The Sweet taste of praise and subsequent cravings

My heartfelt thanks to Lauren at On Fecund Thought for nominating me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award.  In addition to bravely recounting and reporting the deep pain and raw emotions she has experienced since her first pregnancy ended as a missed miscarriage this past March, Lauren’s blog also boasts one of my favorite titles in the blogosphere.  (I love me a pun, even when it’s rooted in pain.)  I found Lauren when I first started blogging and quickly discovered that her loss happened almost concurrently with my third miscarriage.  Over the past three months the emotions she has expressed in her blog have been both familiar and foreign at the same time.  Her words have made me critically examine my own oftentimes jaded and unemotional response to my third loss, and have powerfully reminded me of the women I was when I lost my first pregnancy in 2011.  I’ve certainly put up an emotional wall over the past two years – rarely stopping to grieve or hope.  Lauren’s words remind me that in protecting myself I may also be losing parts of my self, and encourage me to ask how much more am I willing to give to infertility?  Thank you, Lauren, for the nomination and for the inspiration that you provide to a bitter old infertile like me!

So, without further ado:

SUPER SWEET BLOGGING AWARD RULES

Super Sweet Blogging Award image

Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you. (check)

Answer 5 super sweet questions.

Include the Super Sweet Blogging award image in the blog post.

Nominate 12 other bloggers.

The questions:

1. COOKIES OR CAKE?

Ok, I’m gonna fess up.  The “super sweet” blogging award, while super sweet, was probably not the best one to nominate me for.  I kinda don’t do sweets.  I mean, if it’s a birthday I’ll chomp down an obligatory piece of cake or if I’m at a catered work event I’ll indulge in a peanut butter cookie, but generally speaking sweets aren’t my go to.  Give me a giant bag of potato chips any day over sweet treats like cookies or cake.  If forced?  Cookies.  More portable, more variety.  Though, if there were an option for pie, switch me to that team.  I married into a pie crazy family and have come to appreciate my birthday sour cherry pie from the mother-in-law.

2. CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA?

Vanilla.  Preferably with fresh fruit and hot fudge.  It’s healthy then, right?

3. FAVOURITE SWEET TREAT?

None of the above?  Probably shortbread cookies, though.  Not so much the eating but the making as it inevitably reminds me of days around the kitchen table with my mom.

4. WHEN DO YOU CRAVE SWEET THINGS THE MOST?

Rarely do, but when I do it’s usually a temporary and unexplained binge.  Kinda like the non-stop ice cream gorge-fest that’s been going on since the weather got warmer.  Though, that could also be the Gonal…

5. SWEET NICKNAME?

I’ve had many nicknames, but I’m pretty certain none of them were sweet.  😉

The nominations:

Wow, this the tough part.  I highly recommend all the blogs on my blogroll to the right and encourage you all to use the comments section here to recommend others.  As a means of a “I can’t take all this pressure” cop out, I’m going about this strategically.  I’ve been looking for a way to more fully give back to the many folks who have taken time out of their lives to leave a comment on this blog over the past several months.  So, here are my top 12 commenters with blogs (by number of comments left):

  • I first found Josey’s My Cheaper Version of Therapy when I blogged in response to her and another ALI blogger’s discussions of the differences between healing and finding resolution from infertility and developing infertility amnesia.  Since that time Josey has regularly stopped by here to wish me luck, commiserate, and lend a knowing ear.  After 21 months TTC and medical intervention she welcomed her daughter to the world in 2011.  She is now one of the (growing many) women I know in the ALI community who is pregnant with a naturally conceived second child after a much more difficult battle for sticky pregnancy number 1.  These stories always provide me with a hope I’m almost afraid to speak – that ever unspoken dream that this uphill climb will be rewarded and won’t be required when it comes time for number 2.
  • Melanie at Our Last Embryo was another early find in my fledgling blogging days and has been around for most of it both here and on Twitter.  We share an endometriosis diagnosis, a reproductive immunologist, and state of residence.  I wish, however, that fewer hours and miles separated us so that I could thank her in person for her support, and hug her tightly after her recent failed IVF cycle.  Melanie’s story regularly reminds me that terrible things too often happen to good people, but her strength and optimism fill me with certainty that her journey is far from over.
  • The first time Em from Teach Me to Braid commented on my blog she brought me to tears.  In response to my Join the Movement post for NIAW she wrote, in part, “What a powerful voice you have. You are a cornerstone in this movement.”  If there was any moment that made me feel that what I was doing with this blog was actually important, was more than just hubris, reading that comment was the moment.  Now, I think she over-sells me a bit, but I do agree with her on one point – we all have powerful voices and we need to find our own ways to use them most effectively.  Em is currently in the throes of TTC#2 and, while I’m sad to hear of her difficulties with the medical community, it’s also another refreshing reminder that I’m not alone in occasionally wanting to throw an MD or two out the window.
  • Rain Before Rainbow follows the ups, downs, and inbetweens of someone TTC#1 after two prior losses and an endometriosis diagnosis.  Notice any similarities here?  I find myself shaking my head to her posts far too often and her blog has been one that I regularly go back to.  She discusses with impressive clarity many of the emotional interpersonal/societal aspects of IF I’ve largely left out of my blog because I can’t quite gain the perspective on them that she has.
  • Even if she hadn’t nominated me, Lauren of On Fecund Thought would be on this list for all the reasons discussed above and more.
  • A Crack in Everything follows the IF journey of an aspiring single mother by choice.  After initially trying to conceive in 2008 with a partner with known fertility issues, a move and a consult and blood work with a new RE revealed that partner had HIV (that had thankfully not been passed on).  As she writes, “[…] our relationship ended, and it felt more like a death than a divorce. A lot of plans and dreams we’d shared also ended abruptly, all at the same time.”
  • Kitten at Yet Another Bitter Infertile boasts another of my all-time favorite blog titles, while also providing a brutally honest retelling of one woman’s perspective on infertility.  Trying to conceive since January 2011, Kitten has suffered both a miscarriage and a Stage IV endometriosis diagnosis.  I appreciate the mix of humor and non-IF posts she brings to her blog, and find myself commiserating with her as we’ve both had to deal with more than our fair share of delays lately.
  • Globetrotting Canadian ex-pat blogger Sadie of Invincible Spring frequently leaves me longing to travel thanks to the many travel photos that decorate her blog.  After a second trimester loss and two additional miscarriages, Sadie is one of the many whose time is long since over due.  While the travel pics lure me in and leave me drooling, it’s her humor and candor that bring me back again and again.
  • Sarah at The Mamas Rapscallion won me as a forever follower when I read the following: “I live with my beautiful wife, Tammy, and our adorable/asshole cat, Baker. We live in our recently purchased old house, which we attempt to keep from crumbling to the ground as we admire the charming crown molding.”  As the owner of two asshole cats and an old house that’s more crumble than walls, I felt an instant kinship.  Sarah is currently pregnant with her IVF bundle of joy and I couldn’t be fucking happier.  Oh, and I also love her potty mouth… reminds me of someone.
  • Erika of First Comes Love describes herself as “perpetually pre-pregnant” and I totally get that feeling.  I’m hoping her current break after four back-to-back treatment cycles does her good emotionally and physically and that she crosses into the land of pregnant and, better yet, post-pregnant very, very soon!
  • Another winner for bestest title ever is ImmotileTurtle.  A presence on Twitter as well, the Immotile Turtle discusses her life with the double whammy of PCOS and male-factor infertility.  We both started TTC on the younger side of things, both battle PCOS, and both severely dislike birth control.  I’m so anxious to follow along with her current IVF#2.
  • Last, but certainly not least, Whitney from Whitney & Erick is an inspiration due to her tireless work for the infertility community and total openness and transparency on her and her husband’s path to parenthood.  After 7.5 years, 3 IUIs, 2 surgeries, 6 IVF cycles, and 5 miscarriages, Whitney and Erick are currently expecting twins via surrogacy.  Whitney volunteers for RESOLVE and was honored by them as an “Infertility Hero” in 2012.  She served as the vice co-chair of Advocacy Day in 2013 and will co-chair in 2014.  During this year’s NIAW she and her husband bravely shared their story in the Roanoke Times.  What can I say?  She’s an IF rockstar.  Thanks for all that you do, Whitney and Erick!

So, many thanks to all the above for stopping by and commenting on this blog over the past several months.

I have to say, when I got the nod for the Super Sweet Blogging Award I was equal parts honored and reminded of elementary school chain letters and the earliest of email spam due to its “rules.”  However, when I realized participating would give me a way to thank those that have supported me, while also (hopefully) driving increased traffic to these amazing blogs I was suddenly all on board.  So, I participated despite visions of animated GIFs, personal Geocities sites, and instant messages of a/s/l? floating in my head.  This is a long way of saying, don’t feel compelled to participate in kind if you don’t want to; you’ve all already given so much already!

And, the sweet cravings

The other thing this nomination and subsequent exercise has me thinking about is how I can better drive traffic to my own lowly blog.  I feel like I’ve hit saturation levels via my current means and, at the risk of sounding totally narcissistic and needy, I know there are probably others out there going through what I’m going through that would appreciate reading the ramblings of this stimmed-up madwoman.  Don’t get me wrong, I will continue to write whether 1 or 100 are following, but find me an academic that wouldn’t prefer their work to be widely read and their journal’s impact factor to rise.  What can I say, my ego’d like to hit another all-time viewership record.  Would you all mind helping me out? 🙂

Join the Movement

This week marks National Infertility Awareness Week.  It’s the infertility community’s biggest of events, held as we all catch our united breaths and sit on the precipice of that most painful of national holidays – Mother’s Day.

Bloggers Challenge badgeRESOLVE has selected the theme of “Join the Movement” for this year’s Bloggers Unite challenge.  The Blog Challenge seeks, “to bring together bloggers to talk about how you are making the difference in ways large and small in the lives of people with infertility.”  How am I making a difference?  Am I making a difference?  I honestly don’t know.  All I do know is that my life would look much different, much darker right now were it not for our decision to break the silence of our infertility, turn heartache to activism, and establish and foster a multitude of support networks in our lives.  We never set out to be advocates; we just needed to find a way to get through the day.  When my mother died of cancer in 2002 no one asked me to make a difference or join a movement; I grieved, I grew, and I learned to live on.  First, from day to day, then month to month, and, ultimately, year to year.  I figured I’d apply the same approach to infertility.

Mr. But IF and I officially announced our infertility to the world on February 16, 2012.  After 20 months trying to conceive our first child, 2 serious medical diagnoses (with another unknowingly on the way), and 1 ectopic pregnancy terminated at just past 6 weeks with the chemotherapy drug methotrexate, we were tired, lost, and alone.  We had the support of close friends and family earlier on in the struggle, but everything was handled with a hush and a whisper, a gentle hand on the shoulder and a knowing look, and a whole lot of hoping no one outside of that tiny inner sanctum would ask any questions.  We lived like so many others in the trenches of infertility live; composed of 1 part false bravado and 1 part shell shock.  Then, the word “personhood” hit that 24/7 national media cycle.

In case your last name is Van Winkle and you’ve been in hibernation for the past year, personhood has become the rallying call of many anti-abortion/pro-life advocates in this country.  By defining the start of life as the time when sperm first fertilizes egg, personhood advocates seek to grant all the legal rights, privileges, and protections of a human being to the tiniest of embryos.  Primarily done in an effort to criminalize all abortions (the tagline for PersonhoodUSA is “protecting the pre-born by love and by law”), personhood legislation and amendments have the potential to have serious chilling effects on many types of infertility treatments and medically necessary “life of mother” abortions in this country.  If we define life as the merging of sperm and egg to create embryo, then infertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization, during which these fertilized-embryo-proto-“humans” may be subject to some risk, could be akin to murder even though the ultimate goal of these procedures are the creation, not the ending, of life.  Similarly, women such as myself, women who made that debilitating walk into maternity triage pregnant with a doomed ectopic pregnancy and out of maternity triage having poisoned their much wanted child could be turned away at the hospital doors or watch the doctors that treated them be brought up on manslaughter charges.  On February 12 of last year I had enough.  I posted a link to a newspaper article detailing the potential pitfalls of Virginia’s proposed personhood bill on my Facebook wall and explained that, “As the survivor of an ectopic pregnancy, I find legislation like this equal parts disturbing and infuriating. No matter what you think about abortion, nobody should ever have to risk their life hoping a non-viable fetus will naturally miscarry. I can say first hand that the experience is traumatic enough without injecting politics into the mix.”  I sat back, held my breath, and waited for the anticipated fallout.

I almost think I wanted a battle.  I wanted controversy, I wanted someone to scream at, I wanted to make ample use of that “unfriend” button.  Looking back now I know I was grieving for the pregnancy we’d lost just 3 months earlier.  With each new personhood article that hit local and national media sources, I found myself attracted to the comments section like they were my own personal train wreck.  I added my own comments, told my own fresh story to the frenzied gaggle of anonymous Internet commentators, and watched as I was called a murderer, a selfish whore, a baby-killer, and worse for choosing my own life over that of a mass of cells in my fallopian tube that had not one single hope of ever becoming a human being.  I think I may have actually liked it, or maybe thought I deserved it.  I was in so much pain, so very lost and confused, that the hatred and scorn of the Internet masses was actually something I sought out.  If I couldn’t talk to anyone in my real life about the baby I had killed, at least I had the faceless mob that wanted me to bleed out before ending my pregnancy to confide in.  When the flagellation of anonymous strangers ceased being enough, I brought my story to those I know in real life.  I almost couldn’t believe it when all that was doled out to me in return was a helping of love and support bigger than I could have ever dreamed.  I didn’t get my confrontation; instead, I got love.  And, only through that love did I learn to forgive myself.

Because a gal can never have enough of a good thing (shoes, jewelry, trans-vaginal ultrasounds…), I went from hiding my infertility to shouting it from the rooftops in about a month’s time.  On March 20, 2012, I announced my intention to walk in RESOLVE’s inaugural Washington, D.C. Walk of Hope; on April 4, 2012, I presided over the first meeting of my RESOLVE peer-led infertility support group; and, during Infertility Awareness Week last year, Mr. But IF and I attended a local RESOLVE fundraising dinner organized by a support group member.

I think it matters that our infertility 0 to 60mph in 10 seconds flat happened during a four month time span during which we were not permitted to try and conceive.  After receiving a methotrexate injection to terminate my ectopic pregnancy on November 18, 2011, we were forced to wait three months for the drug to leave my system and for my folic acid levels to return to adequate preconception levels.  Methotrexate works by attacking rapidly growing cells in the body and thus is great at killing cancer and embryos alike.  It’s also a folic acid antagonist and totally depletes the body’s stores of this most essential of prenatal vitamins.  While we waited we went to our first reproductive endocrinologist and jumped through what we assumed would be a bunch of pointless diagnostic hoops (hey, doc, I know what the problem is!  I don’t ovulate!), only to discover during my first HSG that both of my fallopian tubes were proximally blocked.  Hashimoto’s, PCOS, anovulation, ectopic pregnancy, blocked fallopian tubes?  I was about to shout infertility Yahtzee in the months leading up to our public infertility confessional.  I needed to do something – anything – to help keep focus, to help maintain sanity, to help me find a reason to get out of the bed in the morning and lay my head down to sleep at night.  Fundraising?  Sure.  Support groups?  Why not.  Dinner out?  Sign me up.  Hell, had someone asked me to discuss our infertility on a tabloid news program, write a tell-all book, or become medical test subject for fledgling ultrasound probers, I probably would have done it.  Anything was better that waiting and remembering, waiting and wondering.

Something funny happened along the way, though.  All these avoidant behaviors, these selfish distractions, they did a lot more than help me pass the time.  They did something that no amount of openness with fertile friends and family members could have ever done.  These activities normalized my experience, they let me know I was most certainly not alone in my feelings of pain and powerlessness.  And, not the least of which, anger at an insurance system that was well within their rights to tell me the surgical removal of my endometriosis was akin to breast augmentation because that surgery might help me make the “lifestyle choice” to become pregnant.

When my mother died I rebuked all the attempts of others to tell me that they understood my sorrow and had walked in my shoes.  My mother lost her battle with cancer 14 agonizing months and 1 brief remission after her initial diagnosis.  We rushed her to the hospital on my 18th birthday when I was home from college for Fall Break, I was told of her diagnosis a month later when I was home for Thanksgiving, and I spent the bulk of my Christmas break that year pleading with her in vain to let me withdraw from school so I could be home for her treatments.  We lost her the following Christmas.  I was 19; she was 48.  During the funeral and for many months after friends and family offered endless thoughts and condolences for which I’ll be eternally grateful.  All offers of support were welcome, save one.  Each time a friendly face recounted how hard it was for them to lose a parent or grandparent I couldn’t stand it.  90 year old grandparents are supposed to die, men and women in their 50’s and 60’s are supposed to face their own parent’s mortality.  A college sophomore isn’t supposed to watch her once-vibrant mother waste away to skin and bones in the matter of 14 months.  I have exactly three childhood friends who are allowed to talk to me about my pain like that.  One lost her mother much younger than I to sudden cardiac arrest, and the other two, sisters, lost their father to cancer a few months after my mom passed.  Beyond those three, however, no one is allowed to try and normalize my experience.  I built this wall around myself to keep out all such attempts to share in my pain and commiserate.

That wall was still there when infertility and pregnancy loss entered my world.  I was determined that no one knew my pain, and no one had a right to compare their pain with mine.  Yes, I had my lovely gals in the computer, but the mere act of having friends in the computer in the first place just served to reinforce my otherness.  Normal women, fertile women – they don’t have friends in the computer.  Only lonely, broken me had those.  But, oh how wrong I was.  How wonderfully and how sadly wrong I was.  As with coming out to friends and family beforehand, becoming involved in the real life infertility support and advocacy communities challenged my preconceptions and base assumptions.

2012 Walk of Hope

The 2012 Washington, D.C. RESOLVE Walk of Hope

I signed up for last year’s Walk of Hope on a whim and was attracted to the event because, unlike so many other fundraising walks, no minimum monetary goal was required and no registration cost would be assessed.  RESOLVE recommended a $100 goal, and I stuck with that default knowing no harm would be done if I couldn’t meet it.  $780 later, my preconceptions were shattered.  As I’ve discussed before, my biggest fear when founding my peer-led support group was that I’d be alone in the room with Mr. But IF and without any support group coffee.  In the past year our smallest gathering included 8 women and men, and our “surviving the holidays” special December meeting stretched our small conference room to the max with a total of 23 attendees.  There went another blind assumption.  Even when we announced our struggles to friends and family, I expected some push back, some controversy, especially from one particular wing of our family.  The very same relative from whom we expected the greatest judgement was the first to let us know of her own struggles with back to back ectopic pregnancies.  Another lesson in don’t judge a book by its fertile-appearing cover.

Unfortunately, far too many people know my pain, live my pain, survived my pain.  That 1 in 8 figure?  It’s never been clearer to me than when I walked alongside 720 other brave women and men in three states who had raised tens of thousands of dollars for RESOLVE; than when we go around the table and share our stories each month at our support group; than when my infertility announcement on Facebook was greeted with 5 private messages within a week from high school, college, and professional friends and acquaintances – all young, educated, successful women – who told me of their own silent struggles with infertility and pregnancy loss.

So, how did I “Join the Movement?”  I didn’t join the movement, I was saved by the movement.  At best, I’m an accidental activist.  After my mom died, I found a strength in myself I didn’t know was there, I found a man by my side I’d someday call my husband, and I found a drive to make my mother’s life’s work, her self-proclaimed greatest achievement, her daughter, a woman she’d be proud of.  Through that experience I learned that my personal and professional successes – what some might view as solely selfish pursuits – are things far beyond myself.  Less than three weeks removed from Mother’s Day, here I am embracing the greatest gift she gave to me.  The knowledge that, through living a life she’d be proud of, I’m making a difference.  My path on this long journey of infertility is a similar one.  I make a difference by living my life, raising my voice, and walking alongside countless  others.  Actions rooted in self-preservation walk on their own legs and leave their own legacies.  I join the movement by living it – and, that’s alright.

For more information about infertility and National Infertility Awareness Week, please see the following helpful links from RESOLVE:

Infertility 101

About National Infertility Awareness Week

Character outage

Feeling a little stumped for a post today, but still trying to chug along and keep my promise to myself of a post a day.  It’s not usual I have nothing to say (as you might have figured already!), but I guess everyone has their out of character moments.

And, oddly enough, that supposition actually leads pretty directly to the topic I ultimately decided to discuss here.  Though I’m loving this blog, this much needed outlet, it still feels a little odd and out of character for me.  First, after years of speaking derisively of narcissistic “bloggers,” here I find myself.  In my teen years I tried to coax myself out of my inherent shyness by essentially mantra-izing Andre Dubus’ quote equating shyness and narcissism.  “Shyness has a strange element of narcissism,” he proclaims.  “[A] belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.”  In essence I’ve tried to draw upon my distaste for narcissism to coax myself out of introspection with mixed results over the years.  Ultimately, the act of blogging is something I never saw in my future, but something I now find myself relishing.

Similarly, after years of suppressing the drive to write creatively so that I could get on with my work as a SeriousAcademic™, I find myself getting out from behind my footnotes and embracing the comma splice, the run-on sentence, terminal prepositions, and, well, sentences starting with “and.”  I flirted with writing fiction in high school, and even dreamt of being a famous authoress when much younger, but by college that passion had faded.  My anal-retentiveness, dry wit, and aggressive, no holds barred writing style were a match made in heaven with academic prose.  In appropriating academic-ese as my modus operandi, however, I let that creative side stagnate for a while.  It’s been fun, if entirely out of character, to try and retrain my brain to reenter a written world where creativity isn’t measured by the pedigree and prominence of the authors represented in your footnotes.

Finally, this endeavor is out of character for its anonymity.  In “real life” Mr. But IF and I are exceedingly open about our struggles with infertility and repeat pregnancy loss.  But, for a whole host of reasons that likely need not be explained, we’ve opted to remain anonymous here.  As a young professional in an extremely competitive field, I worry about connecting these words to my identity on the open Web.  And, that worry itself, feels unfamiliar, as much of my professional identity is hinged on the academy’s respect for academic freedom.  Yet, I’ve witnessed first-hand the many ugly underbellies of academia.  In graduate school, a peer – a young woman in the second year of her dissertation writing in a stable marriage to a hard-working, income, and insurance-earning husband – became pregnant.  When her (and my) female advisor heard the news, she replied by, first, handing her forms to withdraw from the program, and, second, (sarcastically) congratulating her on choosing family over career.  I wish this was a one-off exception, but it’s closer to the norm than most might like to admit.  There are huge differences across disciplines, across institutions, and among colleagues, but it only takes a few cocktails at a faculty happy hour to get the stories rolling.  While it’s often not accomplished so bluntly, young women in academia are frequently reminded this is an either/or game.  Endless adjuncting/post-docs/visiting professorships, uncertain employment and un-benefitted positions, the battle for tenure, and publish or perish aren’t good bedfellows with a newborn.  So, here I am, leader of a support group, outspoken advocate, proud infertile, lurking uncomfortably behind a pseudonym.

So, for now, this creativity starved, anonymous, anti-blogger will listen to the rain hit her roof, with heating pad on back and kitty at feet, gazing appreciatively at flowers sent yesterday by a dear friend, and type away.

What did I do to deserve friends like these?  Thanks, A!

What did I do to deserve friends like these? Thanks, A!

Reinforcement and clarity

Each time I sit down to add to this burgeoning blog, I over-analyze my chosen topic.  I’ve done it since day one, and, as the posts pile up, I’m doing it even more.  Right as I was beginning to get so deep into my head that I worried I might never come out long enough to post again, the ALI (adoption/loss/infertility) blogging community came to my rescue.  Thank you, dear strangers, for the much-needed reinforcement and clarity you likely have no idea you gave me.

Looking at the small collection of posts I’ve completed, there isn’t much range in the concepts, emotions, and themes discussed.  Anger.  Jealousy.  Frustration.  Bitterness.  They are, for the moment, the four corners of this blog.  Each day as I put virtual pen to paper, I wondered what these cornerstones said of me, said of my journey, said of my worth as a blogger, said of my suitability to be even one of the many voices of infertility.  I am infertility, but am I the infertility that should be out there for public consumption?  No matter how hard I tried to self-affirm my point of view, I still felt like a whiny, self-indulgent, infertility stereotype.

Then, I found this Tuesday’s tandem posts from Cristy of Searching for our Silver Lining and Josey of My Cheap Version of Therapy.  The posts discuss the stark differences between healing and finding resolution from infertility and developing infertility amnesia.  I’ll leave you to peruse Cristy and Josey’s fuller discussions on your own; their thoughts are far more developed than mine.  But, I will add that two very important observations jumped out at me from their posts that I find worthy of repetition and further elaboration.

First, Cristy writes,

The truth is, those who are unresolved (in the trenches, so to speak) are going to have a very hard time distinguishing between healing and infertility amnesia. I know I most certainly did. After all, you’re in survival mode and one rarely is at their most reasonable and rational when they are fighting for their family.

Perhaps this will come off as yet more uncritical self-affirmation, but this comment resonated with me.  It went a long way toward granting me peace and helping me recognize that – as I sit here very much still in the trenches – my options are limited.  Yes, my current self-reflection rests on a bedrock of negativity, but, no, that doesn’t mean it always will.  I owe myself no expectation of rationality today as the battle rages, but do hope that time will bring greater clarity once the war is over.  I can strive to achieve what Cristy calls, “a genuine effort to move beyond.”

Josey hit even more to the heart of what I’ve been feeling when she reflects on the act of blogging/journaling itself.  She observes that,

[Posts of substance] are easier to come by when your life – your world – is full of turmoil and pain. At least for me, it has been easier to sit down and write deeply about the times that have made me cry in life than the times that have made me rejoice. I don’t know if it is because as children we are taught that gloating is bad and we shouldn’t rub it in, or if it’s simply because I often feel the need to work through my painful times with words and journaling but during the joyful times I tend to just revel in the moment. For whatever reason, I have to make a conscious effort to chronicle the good times as well as the bad, and slowly by surely, that is becoming easier.

It’s not lost on me that the moment I decided to go through with starting this blog was the moment we learned I’d be in for yet another drawn-out wait to try and conceive again.  We’re in a total standstill, and that standstill brings greater pain to my life than my miscarriages, my diagnoses, and my infertility.  When there are no daily injections, no trips to the doctor, no hard decisions, no second opinions, all that remains is the worry and the what if.  Is it any wonder that my daily self-reflection in this time of inactivity rehashes the same themes again and again?  With nothing new to add to the conversation, I just keep picking the same old scab.  I hope I find it in me to also reflect on the good, but for now the bad is front and center and it seems disingenuous to pretend it’s not.  Unless I want this blog to become a thing of fiction, I think it’s best to continue on in the current trajectory.

Yesterday over breakfast Mr. But IF and I realized that, should we ever get the all-clear to return to treatment, some hard decisions will have to be made about my blogging behavior.  Do I continue on with these grand highfalutin substantive posts alone, or do I provide nitty-gritty play-by-plays of the current cycle?  As hard as it might be to believe, when I started this blog I never considered that question.  I was so in need of an immediate outlet, a one-click venue to vent my anger and frustration at another delay, that I never considered that one day the delays might end, the realities of our lives might change, and the purpose of this blog might evolve.  For an aggressive over-planner like myself, this mental blind-spot is astounding.

Seeing as this blog was created in a moment of base raw emotions, why should I step back from those raw emotions solely because they might reveal a pregnancy or miscarriage in live time?  I will blog our journey as I need to blog it, safe in the knowledge that these acts of sharing might likely be a long first step on the path to healing.