Monday, February 21, 2011

No, I'm STILL not glad I went through IF

In our brief time together the other day, BFB and I were discussing how delightful it is that I get to have a baby bunny in the year of the rabbit. Then she said something along the lines of it will be interesting to see if you end up being glad you didn't have a baby sooner. Now, before we throw down on her ass, she wasn't saying, oh I bet you'll be glad you went through infertility because now you get a year of the rabbit baby! Nor was she spouting any of that clearly it was meant to be, whatever happens is for the best bullshit. She was saying something more like once you meet your child, you might feel like that particular child couldn't have come into existence at any other time, and you'll be thankful that she is she or he is he, and therefore pleased about the circumstances of his or her conception.

I get the idea. Each life is so individual, so irreplaceable. Each time one flames into existence, it sparks a million hopes and dreams, which--I clumsily imagine--is part of what makes it so devastating when one is extinguished. And if you have a sibling or multiple kids, you must have marveled over the amazing variety that the same basic genetic material can generate. So it's totally possible that when Bun Bun is here, I'll look at him and think thank God you weren't conceived any sooner, because if you had been, you would not have been YOU. In fact, I feel like many of you have expressed something similar to that sentiment when your longed-for child is born: everything you endured makes sense when you gaze into those eyes, because it brought you to that particular moment.

But that's not the same as saying that it was no big deal to wait two years--two years filled with nights and days of complete and utter despair--or to have my heart broken a million times or to get gutted like a trout.

I struggle with perspective on this issue. On the one hand, I see many of you going through such agony (and this week seems extra bad for some of my favorite girls: Egghunt, Andie, GingerandLime, I'm lookin' at you), and I feel like a poseur. Was my experience really so bad? It was just two little years. It was just a lot of little procedures and one little surgery.

On the other hand, I know I have a tendency to minimize things. For example, I was sexually assaulted a long time ago (like the way I dropped that intimate little bomb on you with no warning?) and when I talk about it, I tend to add I'm grateful it wasn't worse. A therapist once pointed out that I shouldn't feel the need to have grateful in a sentence about being sexually assaulted. Some experiences don't need any caveats, they're just awful.

So I guess this is really just a reminder to myself. It's okay to acknowledge that something was wretched, without any need to compare or minimize. You don't believe in a deterministic world, Bunny. You don't have to be thankful for the shit-tastic things that happened on the way to the land of unicorns and rainbows. You can be grateful for what IS, without being grateful for the causal chain.


  1. You make a good point, especially after my previous post about how I'm thankful for infertility to get me through challenging pregnancy symptoms. I do think infertility has made me much more thankful for what I have (discomforts included) - but it doesn't mean I'm not still pissed off that I had to go through it in the first place. And it certainly doesn't make me less jealous of those who get pregnancy easily.

  2. Very interesting. I don't know if I'll ever be glad to have gone through infertility. But maybe it's because I haven't reached the other side and can't see any wonderful amazing lesson to be gained from all this crap...

    You don't have to be grateful for the bad - I love this. So very true.

  3. Dude! I used to say the same thing - I added the same coda to my tale of assaulty woe - always so grateful for the fate that could have happened to me and does happen to so many girls. But 'tis true - oe need not be grateful that one's awful wasn't worse - it was awful and that's that.

    I for one am sorry that you had to endure your journey to BunBun - I wish that it had been sunshine and lollipops all the way the bebe. IF is wretched in all the ways it strikes.


  4. This is a beautiful post. I love the idea of being grateful for Bun Bun in the exact moment, i.e. any child conceived in any other time would not have been the same. But I totally get how that's different from actually being grateful to have gone through infertility.

    And stop it with the minimizing already. Don't we all have enough shit to put up with, without giving ourselves more?

    (P.S. Yay year of the rabbit!)

  5. Just because you arrive in your destination doesn't mean that you are happy for the flat tire, the subsequent accident, and the visit to the hospital that delayed your arrival. You are definitely MORE glad than if you had just per usual met with no unfortunate events, but there's no way you'd repeat any of that or say that you are GLAD for it. See how asinine that is in that context?

    That gutting left some scars and you can be very grateful to not be there any more. But not so grateful that you would do it all over again. Hell no.

  6. I am happy that I've grown more aware, more empathetic, and gotten closer to my husband on this journey instead of letting IF crush my soul. I suppose that when we hold our adopted child in my hands, I will be supremely grateful for our IF that led us to that exact child - from what I hear from other adoptive parents, that is typically the emotion they feel. But, that will never minimize how freakin' hard IF is.

  7. I do feel grateful for many of the things I've learned or gained over the past two years, but I will never feel grateful or glad that I lost my first pregnancy. As much as I want *this* one to work out and as joyful as I will be if I get to have this baby (and as much as I can admit that, objectively, the timing is better in terms of my degree to have a kid now rather than a year ago), I also know I would have loved and adored that first baby, too, and I know that losing that potential special person is a terrible thing that can never be made pretty.

  8. It registers, but it passes and returns off and on. You sure seem to have nailed it for not having the BunBun in your arms to drive the point home.

    Well done, Grasshopper.

  9. This is where I left the dialogue with my SIL (snarl, THAT crap again), trying to impart the difference between honoring what you've been through while not being glad/grateful about it all. (Because apparently I should be glad and grateful about it all.)

    I do feel a sense of appreciation for my IF journey and the perspective I've gleaned by way of it. I recognize that it has made me a different person, that it's deepened my empathy and reverence. I recognize that it was this path that led Arlo into my life, and I couldn't be more in love with him. I wouldn't trade him for anything. I am one of those referenced bloggers who has openly said that I'd live that shit all over again if it meant I could have him. But that doesn't mean that I sit back with a cup of tea in one hand and my baby in the other arm and say GOLLY GEE, I AM SO THANKFUL AND HAPPY FOR IT ALL.

    You can love your baby without loving every nanosecond of anguish and despair that came before him/her. It's kind of a la cart that way.

  10. I never saw any benefits of IF when I was in the thick of it and in fact, I outright resented pretty much everything it involved. But now that W is here, I do think that I'm a more patient and appreciative parent than I would have been had motherhood come more easily. It's not that I'm glad that I went through infertility - I wish I hadn't - but now that everything has worked out and I have my happy ending, I feel almost neutral about the experience. Or maybe detached from it. I dunno. Although it's like you said, if I had gotten pregnant all those years ago I wouldn't have THIS baby. The idea that W never would have existed except for IF kinda blows my mind and when I think of it like that I'm really, really, really glad things happened the way they did.

  11. Your posts are always so thought-provoking. Good on you!

    I'm not sure how I feel about this. Sure I've said the words, "I appreciate what we've been through because without it we wouldn't be at THIS point." But part of me thinks it's a bunch of BS. There is no way of knowing where we would be if we hadn't gone through (or are still going through) the struggles of IF so there is really no way of knowing if we are better off now. I think that it's a positive that as human beings we can tend to look on the bright side of things and focus on the good (not all of us) but that's just in our nature. It's a survival tactic, in my opinion. A good one, to be sure, but nonetheless...

    On the other point you make - about deserving this after ONLY having gone through such-and-such: there is no point in ever making that comparison. I remember a conversation with my mom early after getting my heart passed through a blender for the very first time and she told me that grief doesn't work that way. It's not less or more than anyone else's. It just is and you have to recognize that before you can move on from it.

    Anyway, enough rambling. You are right to just be grateful for what IS.

  12. "You can be grateful for what IS, without being grateful for the causal chain."

    Yes, it is exactly so. bunny, you're brilliant.

  13. i'm a horrible cynic, but that line of reasoning about how this child is the perfect one that you could only have had this way, etc., etc., always incites the wee voice in my head to ask what about those earlier possible children? would they not also have been perfect?

    i'm bad at believing in fate that way.

    but maybe all that will be washed away in a flood of prolactin or something.

  14. IF is a shitty, shitty thing. It doesn't matter if you never have a child, or manage to have a litter of them. Going through IF to get to there is shitty.

    Would I do it all over again if I knew I would get Jackson at the end? Yes, undoubtedly. Would I without that guarantee? That's hard to say. It was shitty, after all. Will I ever go through it again to fulfill some need for another baby? Also hard to say. Because it might be shitty, or worse still, shittier.

    I think I have shat upon this topic enough. You get my meaning. There's no reason to be "grateful" for shitty things even if it's just because they weren't even shittier. Only be grateful for the good, however it came to be. It's only fair.

  15. Phew, bunny, I'm sorry for the bomb.
    I do the minimizing too (although it really annoys me when others tell me stuff like "well, it could be worse"), but you're right, we shouldn't. There's no need to be grateful that it wasn't worse. It was/is bad enough.

    Despite all this I hope that, once Bun Bun is here, you will feel that this is the perfect child for you.

  16. Very good point, Bunny.

    The only thing I am kind of grateful for with this whole miscarriage/IF trip, is the ability to relate to other couples who are going through it. There's a whole world of fears/desires/heartbreaks/joy that I would never really know about if I hadn't gone through them. When I read or hear about a miscarriage, I can completely empathize. I couldn't do that before. I could feel sorry for them. I could think, "oh, how horrible." But I couldn't really understand. Same with IF.

    That's the only thing I'm grateful for--that ability to relate to others in a new way.

    But would I give that up for a stress-free, easily conceived child? Hell, yes.

  17. I'm sorry it took me so long to comment on this entry, Bunny. I thought I had commented, but now I realize that this was a post I needed to digest before responding (and I have a slow digestive system, unfortunately).
    I was broken hearted when I read about the sexual assault. I couldn't get passed that, and I didn't think that this is what you wanted a comment on. I think this is what held me back. I hate that some human excrement did this to you. I also hate that you had to go through 2 years of pain through infertility. Those aspects of your human experience were likely grade-A awful, and I'm sorry either one of those (let alone both) ever had to happen to you. There is no need for gratitude there, save for the fact that you came through those experiences a strong and whole woman.