Posted by: DD | October 20, 2006

no. 299 – An Angry Post

I have to admit that this has been one of the worst weeks I have ever had as far as my anxiety levels go. The dreaded two week-wait has nothing on this time. I have never felt so in limbo as I did this few days. And more than ever, I have an absolute burning hatred for what infertility has done to me. What it’s done to Mr. DD.

Someone wanted to know how Mr. DD is taking this. He sent me another email Sunday night and I won’t give any of the details because he asked me not to. But last night he mentioned how he woke up in the middle of the night and the first thought that came to his mind was, "this is not my baby and I will never love it the same as my own child." He told me that he thinks it was some residual thoughts from a nightmare, but it weighed so heavily on him, it was hours before he fell back asleep.

Having donor sperm did not do this to him. Low beta numbers did not do this to him. Spending thousands of dollars did not do this to him. Losing pregnancies did not do this to him. FUCKING INFERTILITY did this to him!

******************

I’m sure most of you by now have seen this post from Julie. I really didn’t give it much thought until I read this post. She says in her last paragraph, "This will be my last post here. I will not be visiting other blogs much. It’s too much like hanging out with a bunch of drinkers when you just joined AA. It is too painful for me. I need to quit cold turkey and figure out what I am going to do next. " and the hypothetical question Julie asked was answered.

Infertility did this, too. We are use to the broken hearts, but broken spirits? We’re supposed to be stronger in spite of infertility, aren’t we?

Can you tell I’m angry? I thought I was part of the solution, sharing my story; a survivor; a recovering infertile even if that meant I never get pregnant again. But I’m not. It’s quite possible that I am my own worst enemy. Patricia has a point: we are in many ways, enablers. I ask these rhetorical questions: Are infertility bloggers more inclined to continue treatments than those who don’t blog? Is it a "trying to keep up with the Joneses" mentality?

Would I be as obsessive about number of days post-ovulation, or beta levels if I had never delved into blogging? Is it possible that right now, instead of refusing to feel one iota of excitement and hopeful that I am (in a technical sense) pregnant today, that I would have been already sharing "happy" news with family and friends and shopping on line for nursery items if it hadn’t been for the daily reminders of how quickly good news can turn to shit?

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Responses

  1. I don’t agree with that research. In fact, I patently reject it.

    Infertility has been one of the most difficult things I have ever dealt with. As much as I love my husband and as much as we made it through the hell by supporting each other and communicating, I could not have done it without knowing there were so many other people out there who knew what I was going through and understood my irrational fears, my obsessive behavior and my crazy inability to be hopeful.
    We are here to support each other. We are here to be the hope for someone else, even if we can’t do it for ourselves. We are in this together.

  2. I hear ya, girl. Hope has left the building. And sometimes I feel when I read others pains, it pains me more. Or sometimes I do feel that maybe we’re not “trying hard enough” because we’ve yet to begin medical assistance.
    I don’t know what else to say, other than you’re in my thoughts & prayers, hun.

  3. It’s an excellent question. But I don’t think that the type of people we are is changed by blogging; rather, I believe that how we blog, what we blog, and the very choice to blog comes OUT of who we are. There are plenty of infertility blogs out there that don’t chronicle shit or at least brush over the pain with a truckload of baaaaaabbbbbiiiiee dust. We just don’t read them. Why? Same reason. If you’re the type of person, as I am, who deals with uncertainty by wanting to know the worst that can happen, you will arm yourself with that information either through blogging or another means.

  4. I’m so sorry that Mr. DD is having such upsetting dreams. I am sorry this shit is all so hard. You deserve to be happy right now, but fertility makes that near impossible, I think, for many of us, if not all of us.

  5. I have been back to you three times today trying to digest what you’ve written and see how I feel about it. I find myself influenced by what others write sometimes and I may even be envious, but I also know that I never let myself get lost in what I want instead of what I have. Does that make sense?

  6. I think there are good and bad points. I think that if I got pregnant and if I didn’t blog..I would be like all those pregnant ladies who go announcing their pregnancy to the world the second the second line turns pink and never ONCE worry about my beta levels etc.

    But on the flip side, I have learned more about my body and how it works/doesn’t work through reading blogs. I feel like an informed consumer when I speak to doctors regarding my in/fertility because I have read so much online.

    Plus, the suppor I receive (and try to give) keeps me from feeing isolated and different..which is how I felt when I first tried to get pregnant and blogs weren’t really around then.

    So yeah, maybe it causes me to focus more on the bad and less on the good..but in general I wouldn’t want to stop reading for anything.

  7. Yes, people involved in support groups tend to hold onto treatment longer BUT whether or not that’s a bad thing is up to the individual making treatment choices. (I’ve been writing about this for the sample chapter that wasn’t and doing some interviews about it.) I actually thought, “I should structure this around DD’s story somehow” so I might hit you up…

    (you give such good interview!!!)

  8. So sorry about MR. DD’s dream! I really hope things work out for you.

    For me blogging is about reaching out to people who ‘get it’. I can’t imagine this journey without an outlet. The only downside for me is I am totally aware of what can and does go wrong.

    Take care

  9. I’m sorry this week is so friggin hard. I can totally relate- for my pregnancies, its not getting to beta that’s hard (at least so far), its getting to viability. And that time period between positive beta then doubling beta and seeing baby with a heartbeat, is so stressful, because in 3 pregnancies, I’ve only seen it once.
    Patricia’s post left me heartbroken as well. And I’ve wondered sometimes about this “baby at all costs” or even “biology at all costs” mentality in blogland and whether its harmful.
    My husband recently said something to me that’s stuck with me about how awful chemo was and how I’ll never really truly understand what he and his parents went through and how by comparison, IF just isn’t the same. I have lots of thoughts on that, but to a certain extent, maybe he’s right? And you know the other thing it made me think? We had a lot of crap and death in the years prior to IF, and then none in the last 9 years while dealing with IF? What if there’s a connection? Maybe IF has been the burden I’ve been carrying, this talisman that’s protecting me from other, more horrible burdens (eg, death of loved ones). And what if, once the IF is gone (one way or another), that opens the flood gates for more bad stuff, worse stuff than IF, to happen?
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to hijack your blog, but this post (and Patricia’s) hit me hard. I plan on exploring this more in depth in a few weeks, but I didn’t want to lose this thought.
    Now I really need that drink we’ve been talking about.

  10. i think these are really astute questions, i and although i am completely outside of this, i’d have to say yes–because these are tangible communities that have impact on our lives. for instance, i think more about myself as a mother, about feminism, about many things that i know would occupy my mind as much if i were not part of a community that was brought together by these things. and in some ways blogging *is” a way to “become” someone–we emerge through experiences after all, and although there might a be a true “core” to us there, we also become who we are through interactions and experiences–online or IRL.

    a friend of mine who has gone through (and as far as I know is still going through) this hell of infertility went the opposite way. she cut herself off from many of her RL friends who were not infertile–this pretty much was finalized when i told my circle that i was pregnant. she wrote me a sweet email, but basically said she could not be around me. it hurt too much. after some resistance, i accepted this, though i wish it wasn;t true–on one level I could understand it, and i knew that being around me could trigger self-destructive or even suicidal feelings in her. another friend of ours who was much closer to her was deeply hurt and expressed this with anger. she said that she was cutting of RL friends and becoming more absorbed with her “real” friends she had made through Infertility Blogs, and that this was not healthy.

    although i do not see blogging friends as less “real” than other types–there was concern on our part that the more she became part of that community, the more we lost her. This was not the fault of the community, but more of a symptom of how shitty this whole thing is.

    I am sure she finds support and solace through the community, and that is vital. but whether its this community or others, there can be a suffocating aspect to all of this that is not always healthy.

  11. I think that the research is difficult to interpret properly. What I know about myself is that I read infertility blogs before I knew i was infertile. I researched treatment options and FSH levels before I ever had a blood tests. Just like when a friend got cancer when we were 21 I went straight to the library (tehre was no internet then) and researched what he had. Understanding things makes me feel better. So actually, rather than there being a fault in my personality that leads to me being infertile, it’s more accurate to say that I had a prediliction, that was built into my personality long ago, perhaps via genetics, to worry, and to research. And as someone said on Julie’s blog about this, the causality is the wrong way. I was always like this, so perhaps this coping strategy is not the cause, but the effect of some gene or genes that ALSO cause my infertility.

    What Patricia said was very hard to read, too. But I don’t really agree with Leggy, I don’t think the blogosphere is very ‘baby at any cost’ or even ‘biology at any cost’. I do think that the blogosphere is very supportive, sometimes to the point of, well, not exactly lying but certainly avoiding saying the bad things. That might lead people to write encouraging comments when really there is no logical reason to encourage someone.

  12. I have a simplistic answer to a very complex question. Remember those articles in women’s magazines like Glamour, about how to break up with a friend? You know, a girlfriend who’s too needy, too gossipy, too negative, whatever. They would list steps to take to try to “correct” the relationship along with a way to tell when you just gracefully needed to bow out?

    Well, having read those articles, I could never really imagine who does that. I mean, if someone is really a friend, then how do you call her up and say, “I’m sorry. This just isn’t working for me.”

    That’s how I feel about blogging. I have some friends out here, and some others who don’t know I exist, but all of them have one thing in common. They’ve given me hope when it was most desperately needed. They’ve helped me cope, with stories of their own disappointments and losses. Perhaps it’s gallows humor, perhaps it’s a bit vampire-like (sorry, couldn’t think of the psychological term), feeding off of other people’s woes. But all I know is that it really helped me. Still does.

    I am expecting the day to come when I have to not write (as much or at all, I’m not sure), but I’ll find it as hard to fathom how to break it off as I did reading those articles.

  13. Oh DD — Poor Mr. DD. His thoughts are so normal and natural. It’s not unlike the thoughts thousands of people have about adopted children, sperm donor children, step-children… and everyone responds differently.

    As for the other — who knows. Some of us are enablers. Some of us try to keep up with the Jones. Some of us are poisoned by other people’s losses or success. Most of us find comfort in the fact that we aren’t alone.

    I can’t do IF treatment anymore. And I won’t do it ever again — but it doesn’t stop me from keeping my fingers crossed for everyone else. I don’t want other people to get to the point that they feel like they just can’t go on anymore. I don’t mind cheering on my IF bloggy friends.

    You’re not feeling well. You’re under a lot of stress. The 2ww is the worst kind of hell. Hang in there… don’t get yourself too down.

  14. I agree, I think Mr. DD’s thoughts are normal, I have fleeting thoughts about whether the fact that I’m not genetically linked to my baby will impact my feelings. But in the end, all I wanted was to be a parent and I didn’t care how so I’m sure those feelings will override any questions.

    I don’t think blogging and reading IF blogs impacted my decisions in how far I would go. If anything it gave me hope and it gave me information which helped me make better decisions about how far I was willing to go.

    But I can absolutely understand moving on to a new phase of your life and giving up the world that you don’t seem part of anymore.

  15. This is the second time I’ve read this. I’m having trouble coming up with the words I want. First, I’m so sorry that Mr DD is having these dreams–they must be so upsetting to both of you.

    All right, here goes. I may ramble for a bit. I’m definitely going to devote a post to this soon. I don’t believe the research applies in a general way, not the way the researchers do. Perhaps for some people, it can be harmful to blog. For others, it is a lifeline. I do get upset about others’ bad news, and I’m sure it adds to my stress levels–but the reduction in stress that I receive from blogging and getting support from others is invaluable. I’ve said before that my blog is for me and that I’d write if no one was reading. I’m not sure that’s true. It wouldn’t fulfill the same needs if it did.

    Would we maybe be less cautious if we hadn’t heard bad news from others? Sure. We might take a little more joy and worry a little less about the consequences in the early days of pregnancy. Or we might never have known about the options that could get us to that positive beta in the first place. It’s a trade-off. I don’t know which is better. But I don’t think that it’s research that can be applied to the general population.

  16. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this week. Finding out you are pregnant should be a joy but as many of us know, it is often a time of great worry and anxiety.

    As for you question of whether or not you would be as obsessed if not for the infertility world…can’t speak for anyone but me. I went through my fertility and miscarriages prior to becoming a blogger. I didn’t read blogs either – didn’t know this community existed to be honest. I still obsessed endlessly about DPO and beta levels. And I was left feeling like there wasn’t anyone out there who really understood what I was feeling. That said, I can see how it would be a mixed blessing. You get support but you also see that there are others out there who are always trying one more thing to try to get pg.

    I pray that you get a good answer tomorrow. If you don’t, I pray that you find some sort of peace with whatever comes next. We aren’t ttc now and it has been very freeing to not count the days of my cycle and all of that crap. But I have to admit that it is still in the back of my mind most days. Quieter but still there. I don’t think it will go away completely until menopause. Infertility did that to me.

  17. First off – eek on the dream for Mr. DD… I am sure that is scary and frightening and upsetting for him as well as for you. I think dreams are the way we deal with our fears and put a voice to them. So if we go with that little thought then he’s voicing his biggest fear – and getting it out there so that it isn’t a fear anymore. It’s not the reality – but in the dream he can work through those fears so to speak.

    As for enabling or not… I know for me I blog because it’s the only place I can be completely honest about how all this crap makes me feel… I read other blogs and I don’t think that they influenced how I felt about each pregnancy… I think unfortunately my scientific nature – makes me HAVE to know what those levels are supposed to be, makes me have to know what is the worst case scenario – because if I don’t prepare for that to happen and it does I’ll be worse than if I knew… and yes I even read an occasional blog that has a first time pregnancy that announced it as soon as the positive pee stick and does occasionally have the happy ending. I’m jealous of them, but I know that it does happen for some and hopefully one of these days we all can have that happy ending rather than thinking it only happens in fairty tales.

    Sending prayers, positive thoughts, positive vibes, positive whatever the heck you want your way… so that today’s numbers are good.

  18. I think I would be so much less prepared, so much more hurt, and so much more alone without blogs and this group of women online. And definitely waaay more stressed. So I reject it as well. Do you think they’d say that about cancer, too? Good luck today DD. I haven’t been commenting enough (very bad) but I have been keeping up with you and thinking of you a lot.

  19. I have no idea. I do want to wish you well today. And you look fabulous in your new dress.

    Take care. I’ll be thinking of you guys.

  20. I hope that Mr DD is having better dreams. I think that infertility does such a number on us that everything just becomes harder.

    As for the study and whether or not blogging hurts or helps us, I can only think that it helps me. I have found the blogosphere to be incredibly supportive. I have to disagree with the thought that we become all about ‘biology at any cost’. Maybe it’s because when I started my blog I knew it was very likely I’d use donor gametes or build my family through adoption. Maybe it’s just because I’m reading different blogs.

    I think oneo the most amazing things is that so many of are building our families differently and we can know folks going down so many different paths. There were only one or two donor blogs back when I started, now there are so many more. And just knowing that helps so many people.

  21. Couple of thoughts here – I think bloggers tend to persevere with treatments longer because they have better emotional support to withstand them.

    … and I don’t think blogging is part of the problem. At least not for me. Reading other blogs and feeling less alone in this helps me to feel more normal. I don’t think I obsess more now because I obsessed like crazy before.. so, for me, it’s all good. ‘Specially when my blog helps me work out some particularly troubling emotion so I can pack it away for a while and get back to living my life.

    I don’t see how any study can say that’s not good for me. :o)

  22. When I was struggling with infertility I lived on the baby center message boards, wanting to feel I wasn’t alone. Wanting someone to tell me what to do. They told me to keep trying and now I have Hailey.

    Everyone needs something different in life. Everyone grieves differently, celebrates differently. Personally I need people like you. People that tell me that the struggle is worthwhile.

  23. Mr. DD’s dream is the norm. As the moderator of the Yahoo DI Dads group I would say this dream is typical. I also can say if the dad is going to be a hands on dad the reality is that the bond develops quickly. The issues don’t just dissipate but they fade as the bond grows. Anytime Mr. DD wants to join the group tell him the more the merrier as we’re at about 90 or so men. Many still TTC with their wives and a number of very recent new dads.

    The anger thing sucks. Lord knows it was part of our life for some time. Regards, Eric


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