May 31, 2012

Cycle 2: Day 5

In April during General Conference, President Packer said something that I took offense to at the time.  He said:

Another young couple tearfully told me they had just come from a doctor where they were told they would be unable to have children of their own. They were brokenhearted with the news. They were surprised when I told them that they were actually quite fortunate. They wondered why I would say such a thing. I told them their state was infinitely better than that of other couples who were capable of being parents but who rejected and selfishly avoided that responsibility.

I told them, “At least you want children, and that desire will weigh heavily in your favor in your earthly lives and beyond because it will provide spiritual and emotional stability. Ultimately, you will be much better off because you wanted children and could not have them, as compared to those who could but would not have children.
I'm not quite so sure why I took offense - I think it mainly was because I felt he was belittling the couple's grief and pain.  How could President Packer compare these two scenarios and focus on their eternal judgment rather than offer kind words of comfort and counsel?!

Then the other day I came across an article titled "10 things to never say to a women without children."  I often see titles like this and I always read them.  Typically they always are written from the point of view of a woman who cannot have children.  I glanced over this article and thought it sounded like any other one I'd read like it.  Then I really started reading it.  While some points were made from an infertility view, most were taken from the context that whatever woman you're talking about chose not to have children.

This is when I got upset.  

I honestly could care less if another couple decides not to have children.  That's not my choice.  But I get upset when people compare the experiences and emotions between women who cannot have children vs women who choose not to have children.  Understandably, treating an infertile woman and a woman who chooses not to have children like neither knows how to care for kids is equally offensive/rude.  But asking "when are you going to start having children" is (in my mind) much more painful for the infertile woman.  If you (general 'you') are choosing not to have children, there is obviously something more important that makes the decision easier (but not necessarily easy) to stand by.  You have a reason.  There is a logical explanation for why you do not want kids. So when I ask you "when ..." you can easily say "we aren't having kids for reason x,y,&z."  The question is possibly emotionally tough, but you have a supporting reason to stand on.  For women who cannot have children, all we can do is shrug our shoulders and either say "not for a while - we can't have kids" or lie with some made up reason/half-truth like "we're not ready" or "we're waiting till we're financially stable."  

I don't know why, but all of a sudden I was so proud of the battle I'm fighting.  I am fighting myself to have kids.  While totally draining (as any battle is), I am fighting for something good and worth while.  I no longer felt this major self pity party.  I was pumped to kick infertily's butt!  Whether through natural conception, IVF, adoption, ...  we are going to have children!

So now I can read President Packer's quote with a little more understanding - what we're going through isn't great.  But how blessed are we to have this perspective - that we do to want something that is good and precious in our lives.  

That's when I told Garrett that I'm grateful we're going through this.  If it wasn't infertility, it would be something else.  Our lives will have challenges.  But I feel so blessed to know that we're fighting to do what we know is right.  We're not giving up and being hopeless.  We are blessed to know that whatever the outcome, we can make this trial happy - by the way we talk about it, the way we react to it, the way we support each other. The things that we will have to do to fight for the chance to have children can potentially help us become really great people - selfless and supportive. I am so glad that this is my trial.  I don't know what other trials I could handle, but Heavenly Father knew that this trial would be hard, but that I would find the strength and support to get through it.  I will have hard times ahead, but in this moment I am happy.  I am grateful.  I am hopeful.  

May 30, 2012

Cycle 2: Day 4

With so few posts, anyone reading this probably wouldn't really get the metal/spiritual/emotional place I've been in.  It was dark.  Not like pitch black or dark grey, but more a medium grey place.  I've known since about the time Garrett & I got married that natural conception would be hard.  When we started trying I came at it from the viewpoint that if we had kids, great - if not, that's fine too.  I wouldn't let myself admit that having children was what I really wanted.  I still can't fully admit to it.  The risk of heartache is too great.  But after over a year of trying, I started to believe the lie I so often repeated to myself - that I don't want kids - that I'm not ready - that I'm still just 'little'/too young - that it's just not the right time.  

It's now been over 18 months since we started trying to have kids and almost the whole time, I was in a medium-grey world (when it came to having kids).  It was within the last few weeks though that I've had an epiphanie.  This journey has been as spiritual as it has been emotional and physical.  But I had been ignoring my relationship with God for a while.  I can't say why exactly - not because I'm embarrassed but because I really don't know.  I can guess and say that it could have been because I was lazy or I was too afraid to ask for children and He would say "no" or that I would discover I was being punished for some random thing I did.  Whatever the reason though - I was ignoring Him.  

But what a comforting thought it is to know that He never ignored me.

Over the last few months I have been slowly trying to be better  - to do the things that I know are good and right.  I fail a lot.  But I'm trying.  And these last few weeks I've felt so many small and gentle reminders from Him.  They have been so quiet and so small.  But they're reminders of how good it feels to have faith and hope and trust.  I have had none of those things for a while.  The lies I believed prohibited me from feeling hope and trust in Heavenly Father's plan.  

So here's the epiphanie I had: What I'm going through sucks.  A lot. And it will continue to suck and to emotionally beat me if I continue to try to face this alone.  But when I trust Him, it will still suck, but it will suck a lot less and I won't feel alone.

Since realizing this, I've started changing the way I think.  Last month I was asking WHY ME!?  Yesterday I told Garrett that I'm grateful for what we're going through (?!?! - that's another story).  I can't explain how or when the changes started happening, but they have and I am so glad.  With starting cycle 2, I've felt so much more peace.  I don't understand (and I probably never will) but I feel good.  Unlike cycle 1, where I thought the whole time "this isn't going to work," I'm now feeling hope.  This could work.  This could be the month!  This could be the time that our whole lives change!  The thought "this could fail" enters my mind too.  But it's not as loud as it used to be.  

I'm not saying that this whole positive thinking will magically change how my body responds to the medication. It won't.  But I am tired of feeling broken and alone and hopeless.  It is DRAINING.  There's no doubt in my mind that this month will be another month of being poked and prodded - getting shots and constantly taking pills - feeling inadequate, emotionally unbalanced, sad, anxious, and often a little crazy.  But all of that seems like nothing now - the hope that I feel is so gloriously warm - like laying on the beach, touching the warm white sand and feeling the sun gently overtake the thoughts you have of everything, placing you into a "happiness" coma. All of the stress and worry still exist, but for that moment, you feel happy/at peace.  

So, Dear Self: Remember this.  Remember how good it feels to trust Him.  Remember how good it feels to know that you have the support of your great husband, your understanding friends and a loving Father.  If this isn't the month - that's okay.  Feel sad.  Feel grief.  But never lose hope.