Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Whispering about surrogacy and infertility

I am re-posting this today because I have had some comments about the "Comments Section" is messed up in the other post. Hope this works. Thank you so much to all of you who read this before.

Just stumbled across this blog Barren and Beautiful who asks the question "Why do we whisper about infertility?"

Since I love answering question (and none of you is asking any), I will answer questions I find floating out in blog-world.

There was a time when I did not want anyone to know about these difficulties, I felt so horrible about myself that I could not fathom the looks of pity and false sympathy. My infertility diagnosis came when I was 21 while I was still trying to identify myself as a person. In childhood, I always imagined that my primary title as a woman would be "Mother" and as I approached that milestone, it was suddenly snatched away. Over the past 11 years much has changed, as it does for most people, the biggest change for me though is my ability to talk about infertility without shame.

At least that is what I believed before reading the above-mentioned post. With my friends and family, I give them all the gory details, of which there are plenty; with others, I use it almost as a weapon. When I hear the questions, "So do you have children?" "Wow, you have been married a long time, when are you going to start a family" or "Do you not like children?" My immediate reaction is to kick them in the shins or stick them with hot pokers, but since my mother did an excellent job in curbing these violent tendencies I usually just say "We are not ready" or a similarly benign answer. At some moments, those moments when I cannot stand to hear that question, I say things like, "I had to decide between being a mother and being pregnant, so we chose to be parents." or "It is not possible for us to have children." or "I am infertile so having babies is not that easy for us." I am sure that there are more but those are the ones I use most of the time. People are always disarmed and generally try to change the subject, though there are others who actually keep asking questions. As stated above I love questions and do my best to answer them.

I hate this part of myself, that part that wants to hurt others who hurt me. A part of me who picks out people's insecurities and uses it against them. 99% of the time, I can keep this side of me in check and then there are those times when I let it out in all its glory. This is the part of me that I would happily get rid of if given the opportunity that is until I feel the need to defend myself. The only solace I get out of this is the hope that the next time they are around someone without children that they will not ask insensitive questions.

I am trying to whisper as much as I can about infertility because lately discussing the subject has brought out a side of myself that I cannot stand.

On track 2 of this album, I am here telling everyone about my infertility. This blog is a safe place for me to talk about what is happening. The majority of the people here are going to something similar and understand how cutting these comments can be. I am sure there will come a day when someone says something negative, but that day has yet to come. I am so grateful to have this outlet and the feedback from all of you. Knowing that other people are out there helps more than you know. Infertility becomes very lonely after so many years and there are some things that try, as they may people not in the infertility shoes cannot understand.

I cannot whisper about infertility because I love this support system made possible by me going "public".

Moving onto track 3, I want to use this experience to teach others about this little understood part of infertility and what I think is the most surrounded with misunderstanding. One day my child will go out into the world and I want to try to reduce the number of people will have misconceptions about how he/she came into the world. It is difficult for me to think that one day someone may say something hurtful to my child about surrogacy. I can only hope that it is long after they are old enough to know the entire story so that they realize how ridiculous the comments are.

I cannot whisper about this issue because the more people who know the reality the fewer chances ignorance has to affect my child.

Skipping to track 4, being here in the black hole of infertility a lot of emotions build up. In the years that I kept this all quiet were painful and difficult years. For the first four years of our marriage, we dealt with this issue by trying to convince ourselves that children were not something that we wanted in our lives. It was important for us to not discuss children for two reasons, we both knew that it was going to be a long process and we were not really ready to become the parents that we wanted to be. Around 3.5 years into our marriage we started to talk around the edges of adding to our family. Since we knew that, it was not going to just happen we started to educate ourselves about the options. I did really well with this emotionally for about 6 months, I was able to stay detached and look at everything in an objective manner. Then one day I was reading a website and it hit me, "we are going to be parents, we are actually going to have a baby." That was the day the clock really started to run, and it has been getting louder with every passing second. Every announced impending birth felt like a punch in the gut. When surrogacy finally became our chosen path, I knew that I was going to have to do a lot of work on myself before I was ready to participate appropriately in this adventure. Being able to work out many of my feelings here has benefited me more than just about anything I have done. Having to be brutally honest about the process and the accompanying feelings has helped me shape what this journey needs to look like for everyone involved.

I do not whisper here because it is cheaper than therapy.

Finding the balance between screaming from the rooftops, spitting in peoples' faces, or being a mess of mental illness has personally been a constant battle. I believe that I have been getting better at finding this balance, but I am human and do get it horribly wrong from time to time. Infertility is a wild and bumpy journey, but mostly it is an overwhelming journey that gets very heavy sometimes. Staying silent or whispering in corners is doing very little good for all us women and men who are locked in the struggle to become parents in a way very different from what we had expected.


Jaymee said...

just a little test comment. HI EVERYONE.

Cyn said...

Once again, another beautifully written glimpse into your heart-thank you!

eggorchicken said...

What a beautifully written post, you always express yourself so nicely.

Good on you for not whispering, I can only imagine how hard it must be at time, but YOU ARE WOMAN, WE HEAR YOU ROAR ;)



Echloe said...

I felt very powerful reading this post. Most of the time I want shout from the rafters about IF just so everyone will stop asking us when and why. I'm just so sick of it. But I don't. I just whisper. Maybe it is time to scream.

Echloe said...

oh i forgot to mention that I'm visiting from ICLW.

Marie said...

I am at the stage in the "game" (for lack of a better word) that I feel almost ashamed and embarrased for being so depressed. I even feel that my husband wishes that I would just get over it? I could be totally reading things wrong. I feel like I am alone in this.

Cassandra said...

Here from ICLW...
What a fantastic post. One thing I love so much about blogging is that unlike you, we're closed-mouth in real life. So as a blogger I can be ultra-honest and shout from the rafters occasionally. Of course, usually I'm preaching to the infertile choir, at least right now.

Best wishes for the journey from intended parent to parent!

evie said...

Hello jaymee,

I've been reading your blog and haven't posted any comments. I feel a bit selfish to do that. So here I am, saying, "hi".

My DH and I are also Intended Parents and we have started our surrogacy IVF protocol last week.

I hope everything will go well. Keeping my fingers crossed. :-))