Guilt, it's a funny thing...

I've had thoughts about this post for quite some time now...Well, ever since my first beta. That's part of the reason why I haven't been posting as much. Although I feel very blessed about the outcome so far for FET #4, there's a big part of me that's still stuck in the bfn mode. I guess I don't know how else to feel. I was so used to failure after failure after failure, I thought that I would be over-the-moon happy when I finally achieved the ever-elusive bfp. Instead, I feel guilty. Let me explain.

For the past 10 years or so, I've received invitations to many baby showers and have even received birth announcements in the mail. Christmastime has always been especially hard. That's when we would receive cutesy Christmas cards with family pictures in them. People even talk about how so and so is pregnant or finally got pregnant after trying for how ever long. Whatever. I always find it amusing how fertiles feel that by telling me that so and so is pregnant, it'd give me hope. Are you kidding me? How would that make me feel better? If only they knew how much it hurt to receive those things in the mail and hear other people's success stories. But I do know. I totally get it. So when I got the bfp, I thought of all my online sisters who are still struggling with infertility. In a way, I'm still in that world. I don't know if I would know how to function any other way. You see, more than 10 years of my life have been wasted dreaming, planning, hoping, fearing, failing, and crying. I've alienated family and lost friends. But now, people expect me to be all "better" after receiving the bfp. But I'm far from being "cured."

I think I might be suffering from some type of PTSD. I don't know. A friend of mine (one of the few that infertility didn't rob me of) suggested that I might need to see a counselor. But where would I find one that specializes in whatever funk I'm in? I wouldn't even know where to start looking...Maybe someone who would really understand the intimate emotions associated with infertility, perhaps having gone through it herself. Maybe I'm "incurable" and that this is what it's like for me. I don't know.


DAVs said...

Well, I just think it's such an enormous shift of mentality to go from the trauma you've been through to "whoopppeee! we got what we wanted!" I think what you're feeling is totally understandable.
And thanks for the sensitivity--but I don't want you to celebrate ANY less because of those of us still in the trenches. You have worked so incredibly hard to get to this place, if there is such a thing as "deserve" in any of this, you deserve this happy outcome!

kayjay said...

That is so sweet of you to think of us still lost in the land of IF and I agree with DAVs in that it is a huge change in self perception that is required here. You're not going to magically wake up one morning and suddenly be okay with everything you've been through. For the longest time, that struggle really shaped your every day life. Maybe you could look at Resolve or a similar organization - they may have recommendations of counsellors who specialize in IF in your area. I highly recommend counselling as I found that it helped me immensely. But every day, CELEBRATE and I want you to do it guilt free, even if it is only for a second or two. You deserve this so much and have overcome incredible odds to get here.

Donna said...

It doesn't go away - that feeling of being infertile and the pain and guilt. I have two children now after suffering from IF. I have to tell you that it is like PTSD. I always am careful about talking about my children to anyone who is childless (who knows if they are that way by choice or not). But remember this as you try and navigate these very rough waters, this is your log, your journal of your journey. One day (and I have to admit this has happened to me) when you are holding your babies yet longing for the days you were pregnant, you can revisit them by re-reading your trials, your joys and look at your growing belly. This is your life, do not feel guilty about the joy and happiness now. Celebrate. I told a very fertile woman in my office to enjoy every moment of her pregnancy. She rolled her eyes at me - but who knows if she will be able to get pregnant again? There are no guarantees, right. Be happy, this moment is for being happy. (By the way, I always thought I would love to be a IF counselor).

Jill M. said...

You are such a sweet and caring person. I know you are worrying about celebrating in front of us still fighting, but PLEASE, celebrate!!! That's what we want for you and it's what you totally deserve.

How horrible it would be if after winning the battle, we were still sad... I want to know that there is an end to this sadness once I reach the goal. I want to see you be so happy that it drives me to press through to get to the place you found. I want to know that what I'm going through is worth it to be able to feel the joy you have.

As far as not being all "whoopee" right away... that is very understandable after all the trauma you've been though. Give it some time. Step 1, share your good news and stop worrying about hurting us, we are very happy for you. If your news was to hurt us, we have the option to not read your blog. But, I for one, will be reading it and cheering for you as you hit each milestone of your answered prayer.


Sue said...

Linda- please don't allow yourself to add guilt to the mix of emotions- as you are learning, we celebrate initially and then seriously freak out at every bump. I mean it is a scary thing for us once we get that BFP...so don't let yourself feel guilt too!!!! There really isn't room for it. Plus, I know I speak only for myself, but I have definitely reached the stage now where I am genuinely happy for anyone who conceives after all we've been through. You are finally a CCRM success!!!

elliej said...

Linda, wishing you, from Dublin, all the luck of the Irish tomorrow, with 4-leaved clovers and the whole lot thrown in. That's got to count for something on St Patrick's Day! I can so get that this is a scary time and that you can't be expected to flick a switch and morph into a completely different mindset after all that you've been though. Thank you for your sensitivity but this infertile wishes you everything that is wonderful at your ultrasound tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to hearing your news. As I know others have said, spotting is such a common sign of early pregnancy. Keep hold of those wonderful betas!! elliejxxx

Anonymous said...

I have two children from my IF journey (age 4 and 2), and I can honestly tell you that the feelings of IF never go away. They certainly get easier as time passes, but even after I had my babies in my arms I would feel twinges of the IF days when those around me would easily (or accidentally!) get pregnant. Even when my family is complete, I think that I will always carry those feelings with me. That said, I also believe that IF made me so much more grateful for my pregnancies - I never complained like so many others because I knew that it may be my only chance. And I am also so very grateful for my children; IF gave me an appreciation of motherhood that I doubt I could have gotten any other way. Congratulations on your pregnancy - you have certainly had to wait too long for this day - savor every single second, because it just keeps getting better and better.

onemuse said...

I'm totally in agreement with what Anonymous said. I think most of us never really get over our IF experiences--but that's not necessarily a bad thing. You can take these years of experience and let them make you a stronger person, a better parent and an understanding friend: a good advocate for those you know still going through this difficult IF journey.

I think guilt is a completely natural emotion here, too. I still feel guilt and sadness for many of my sisters that are suffering through IF, secondary IF, or that never had children. Unless you've been there, you don't know how they feel. And you HAVE been there, and you know how badly it stings when you hear news of an "Oops!" or "My husband just looked at me and I got pregnant!" or "What can I say--I'm a fertile myrtle," or my personal favorite, "When are you two going to have a baby (or #2) already?"

What you're going through is natural and human--and I think it shows what a caring and wonderful person you are. You *do* deserve this, but so do others around you still struggling, and I guessing that's what is really hurting your heart here.


Nikki said...

I have come back to your post so many times in the last few days, and each time I have wondered what to write in comment to you. You are so sweet to think of your IF friends who are still dealing with their struggles, and obviously, the shift from so many years of struggles to something having worked out is huge, and you're right - I'm sure it is PTSD in its own way.

Take it one day at a time. Relish every moment. But don't ever feel like you can't or shouldn't celebrate. You have EVERY reason to celebrate. And by all means - do so!

And you know what - when someone like you announces a BFP or talks about a pregnancy - it gives us hope. This is what gives us hope, and not the silly stories we hear from the fertiles. So please keep us updated.

Hugs to you Linda - I am so incredibly happy for you. I feel like I "bond" with your story because of both our DH's BT situations. Those are pretty rare to come by! :-)