First of all, thank you so much for the kind and supportive comments you've all left for me. It means so much to me.
I'm finally getting around to posting my What IF? post for the project Mel and Resolve are hosting. I think my biggest What IF? is What if IF has changed me from the person I used to be and I'm never able to gain that person back? What if that's not a good thing?
I thought for a long time that my biggest what if would be regarding money issues and our treatment, but the more I thought about it, the more I feel that the metamorphosis I'm undergoing as a result of IF is a bigger What IF? for me. Let me explain.
I've never been what you'd call a calm or patient individual. I've always had a hot temper. However, I've always been able to control it to a point. I've never felt out of control even if it seemed to others that I may be. In the last few years, though, I've been less and less in control of my emotions. Every time I get bad news or have another disappointment in our journey, I get so angry I'm moved to tears. Now, this may not sound like it's a terrible anger - I mean tears aren't exactly threatening - but for me, it means I'm on the verge of a meltdown. I only cry when I'm extremely angry or terribly hurt or a combination of the two, which is usually the case when it comes to my fertility.
I absolutely hate the fact that I can't control my body, can't make it do what I want it to do. Always before ttc, this was expressed in my anger at my body's failure in losing weight. Then I entered the realm of babymaking and it's a whole new ballgame. It was no longer just a nuisance and irritation. It was suddenly something that really mattered, something that meant much more to me than just fitting into a smaller size jeans. I could see something that mattered so much to me floating away like a dream - so close, yet so far out of reach I'm still not sure I'll ever reach it.
With the realization that this journey would be a long - and possibly fruitless - one, the irritation I'd always felt with myself suddenly multiplied into an anger so passionate it scares me sometimes. Not only has that anger increased at my own body, but my patience with others has virtually disappeared. These days I find myself barely able to stand the company of others in my real day-to-day life, particularly those with children who've not experienced IF. In one way, I'm glad they've never had to experience this. I'm glad they've never had to wonder what they'd do if they were never given the opportunity to mother a child. However, in another way, everytime a colleague tells me the latest story of their child in a "kids-say-the-darndest-things" theme, I simply want to pick up the nearest heavy object and bash them over the head with it. Instead, I smile. I fake a laugh. I tell them how wonderful their child is and how lucky they are to have that child. And with every breath between these pointless excercises, I silently scream out. I cry in my very soul. I feel the ache, the longing and the desperation with every breath I take, in every fiber of my being. I am acutely aware of what a failure I am and how desperately I long for something I can't at the moment see ever coming to a resolution.
This anger and resentment carry over into every part of my life. I get angry with my mom, my dad, my siblings, my husband, my dogs. I daydream about simply withdrawing all the money in my bank account and disappearing somewhere to a tropical island. I would buy a small, open house there, paint the walls a clean white with a large soft bed covered in white linen. I would turn the air conditioning on, lie in that bed and drift away, never to be awaken again, simply because it would ease the agony of wanting and the vile anger that seaps through me and puts an ugly shadow over every part of my life.
I have arguments with my family, my friends, myself. I dream of how life would be better for everyone if I wasn't around, if I didn't want something I was clearly not meant to have. I think how much better off The Hubs would be if he had married someone who could fulfill their basic duty in life. I think how much better off I would be if I didn't desperately want to hold my child in my arms, if my heart didn't melt everytime I walk near the baby department in Walmart or Target. I wish it were enough for me to be an aunt, a godparent, a teacher, a nursery worker, even just someone to hold the child while the mother opened the car door or put bags into the shopping cart at the store. If the need to be a mother and watch my child grow into their own person with their own hopes, dreams, desires and faults didn't burn in my heart and stomach, if the thought I may never get that opportunity didn't force bile to rise in my throat, everyone around me - myself included - would probably be much better off. Unfortunately, those feelings are there. The continuing time that passes has not succeeded in decreasing my need, but only making it more and more a thing I can't live without.
It is because of these feelings that I truly fear what lasting impact infertility will have on me. Will I still be this bitter person who feels numb and has to conciously stop myself from gagging every time I see a pregnant woman? Will I still have to suppress the desire to kick at my dad's cats every time one of them is knocked up yet again? Or will I move on from this? Will I be a mother my children can be proud of, a wife my husband can look at and remember why he married me and be proud to be seen with me and tell people "yes, that's my wife. Aren't you jealous?"? Will I be a person my parents and siblings would choose to be around?
For a moment, I'll try to think of the positive: what IF I become a mother very soon and am the best damn mother a child could ever hope to have, so good in fact that my children roll their eyes and talk about how "uncool" I am as a mother because I bake cookies with them, have family game night, talk about their problems with them and offer real, honest-to-goodness helpful answers all the while secretly thanking their lucky stars they have me and not someone who never fought for them but simply won in the surprise pregnancy lotto? What IF infertility is actually the turning point in what makes me the greatest person I can be?
It's National Infertility Awareness Week. Visit www.resolve.org/takecharge to find out how you can get involved. Need more information on infertility? Visit Resolve to get answers to your questions. And don't forget to drop by and see the other What IF's everyone else is pondering.