnant for years and years and never go for the help we will ultimately likely need to conceive. But I prefer to think about it, and take the steps I need to take. In fact, the only thing I'm kicking myself about in this whole thing is not going for help earlier, to be honest. Because I was trying so hard to not stress think or worry about it. Finally, and maybe most importantly, it feels like blame. Like maybe, just maybe, we aren't getting pregnant and it's all my fault because I can't stop thinking about it and just relax like a teenager in the back seat of a car. Nuh uh. No thanks. The last thing I need is to feel guilt, shame or blame. And frankly, nothing makes me more worried or stressed than guilt, shame and blame! So, there's that.

The second thing is a comparison issue. I have a really hard time/viscerally bad reaction to the sort of attempts at consoling me by expressing how much better off I have it. I feel like it tends to happen in a, "At least you have a partner" or "I want babies too and don't even have prospects" kind of way. And, I guess the best way to explain why this is not helpful to me is that it just feels distancing. It puts distance between me and whoever is expressing this. Please please please do not misunderstand me here. I am so so happy, as a friend, to talk about those feelings. I want to be there for my friends through whatever hurt they are experiencing regardless of what hurt I might be experiencing! And I feel terrible if the things I am going through are emphasizing to them more any hard things that they are going through. But please understand that your pain is not a consolation to me. It doesn't make me feel better about what I'm going through. Of course it doesn't! I know how lucky I am to have Ian and be on this journey with him. But it doesn't take away the hardness of what I'm going through. We all have our baggage and our shit and our hard times. I don't want to compare. I just want to be there. And want you to want to be here for me. And I think that those kinds of comments just make me feel like you don't want to hear about what I'm going through. And of course, it's fine if you don't (although if you are here, I assume you do). But if that's not your intention, not what you are trying to express, just please know that this is what I read from it.

Blargh. Let's get back to where this started. With me saying hi and telling you I'm glad you're here. Hi! I'm glad you are here. I have a lot of work to do this week for a committee I'm on. I also have a lot of work to do health-wise, between my brain, my braces and my baby-making. But I have a few more posts I want to get up, including one that just sort of tells you where we've been and where we are in terms of this process. So I'll try to take some time to do that soon.


  1. hello...
    i like your picture up top ha
    oi yeah, it's my thoughts preventing implantation! GAH
    i realize now i really wish i had never broached the subject with most folks.
    but i wanna taaaalkkk about it to you know, it's what's going on.

    i appreciate your sharing, even though every situation is different, it's helpful to relate when you're going through something that can be sort of isolating.
    hang in there

  2. Go girl! So brave, so wonderful, so fantastic....

    And I was a cheerleader, but really only for one year and really only because someone else quit and they called me and gave me her spot then, but still... still, I can probably dust off a few hip hip hoorays! So, I'll work on it and you know that I'll be your southern cheerleader on this journey!