Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Mistakes I've Made

A year ago around this time I was preparing to head to Calgary for IVF. We had spent about 5 or 6 years and almost $15, 000 ttc. I became totally and completely obsessed with trying to get pregnant. I can admit that now...that I was obsessed although I hated DH every time he said I was. Trying to have a baby became the only thing that mattered to me. I would get home from work and immediately get on the computer networking on message boards and websites, reading all of the TTC emails that came in with the newest strategy to getting pregnant, buying books and any other remedy that might help me get pregnant. 

The problem is I lost everything else that was important in my life in the process: quality time with my beautiful, healthy teenage son, my marriage, my motivation for my job and most importantly I lost myself. 

Not long after I quit writing I turned into an empty shell of a person. I quit feeling. I refused to allow myself to think about my broken dream of a large family. I didn't allow myself to grieve. I would wake up in the morning and literally feel like I would wind myself up in my bathroom while applying my make-up and fake smile in order to face the world each day, but then I would crash when I got home. I didn't know who I was anymore. The only thing that had defined me (and my marriage) was TTC. I can certainly say that if it wasn't for my son and the beautiful children I work with everyday, I'm not sure I would have gotten out of bed in the mornings. 

And I hated my home. Sometimes I would find myself sitting in my car out front of my beautiful, brand new home willing myself to go in. It was big with empty rooms and became a painful reminder of how we weren't going to bring new babies home. I had the spare bedroom mentally decorated for a nursery before the drywall had even gone in. 

I became really good at putting on a brave face for friends and family. Hosting DH's 40th birthday, christmas parties and so on. But I felt like a fake. I was dead inside. I could no longer see the beauty around me. I lost my gratitude for the incredible life I already had and could only think about what I didn't. The only people who could see this happening were DH and DS though. I was a ghost in my home. I'm not sure that I will ever be able to forgive myself for the pain I have put them through over the past year. 

Now my marriage has ended and I am working at picking up the pieces. Maybe I should have asked for help but I thought I could handle everything on my own. I am one of those women who believes I have to be perfect all of the time (don't show weakness)...I thought I could handle the stress. But I didn't. And asking for help isn't showing weakness...I know that now. And grieving is necessary if I am ever going to be able to move on. There are so many things I wish I could go back and change. I really did want more children. I wanted to give DH a child...I wanted us to be a family without realizing we already were. But if I would have known I'd sacrifice everything in my quest, I would have done things a lot differently (obviously).  

Infertility is a horrible, stressful and often lonely road. I became addicted to message boards because I felt they were the only people in the world who understood me (and I have made some really great online friends) but my real life friends and DH could never understand that relationship. Probably because I spent way too much time online which was true but that was where I felt I fit. 

After I learned that I was the cause of infertility my self-esteem went right down the toilet. I felt like a total failure. I prayed everyday that the IVF would work so I wouldn't feel so worthless anymore...but, of course, I didn't respond to the medication (more of a failure now) and I am now working on forgiving myself and my body for this. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is Infertility consumed my life and eventually ruined my marriage, my identity and my self-worth. It is horribly devastating and debilitating. I should have sought out professional help to deal with my grief but I never did. That was my first mistake. A 1 hour counseling session before and after your IVF procedure is not nearly enough time to help you understand the emotions and stress you are going through. And it is so important that you go through this counseling as a couple (so that you don't learn after the fact that your spouse was only doing it to make you happy and really didn't care either way). 

Please, learn from me, if you are faced with Infertility (and I mean real Infertility...if you have been TTC for 8 months you have no clue) get help. Talk to someone (a professional), talk to your DH, take time to enjoy the blessings you already have in your life. Learn from the mistakes I've made. 

I can be your person too if you me: 


Julia said...

as someone who is only beginning this journey, I can't understand this to the extent I should to truly know what you've gone through. But, I wanted to say I really related to what you were saying. I'm looking forward to reading more about what you have to say and learning more!

I friended you, I hope that's ok, and you are more than welcome at my Newbie Infertile blog at
You are more than welcome there!

CanadianMaple said...

Wow. I found your blog by accident. I'm just new in the infertility game, and we're dealing with a pretty severe diagnosis. My husband has azoospermia, no sperm.

I am totally obsessed with researching online, message boards and cannot stop thinking about it.

We're newlyweds and don't have years and years as a foundation. I have been feeling really detached from my husband over the past week and I know it could easily become a pattern.

I relate to so much of what you have said. I really need to reflect on the mistakes I have made in just the past few months.

Best wishes to you. I really hope that things are much better now for you.