Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Infertility-Fatigue Syndrome

So I was talking to my mom-in-law this weekend, and she asked me whether my husband had “recovered.”

“He’s fine. Recovered from what?” I said, half-knowing the answer.

“You know, he was so down at Christmas…,” she said.

“Well yeah,” I said, “Christmas is really hard on both of us.”

There was a pause. “Why?” she asked.

“Do you really need to ask?” I said, somewhat caustically.

“Oh … that.” Then we proceeded into a discussion about IVF and when we’re starting up again (I always lie by a few months, to give me some breathing room).

Am I just too damn sensitive? Because this moment has really stuck with me for the last two days. Seriously? She has to ask WHY we’re not chipper and cheery? At CHRISTMAS? Our second Christmas since our first child should have been born? (Due date for pregnancy no. 1: Dec. 23, 2006.) Never mind that we had to do the holidays with nothing to drink, nothing to smoke—a constant reminder that things are not okay.

You know how we Americans suffer from disaster-fatigue? Code-orange fatigue? Scandal-fatigue? Turns out friends and family can suffer from infertility-fatigue. After a year or so, they just get tired of hearing about it. They want to move on. I don’t even blame them that much—I’m tired of it too.

My mom-in-law apparently thinks that infertility is a problem that is in remission when you’re not trying, something that flares up occasionally, something that you suffer when you’re in a treatment cycle, or when you’ve just suffered a miscarriage, or when you’re going ten rounds with the goddamned HMOs. What she doesn’t understand is that half of the pain is the lost time—the every-childless-day-that-goes-by pain. What hurts isn’t the IVF, or the money we’ve lost, or the surgery (okay, that hurt). But what really hurts is NOT HAVING A CHILD. Day after day. Year after year. Christmas after Christmas.

A final note on this rant. It’s also possible that my mom-in-law understands my depression, but couldn’t see why my husband might also be depressed. I find this upsetting. It’s easy to forget that our men in this long wait with us. And they hurt too.


Working Girl said...

Thank you for your kind post the other day on my blog. I, too, became obsessed with adoption after my first IVF failed. I just couldn't see myself mustering up the courage to do another cycle.

My therapist explained to me the need to mourn the loss of my genetic child before pursuing adoption. I was resistant at first because I just wanted to be a mom. Then I realized I needed to walk the path of least regret and move forward with additional treatment.

And, of course I did get pregnant only to suffer an even greater loss - miscarriage.

So many people around me said, "Oh well, just try again". My husband and I are very about about our infertility and everyone is well aware that "just trying again" involves invasive drugs and surgery with a small chance of positive outcome.

Well intentioned people cannot seem to understand that I haven't experienced one loss but, many after TTC for over 3.5 years. Everyday that I am without my child is devastating.

I am very sorry for all of your losses. I wish your great success in 2008. I will be following your journey!!!

Trish said...

Wow.. THIS was a great (horrible) rant.
My MIL is exactly the same way.
I could hear her saying "Oh. That." just clear as a bell in mind.
And those are the better moments. The rest of the time she's just silent & uncomfortable.

People just don't get it. They really, really don't get it.

I think the worst of it for me is that my HUSBAND is the same way to an extent. He doesn't understand why I cry when my period comes. Or feel fear now that I"m pregnant. What's happened in the past is the past so why let it affect my future.
To me, the past is my future. My future should contain birthday parties and first words and right now.. it doesn't.