I've gone back and forth on this blog post - in a way, it feels wrong to post it - but it also feels wrong to keep it in my drafts forever. I think for my past journey and because of what this blog is all about, I need to man up and push publish on it…
Perhaps it will give someone who has a friend battling IF an insight into the vast emotions we battle daily.
At the start of the year I found myself surrounded by babies and bellies; I originally blogged about my feelings here. Since then I have to say that in terms of coping with all I've been through in the past - it has been a liberating and at times very difficult year; drawing a line in the sand of where my pain ends and where my happiness (for them) begins. I *think* I've done a pretty good job supporting and loving both very dear friends and family grow their tummies and slowly adding to their broods.
Looking back this year has shaped me further and made me face fears I would rather have kept buried. I have grown and I have learnt more about perspective than I ever dreamed possible.
I won't say it hasn't been hard; there have been times I was so fragile I thought I would shatter under the pressure, but I kept going and I worked through what was going on in my head both internally and externally - my shrink is another $500 richer for it and I have filled a journal with my thoughts. There have been moments I have had to put on a brave face, smile through gritted teeth and generally push one foot forward as I battled to keep what I was feeling inside so as not to dampen the sheer joy of others.
I am so proud of ME for having that strength to push on; to not wear my pain on the outside and to finally accept, acknowledge and move forward.
August arrived with a forecast of showers. Two baby showers in as many weeks. You ask ANYONE who has struggled ONE iota with Infertility and they will tell you they avoid Baby Showers like the bubonic plague.
I remember one such shower in the past, back while I was struggling to conceive my little girl - I sat and smiled bravely throughout the whole shindig. It's NOT so much about all the pain and sadness a baby shower stirs up - for me, it is a battle of balancing the sad (for me & my situation) against the happy (of them & their situation). This particular shower I was so immensely happy for the showeree (is that even a word?) as she too had fought an epic battle. At the end as everyone was leaving, the wicked witch (AKA Aunty Flo) arrived and the showeree ended up crying (darn those pregnancy hormones) and still I smiled, blinking back my own tears assuring her that everything was fine. Would be fine. And you know what it was. 9 months later I too delivered my little girl.
Such is the circle of life.
The first of the two baby showers was a lovely morning tea with a group of lovely ladies. I was beyond anxious before hand, but once I arrived I pushed aside my own issues and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I laughed and giggled while playing the games and ate too much sweet food. I walked away peaceful, knowing I had finally turned a corner.
The second shower I had received a message on Facebook prior asking me along, but also giving me an Out should I so desire. That small gesture nearly made me cry. More often than not, its the small act of acknowledgement that sends me unravelling. I was beyond honoured to have been asked at all. And to have her acknowledge that the event might be hard for me was beyond all expectations.
You see - this is not about Sympathy. Although it was a loss and grieving had to be done, I don't want anyone to pat me on the back and say "there-there, can I sing you Warm Kitty to cheer you up?" I don't want or need that.
Acknowledgment on the other hand.
It goes so far. To have someone acknowledge that YES there will be underlying pain "I understand this may be hard on you" makes a difficult moment easier to bare.