Don’t Think

5 Apr

I’ve noticed a kind of theme emerging in conversations I’ve been having with newly pregnant/newly TTC/newly babylost women lately. I figured it was time to make it into an actual post, and it’s pretty timely, considering I’ve been living by this mantra since we lost Nadav, and even more so the past week or two.

How many of you have been told the following:

“Think positively, and everything will work out.”

How did I not come up with this on my own? Of course! That’s the magic solution! Think positive thoughts! I’m sure all of the crap that has happened to me is entirely my fault because I didn’t think positively!

Don’t you all just love that little gem of advice? Useless and guilt-inducing all at once! It’s the whole package.

The fact is, that this journey sucks. The more loss that happens, the greater the trauma.

Allow me to paint you this picture: someone tells you that there is a present for you, and it’s inside a dark room. You step into the room. You get slapped. You step out, your cheek raw from the pain.

Somehow you are convinced that this slap was a freak accident. Step in again and everything will be fine, you’ll get your present. You take a deep breath and walk in. SLAAAAP!

At this point, you’re kind of pissed. “They” tell you that this hardly ever happens. Surely, if you step into that dark room again, you will get that awesome present.

So you step in for round three. Guess what happens?

At this point, stepping back in for a fourth time would make you a fool.

I’m a four-time fool so far. Somehow, insanely, willing to go in for round five. Will I get slapped again? I think I’d be an idiot if I didn’t flinch a little bit just thinking about it.

Trauma is trauma, and I’ve been through more than I would wish on my worst enemy. So no –  I can’t “think positively”.

It’s a miracle I’m functioning at all. And now that we’re starting to talk about round five, anxiety is a given. How can anyone possibly be positive after going through all of this? You’d have to be an idiot. Or get a lobotomy. Maybe a lobotomy would work.

So the way I see it, I’ve got two choices, and neither of them is “thinking positively.” Attempting to “think positively” and the inevitable failure of that attempt will only lead to wallowing and guilt.

So I either think negatively or I don’t think. Period.

I’ve opted to not think.

Or in other words, keep as busy as possible at all times.

Content clients have been falling out of the sky and I’ve been saying yes to everything.

I’ve been working 60 hours a week, sometimes more.

Two days ago I laughed so hard I cried. It was the first time I’ve truly laughed since we lost Nadav. I even found time to hang out with friends between meetings. I had a freaking amazing week.

Then, a couple of hours ago I finally finished what I had to do before passover tomorrow. I sat down at the computer and opened the blogs for the first time all week. Immediately I was hit with sadness again.

Because reading the blogs right now makes me connect to everything I’m dreading, and everything I’ve lost.

Because tomorrow will be another passover without a baby.

Because I was looking forward to having a huge belly right about now.

Because another year has gone by, and nothing has changed.

So I don’t care if some people would say I’m repressing. All I know is that working so hard I don’t have time to think is what’s keeping me from being sad. It’s allowing me to have fun. It’s allowing me to live and not to wallow.

Oh, and it’s making me some pretty decent money.

So that’s my mission looking at round five and everything leading up to it: keep my brain blissfully babyloss free at all possible times. Don’t think, and I just may survive this with my psyche at least partially intact.

It’s not denial. I’m dealing with my fears and my losses – but in small manageable doses with my therapist, with my husband, and with my friends.

But if I stop running even for a second I know I will sink into a grief and fear abyss.

And there’s only so much of the abyss a girl can take.

So I choose to run. And that’s the best piece of advice I can continue to give myself. And you for that matter.


21 Responses to “Don’t Think”

  1. me0me April 5, 2012 at 22:51 #

    I wanna say that ‘nothing has changed’ feels really inaccurate to me. Your ability to deal with your life right now is worlds away from where it was after the third loss. Your decision to work hard for your goals while not actually repressing your feelings but dealing with them in small doses is worlds away from where you were in the past… but otherwise I’d say this sounds like some pretty awesome, sound advice 🙂
    Happy Passover darling

  2. Her Royal Fabulousness April 5, 2012 at 23:22 #

    This post speaks to me. On a lot of levels. Especially,
    “Attempting to “think positively” and the inevitable failure of that attempt will only lead to wallowing and guilt.

    So I either think negatively or I don’t think. Period.”

    If you don’t mind, I’m going to steal your philosophy.

  3. Jenny April 6, 2012 at 00:05 #

    Honestly, I think this is a brilliant philosophy. I’m on board with it.

  4. Coco April 6, 2012 at 00:06 #

    That bit of advice has always made me pissy. Infertility isn’t in the mind people, it’s generally due to a disease process. Would you tell a diabetic to “think positive” and their blood sugars will magically stabilize? We have to be real here, and “think positive and relax” is absolute rubbish. Good luck with not thinking, it reminds me of Ghost Busters (yeah, I’m old, so what) at the end when they aren’t supposed to think about anything because whatever they think of will materialize to destroy them…. he thinks of the stay puffed marshmallow man…. If it were me, I’d think of the marshmallow man, graham crackers, a GIANT chocolate bar, and a Pepsi. If something is going to destroy me, let it be smore’s and a Pepsi. 🙂

  5. Amy April 6, 2012 at 00:08 #

    Agreed, so much. As much as I have to admit that I’m finally more optimistic than ever, this still spoke to me so much I stole it for my FB cover photo:

    I might agree that trying to think positively would be good for stress levels, to a limited extent, but it sure as hell has nothing to do with actually influencing outcomes in REALITY (at least the vast majority of the time).

    I hope your amazing week keeps repeating itself, with only small doses of the other stuff.

  6. ozifrog April 6, 2012 at 00:21 #

    I prefer to be mindful not positive, and if thinking negative gets you through ? Bring it on, I say. Anyone that tells me to think positive on this crappy crappy “journey” gets one reply: “I’m getting myself a big cup of shutthefuckup. Would you like one?”

  7. Cristy April 6, 2012 at 00:22 #

    Hi Mo. First off, thank you for the emails. They’ve helped immensely. Secondly, I’ve been following your advice not to think. Initially, it was hard. Damn hard. My mind was a whirl and I found that I was spending a lot of time fighting just to do basic tasks that didn’t involve me thinking about my loss. Slowly, though, my mind is starting to clear. And not focusing on the awfulness is the only way that I’m able to eat, sleep, work, move, interact with the rest of society, etc. Granted, having moments where I can grieve has helped, but I don’t allow myself to stay there very long.

    Your in my thoughts during this time. Passover is a hard one for anyone on this journey (same as Easter for the Christian-minded), so I’m sending you love and strength as you and your family celebrate.

  8. ozifrog April 6, 2012 at 00:23 #

    I prefer to be mindful of my thoughts, and if they’re negative and it gets me through? Bring it on, I say. Anyone that tells me to think positive on this crappy crappy journey gets one reply: “I’m getting a big cup of shutthefuckup. Would you like one?”

  9. Amy April 6, 2012 at 00:56 #

    Hugs, honey. I’ve only had one loss, my twins, my only confirmed pregnancy in 4.5 years of TTC with infertility, but trying again does suck. I’m 38 now, will be almost 39 by delivery if this IVF works, and definitely anxious because my only experience with pregnancy – a scary pregnancy at that – is grief and loss.

    Another baby loss mama wrote something once that I hold close, especially when I’m most scared, and that is, when we try again after loss, we’re *choosing* love.

    Hugs to you…

  10. Trisha April 6, 2012 at 02:19 #

    I hate when people say things like “Just be positive” or “Everything will work out” as if I haven’t heard those thing a MILLION times before. Plus they always seem to come from the people who conceived the first month they tried.

    You Mo, have handled everything that you have had to go through SO WELL. You are doing far better than I think anyone else in your situation would. There is nothing wrong with running right now, you have every right to handle things the way that you want to handle them.

    I say run Mo, run!

  11. missohkay April 6, 2012 at 03:13 #

    People telling you to ‘just think positive’ reminded me of this, which I think you’ll appreciate almost as much as kung fu bunny (disclaimer: does not include bunnies)

  12. Emily @ablanket2keep April 6, 2012 at 04:04 #

    I am all for not thinking and then taking things on a little at a time. It really does help me stay happy. I hope you have a wonderful Passover. Big Hugs and love to you and your family.

  13. Justine April 6, 2012 at 04:37 #

    Not-thinking has saved my life more than once, I suspect. Sometimes it’s all you can do. Run if you need to. This is about taking care of yourself, and no one knows how to do that better than you do.

    (Mostly, other people seem to really suck at it.)

  14. slcurwin April 6, 2012 at 05:11 #

    I’m a huge fan of escapism. It’s hard to go wrong with that 😉

    Maybe I’m a shitty coper and that’s how I get by. Maybe that’s just how I entertain my cold and bitter self. But fantacy sure is a wonderful thing. No thinking really does have it’s place our world.

  15. Kristin April 6, 2012 at 06:10 #

    Sometimes, denying what’s happened and what you are risking is the ONLY way to keep moving forward.

    When we had loss after loss after loss, I was afraid to hope because hope always led to heartbreak. I was also afraid to not hope because that felt like I was dooming it before It even happened. So, like you, I chose not to think about it.

  16. krunchyk April 6, 2012 at 06:52 #

    I have a dear friend that is an eternal optimist (as well as the one that got pregnant on the first try). It has come to the point where her optimistic comments only serve to minimize my experience. It’s hard.

    I hope you have a fantastic holiday. K.

  17. Mina April 6, 2012 at 09:45 #

    There is a book by Barbara Ehrenreich about the plague of positive thinking. Very refreshing in this constant assault of “you must think positive thoughts”. It pisses me off to no end. It’s as you say, as if everything bad that happens to you is your fault because you haven’t been thinking positively enough. Because sure, pile on more guilt, why don’t you, morons?
    You have been through hell and back. And you need to go back yet again, because the heart wants what the heart wants and getting your take-home baby means you need to walk on hot coals again. I am so sorry there is no magic solution for you to just breeze through and wake up when the nightmarish wait is over. It would be so great to have that.
    You do what you have to do to make things easier. Ignore the rest of the world, they are not in your shoes, they have no say.
    Best of luck, sweety. We are all rooting for you and wish you all the best.

  18. Serenity April 6, 2012 at 13:14 #

    “Think positively” is a sentence that is in the same boat as “it was G-d’s plan.” It’s what people say when they want to DO something about your pain, make it better somehow. I wish people would stop saying stuff – would just listen.

    Not-thinking is one of the best coping mechanisms I have. Sometimes it’s the only way I’ve been able to get through stuff which I really thought would break me apart.

    Whatever you need to do to cope.

  19. unaffected April 6, 2012 at 17:38 #

    Love this post. So very true, all of it.

    I put the whole “think positively” saying in the category with “Everything happens for a reason”. Next person who says that to me is getting a kick to the genitalia.

  20. Theresa April 8, 2012 at 15:13 #

    I think that you are doing the best that you can, which is all you can ask of yourself. And, you should tell the person who told you to “think positively” to go jump off a cliff …..figuratively, of course 🙂

  21. Alissa April 9, 2012 at 00:11 #

    Yep – makes sense. I have been doing my fair share of that the last couple of weeks. Thinking positive works in short bouts, but more often it seems like pure crap. I thought positively during my last pregnancy and look where that got me. Nowhere, but heartache. So I think that is just what people need to say in order to feel like they are helping.

    I am glad you are dealing with your loss, and I do think that keeping busy helps. I still think of you all the time and am so glad to think of Nadav and M & A up playing in the rainbows.

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