The Truth of It

4 Jul

Ababaderech (my friend who is pursuing surrogacy with his partner) called me today. He had read my last post and said he had something he wanted to tell me, but he wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to say it. Curious, I told him to lay it on me.

He said: I think it’s not 100% right that you’re categorizing your depression as a disease. I think you’re feeling like you’re in the shithole right now because the truth is that you are, for now, in the shithole. It will get better, but right now, things suck for you and it’s ok to feel it.

I can’t tell you the gratitude I felt toward him for saying that.

Finally – someone apart from Shmerson, acknowledging the truth of the matter: this sucks.

I think that there is a social expectation about “moving on” with a loss like ours. After a while, people just expect you to get better, and expect it to be an upward climb.

But the truth is that nothing in life is that linear, and things are far more complicated than that.

Lately, when I bring up my losses and desire for resolution to friends, family, anyone really – I get the same advice over and over again: Keep busy. Distract yourself and things will be easier.

Oh, if only it was that easy. I feel such a huge sense of frustration with that “advice”. I know everyone means well, but I just want to scream: DON’T YOU THINK THAT IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, I WOULD HAVE ALREADY DONE IT?

NO ONE wants to be distracted from this more than I do. I want to not think about having a baby almost as badly as I want a baby. I want to not dwell on Nadav just as badly.

But it’s there. It’s always there. There is nothing I can do to fix it. And it’s driving me nuts.

I’ve tried. I’ve signed up for summer classes. I’ve gotten manicures. I’ve forced myself to work. I’ve forced myself to socialize.

But there it is – every day. Nadav. My longing for a child. Right there. In my face and refusing to be ignored.

Tonight Shmerson and I talked it over a bit. We’ve both been down since we came back from our vacation. We’re both depressed. Funnily enough – we’re doing worse now than we were doing in March, when losing Nadav was still new and raw. In March, we were a well-oiled taking-care-of-ourselves machine. Now we’re tired. We’re down.

Shmerson and I both think that part of this downward spiral is a function of acknowledgment. That when Nadav’s loss was still raw for everyone we were held up. Taken care of. Our pain was acknowledged by the people around us. That acknowledgement made things easier on us.

Now, we are alone with our pain. We still have it and we always will. Even when others have long since moved on.

Today, at my weekly appointment with the Harley Hottie, we discussed my depression. He told me that we would try to help alleviate some of that next week.

I said: Don’t we already have too much on our plates?

He said: True. And  let’s be honest – 95% of your problems will disappear as soon as you hold a baby in your arms.

That’s 2 acknowledgements in one day. More than I’ve had in the last few months. That’s the cold hard truth of it. I am stuck in a ditch, and the only way out of it is a baby.

I am lost, my arms are empty, and no distraction will help make things better. I just wish people could see that and accept it.

Maybe then I would feel less guilty about not being able to fully live my life.

Maybe then it would hurt just a little less.

23 Responses to “The Truth of It”

  1. SRB July 4, 2012 at 23:13 #

    My love, I hear you. I’m here. We’re all here. And I know we’re not *there* in real life, but we are here. And we see you. I see you.

    I see you, Mo.

  2. Amy July 4, 2012 at 23:41 #

    Ah, Mo…I have been where you are now. It seemed impossible that I could be doing so much *worse* as time went on, not better like I thougth I’d feel. I think your darling Schmerson hit the nail on the head…once the initial raw, firery grief has passed and people no longer know what to say or do and so stay away, that’s the most difficult place to be in. I never know how big of a risk I take anymore when I bring my babies up to friends or family, or say their names aloud to others. I hate that it has to feel like a risk at all. I’ve been jealous of BLM friends who have super-supportive friends and families that make the length of grieving ok. I don’t have that.

    And I personally have no expectations that having a living baby in my arms, should I be so blessed, will fix any of it. I suspect in some ways my grief might be worse, more difficult.

    No one who *really* understands expects us to ever get over the loss of our children. (I’m quite certain many think a living child will “fix” our years of infertility struggles, but I don’t think that loss will ever truly go away, either. The emotional and psychological damage has been done. My job is to continue learning how to live with it.

    Hugs, honey…

  3. Devon (@dmb07) July 4, 2012 at 23:47 #

    Wow, your friend pretty much nailed it, didn’t he? I’m also impressed that The Hottie said having a baby in your arms is part of the solution. Why can’t people see that? I’m astounded at the people who tell me I’m going to be more depressed when we have our baby. I understand there’ll be other issues that will arise, but if we want a baby what other solution is there?
    I admire you so, so much.

  4. Esperanza July 5, 2012 at 00:58 #

    The horrible truth of the matter is you can’t keep running from the sadness you feel. At some point you just have to sit with it and feel it. I worked hard on that in therapy, sitting with my anxiety instead of trying to run or distract myself from it. It’s hard to sit with the enormity of how bad we feel but that is the only way to move past it. And I don’t mean move past it as a whole, but move past it in that moment. What really sucks is sometimes there are just so many moments of that sadness sitting in a long line, but it’s been my experience that I have more breaks and feel better more quickly when I let myself feel my hurt instead of trying to ignore it.

    It’s true that there is probably no medication that can make you feel better right now. You are mourning and you are doing the best you can and it’s going to be shitty for a while, no matter what medication you take. Medication can’t fix grief. Only time can mend those wounds, or at least allow them to heal somewhat.

    Abiding with you in this time of immeasurable loss.

  5. Wannabemom July 5, 2012 at 01:12 #

    Two things… have you read the recent post on Mel’s blog about IVF? What rung true and was so validating was her comparison of the desire to reproduce to the will to live. And that no one can understand that if their reproducing was easy.

    The other, is that I totally feel the same way. I had all these people checking in on me and wanting to spend time with me early on, but now it’s just back to life. Everyone expects me to be the same because I seem better now. And nothing could be further from the truth.

    Hugs, hun.

  6. cw July 5, 2012 at 02:28 #

    After my m/c last year and I had counselling she said to me those exact things – you are going through a really shit time (ok she might have said rough) and that it was ok to be depressed about it. It didn’t mean that I was going to be depressed for ever but right now, in this situation life was shit.

    I have always been incredibly forthright in saying the only thing that has made me get over it is being pregnant and finally – hopefully about to become a mum. There is no shame in admitting that. The situation you are in is SHIT because you aren’t a mum and you should be, therefore to be depressed is your right not a sin.

    There will come a time when you hopefully look back at this period in your life and remember how incredibly strong you were through this but it doesn’t need to be now.

    Honestly though you have the most amazing husband. He just sounds wonderful.

  7. lrm1102 July 5, 2012 at 02:56 #

    I have not been in your spot as our loss is still fresh & raw but I have been told by other friends who have experienced similar losses to make sure I take all the time to grieve as I need. I think part of me right now is still in denial and still numb, so I know I have a long way to go with grieving. I wish you the best as you figure out how to navigate through all of your feelings! I am inspired by your strength & honesty. I will be following along and wishing you the best!!

  8. cassiedash July 5, 2012 at 05:39 #

    I see it and I accept it and I feel the same every moment I’m awake. I know my pain will never begin to ease until another baby is in my arms, and even then it won’t be gone completely. Ever. Even when I’m keeping busy, there is always time enough to feel the pain and the weight of my loss and longing. I know it probably feels like it all the time, but just know you’re not alone on this journey. ~ hugs ~

  9. Kristin July 5, 2012 at 06:08 #

    Oh honey, it’s true. That ditch fucking SUCKS! You will get better. The depression isn’t a disease. It’s a symptom of that bitch otherwise known as infertility.

  10. jjiraffe July 5, 2012 at 08:40 #

    Hm. This advice reminds me a lot of family who urge the busy cure as the panacea of life. Because when you’re so focused on a specific goal (building a garden, becoming a baker extraordinaire, doing charity work, playing bridge, there is no time to think.

    It’s definitely a strategy to move on from a tragedy, but there has to be some real acknowledgement that a major tragedy occurred in your life. Nadav was here, he was loved by people all around the world who still think about him. He was a part of your heart and so mourn him in the best way you can without letting the world collapse around you. We’re all here, behind you. All the way.

  11. Trisha July 5, 2012 at 16:37 #

    You know, I’ve always thought of my depression as a disease and I will admit when I first read what your friend said to you I was outraged. But when I started thinking about it my thoughts began to change. I’ve been on medication since I was about 18 (9 years) but when we decided we wanted to try for a baby I got off it almost immediately. And I was fine! For 7 months I was happy. Then infertility started rearing its bitchy face. I sank further and further and decided it was best to get back on my medication. And for another 7 months I stayed on it. Then I got pregnant and hoped right off…and I was happier than I had been in years. Then miscarriage joined the party. Cue medication again. No once again I am pregnant and off my medication and doing great.

    So maybe it is a little more in our head then we would care to admit. Not that we are making it up…lord know depression is as real as it gets but our situations seem to absolutely have an impact on the level of depression we feel.

    I wish you didn’t have to go through this. You have already been through so much, but in the same breath you are one of the strongest people I have had the pleasure of “knowing”. And I believe you can beat this. I know it is impossible to snap out of it or forget or distract yourself, but someway you are gonna get through this.

  12. JM July 5, 2012 at 17:36 #

    Sometimes, it’s true when people say that you shouldn’t rely on having kids to “complete” your life, or make you happy. Sometimes, you want to punch those people in the face because that is EXACTLY what you need/want to make you complete and happy. And that, my dear, is perfectly ok and valid. That hole can’t be filled with coffee or knitting, it’s filled with unconditional love and poopy diapers and midnight feeding. Anyone who says otherwise just doesn’t get it.

    But we do, and we love you, and we’re hoping with everything we have that the hole is filled as soon as everloving possible.

  13. Amanda July 5, 2012 at 17:56 #

    Thank you for writing this post. It 100% is how I feel. I don’t feel that the depression I have right now is part of the disease, I know its my grief, frustrastion, and the disappoint of 2 years, 3 losses and still empty arms.

    I know that once I hold my baby I will start to truly heal, but crappily I can’t make that happen.

    You aren’t alone, everything you feel is normal, and its so easy for others to give advice-find hobbies, stay busy, it will happen just believe that-but unless they’ve been there they can’t understand.

    Huge virtual hugs to you-I hope tommorow is better than today

  14. flmgodog July 5, 2012 at 23:03 #

    Mo your friend is right. It sucks…and it will continue to suck. That is the truth. I understand how you are feeling. I was pregnant nine times, seven miscarriages. The last one at twenty weeks February of 2011. A year later and a set of twins born healthy and alive later and I still have issues with miscarriage and loss I deal with all the time.
    It does get better when that baby/babies are in your arms but it doesn’t fix it. I wish their was something I could say or do that would make it better but I know their probably isn’t anything at least in my experience.
    What helps me is when someone acknowledges that “it sucks”….and it does. You move forward but you don’t move on.
    I hope that you get your wish soon.

  15. Courtney July 6, 2012 at 00:21 #

    You and Shmerson are so kind to each other – it’s wonderful to see (read). I find it interesting that your counselor said that 95% of your problems will go away once you have a baby – I think that’s a good thing. It sounds like you took it as a good thing too!

    Your friend is right. Things are really shitty right now. I think it’s nice of him to acknowledge it. We all need friends like that.

    You’re very self-aware, Mo. That is a wonderful thing! I love reading your blog because of how you explain and analyze yourself. Self-awareness is so important to healing (well… to many things!).

  16. Lex July 6, 2012 at 07:49 #

    I’m sorry your IRL support system has dried up. Most people don’t understand this – that the real need for support actually comes months later, when the physical pain part is over and life is back to a new, sucky, normal, without a baby.

  17. Mina @ Fertility Doll July 6, 2012 at 15:31 #

    I don’t think others will ever truly understand it unless they’re facing it themselves. They don’t experience the trying, the loss, the sadness, the disappointment and the emptiness. They don’t understand the void it creates and how you can’t fill the void with objects that aren’t meant to be there.

    While my friends will give me comfort through hugs and by listening – I know they won’t ever have the right words to say and in a way I can see how helpless they are when it comes to helping me because nothing they do or say will ever fill that void. Still, I appreciate the love they do offer.

    We look for others to tell us it’s okay that we’re feeling this way but really we need to tell ourselves that it’s okay we’re feeling this way. Everyone has their own journey and unfortunately ours (for now) is on the not so magical Infertility Road. Be kind to yourself and do what feels right for you – without any guilt. Guilt is an ugly emotion and you really don’t need to be carrying it around with you right now. Leave guilt outside.. in the rain. x

  18. April July 7, 2012 at 00:21 #

    He’s definitely right, Mo. There’s depression, and there’s life just being a bastard, and they’re NOT the same thing. They can egg each other on, and then it’s like being allergic to the antibiotics you need to get better. It’s a no-win.

    I’m glad you have people in your life who do get it, and you know we’re all rooting for that day you take home your baby. *hugs*

  19. Emily @ablanket2keep July 7, 2012 at 05:29 #

    Acknowledgement and validation is amazing. Thank you for telling us what your friend said. He is so right and it is a good thing to repeat over and over in my mind.

  20. @ErinMarshall71 July 7, 2012 at 20:59 #

    I am coping. I would even say I am coping well. It scares me sometimes that I am coping well. I wonder if I am avoiding my grief; or is it possible that I have discovered some secret and I am able to make it through one day after another walking on a wide stone bridge over the gaping chasm of pain and misery, while others are trapped on a tightrope teetering and in constant danger of slipping? Your post pointed me towards a possible answer. Perhaps, the fact that River was a surprise (unassisted) pregnancy is enough to keep me from losing it all. Knowing that we are ABLE to conceive and carry gives me hope that we will again soon. Instead of mourning her loss, I am grateful for the gift of hope that her existence has given me.

  21. Lisa @ hapahopes July 8, 2012 at 03:14 #

    Your friend sounds awesome. So yeah, what him said.

    Mo, you don’t have to deal with your loss in any particular way. You don’t have to be busy and you certainly don’t have to “get over it.” Heck, you don’t even have to “deal” with it. It’s not something to deal with, it’s just something that is. It’s part of you and Shmerson and you shouldn’t feel any pressure to bend to some weird, fertile-societal “norm.” You’re too cool for the norm anyway.

  22. AL July 10, 2012 at 15:55 #

    Grief is really really difficult, it seems to be manageable and then all the sudden it creeps up behind you and envelopes you in its midst once again. It’s a tricky bitch. Feel whatever you need to feel, there is no timeline on healing. This is hard shit, for sure.

    (PS – how is it possible I haven’t read your awesome blog before? I’ve been blogging for 3 years (god, has it been that long?) and I’ve just now come across you. You’re added to my reader and I’m looking forward to following along your journey)


  1. My latest reflection « whenisitgonnabemyturn - July 5, 2012

    […] MO just posted about unhelpful advice from people surrounding her. While I am not in the same situation as Mo, and can’t possibly understand exactly what she’s going through, I understand the frustration and loneliness that comes from people offering useless advice. In my experience, many of them mean well; many of them also are uncomfortable with the topic and they feel like they’ve fulfilled their obligation to “listen” to you and “participate” in the conversation, so then we can all move on and not talk about it anymore. This is why we’ve chosen to not really tell anyone about our struggle. I started making a list of who I’ve told; it’s five friends and my brother. One friend suffered a stillbirth, one suffered several failed IVF cycles, the other three I trust to be understanding and supportive but not overbearing. And then there’s my brother, who had the brilliant idea to just wait because it’ll happen, and if it doesn’t, we can just adopt. So five out of six ain’t bad. I understand why people tell their friends and family about their struggle, I really do. I’m not even envious that they do what I can’t, because if I had to do it over again knowing what I know now, I would make the same choice. I just don’t like being the center of attention, and I couldn’t spend two-plus years circulating at family events knowing that everyone was looking at us thinking about it, wondering about it and possibly talking about it. For me, it’s way too private to have all those people involved. The people that I did tell, I know won’t be thinking about it every time they see me or talk to me. That’s why I have been selective about the friends I’ve told as well. I don’t wish that I hadn’t told my brother, but rather I wish that he had actually listened to what I said and been able to understand that this is difficult. […]

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