Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My good deed for the day

I've heard through the grapevine that one of my girls here at the spa is trying to get pregnant and is having some issues. I know from experience that this is an intensely and deeply personal issue, so I would never, ever approach anyone about it. I won't even ask people if they're going to have a child because you never know if someone is trying and having trouble (there are more people out there dealing with this than you think). Having been on the receiving end of that question while struggling with infertility, and the hours of ensuing pain and tears that it causes, I know I will never, ever inflict that on anyone.

So for several months now I've heard rumors that this girl is struggling. Today, amidst conversation with her and other girls, I let it "slip" that I have experience with infertility. It's quite easy to slide it into a conversation, like, "Because it took us two years to conceive..." Then I let it go. If she's interested, she'll ask.

A short time later, when it was just the two of us, she did.

I was able to give her the best resources I had in my arsenal, Becky Kuballa at P.A.R.I.N.T.S. , and Maria Carella, my infertility group therapist. I'm also going to dig out my old "coping with infertility" books, and have offered a shoulder to cry on.

Talking with her, and listening to her talk about her feelings, brought it all back to me. Coping with infertility is tremendously debilitating, and many people don't know it because those who are struggling with it don't exactly feel like shouting it to the world. My therapist, Maria, told my support group that struggling with infertility is the emotional equivalent of being diagnosed with cancer. If you haven't been through it, there's no way you can make that connection, but I understand it.

I would burst into tears at the mere sight of a pregnant woman. When someone at the office announced she was expecting (for awhile there, it felt like that was happening virtually every week), I'd have to put on a brave smile and offer congratulations before bolting to the bathroom to lock myself in and weep for 20 minutes. Every time someone would ask, "When are you going to have a baby?" it felt like a knife in my stomach. I couldn't attend baby showers, and it got to the point where I couldn't even go purchase a baby gift. Target gift cards are wonderful when you just can't bear to look at layettes and bibs and bottles any more. It feels like every woman in the world is pregnant except for you, and you start to wonder if you didn't do this to yourself. "Did I wait too long to try? What did I do to anger God?"

Even though I've had my child for two years now, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't look at her and marvel at the miracle that is Zoe. Marvel that I have this joy, this gift, this long-sought for child. Zoe will probably never know the extent of my love for her, that I think is even more powerful because it will forever be coupled with the deep sorrow and agony that it took to get her. Maria told us that we will always carry the emotional scars of infertility with us, even after we conceive and have our children, and she was right.

So I've made it my one-woman mission to be a guidepost for other women who are struggling. I can't do much, but I can pass along the information I learned and hook them up with Becky at P.A.R.I.N.T.S. and hopefully let them know that they are not alone, and that their feelings are completely valid, and that there is someone who understands the completely irrational fears and thoughts and feelings that accompany this awful issue.

My girl here at work ended our conversation with, "I feel so much better. I feel like a weight has been lifted, at least for a little while." That makes me feel so good, and I count my blessings that I had Becky and Maria and the wonderful women in my support group, and I pray for all those women out there who are still dealing with infertility.


Post a Comment

<< Home