Saturday, March 28, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I know I have posted infertility articles before, but this one is so TRUE. I got it off of a great blog: Adoption....Changing Lives From Beginning to End I have inserted a few thoughts of my own in Italics. If you are having a hard time understanding just what we have gone through the last few years please read this article!
*For Infertility and Emotional Stages, the author is unknown. However, the information is from the Adoption Education Resource Manual, LDS Family Services, Kearns Agency.
Infertility and Emotional Stages
The most common first feeling of infertility. For us it wasn't as surprising as it is for others. We were already kind of prepared for it. But even then it was still a surprise. Because even if you know bad news is coming, you still hang on to a small shred of hope that it won't be bad new. This was the shortest stage for us.
"This can't happen to me!" Denial serves a purpose. It allows the body and mind to adjust at their own pace to events that might otherwise be overwhelming. Denial often comes into play at the time of miscarriage or stillbirth. The loss is too enormous and sudden to endure. It needs to be processed and piecemeal until it can be totally acknowledged.
Infertility is a personal and embarrassing subject to discuss. Many infertile couples keep their problem carefully to themselves. This has two very unfortunate consequences: first, the family, friends, and peers of the couple may presume they are using birth control or do not desire children. This leads to needling and pressuring to start a family and fulfill society's dictates that families should be continued. Second, the partners, if they do not confide to others about infertility, must necessarily turn to each other for support, understanding, and sympathy. Often this is an impossible request because both members of an infertile couple are under stress. This is one of the biggest stages we have gone through. For us, it was easier to isolate ourselves away because the pain was just so overwhelming that we didn't know how to share it with others. Like it mentions, this could have been an unfortunate thing for us to do because now that we try to share our feelings it seems to create tension and misunderstandings. I think some see us isolate ourselves and they think that is because we need space. But really we isolate ourselves because it is easier that way. If we know that going to something will be uspetting to us, it it easier to not go at all.
When a couple enter into investigation and attempted treatment of their infertility, they surrender much of their sense of control over their bodies and destinies. The reaction to loss of control and helplessness is often anger. The anger may be very rational, focused at real and correctly perceived insults. Sometimes the anger is more irrational and may be projected onto targets such as the doctor, or an adoption worker. The real target of the anger is both the situation and the self. Anger which isn't acknowledged or released is often repressed and may lead to chronic depression. And sometimes anger comes out and hurt the wrong people. We have had a hard time learning to control our anger at times and end up lashing at those we love. We are sorry.
Guilt and Unworthiness
People try to make a cause-and-effect relationship between infertility and something they have done (or not done) in life. Infertile people frequently decide that they are not being blessed with a pregnancy because they are in some way unworthy. Pregnancy is being withheld as a punishment. Even though we know that Infertility is a MEDICAL CONDITION, we still have moments like this. But how can they be avoided when we see others blessed with babies that we feel are less deserving. I have these moments several times a day. Those kids aren't buckled up, I will always buckle my children. Why can drug addicts have children and we can't?
Depression is a real legitimate state of sadness, despair, lethargy and vague symptoms of distress. When infertility is marked by an end point, such as final knowledge that pregnancy will never occur, depression gives way to grief. I go through this cycle a few times a year. It's nice to know that it is a real legitimate emotion.
"Death. Death of a lot of things. The end of the Jones family and the Jones' family name. It dies with us, because of me. My husband is the last of the male children in his family. Death before life ...before we even knew our child, because he never existed. The hardest part of this kind of death is the fact that it is the death of a dream. There are no solid memories, no pictures, no things to remember. You can't remember your child's blond hair or brown eyes, or his favorite toys or the way he laughed. Or the way it felt to be pregnant with him. He never existed."
There is no funeral, no burial, no grave to lay flowers on. The couple often grieves alone. The infertile person may entertain fears or fantasies that the fertile partner will leave--or worse, will stay and be secretly hostile and condemning. The feelings may lead to a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy. Please re-read this part. With infertility it really is the death of our children. It doesn't matter that we have chosen to adopt. Our children that we dreamt about are dead. There is no easy way to say that. And unfortunately, there is really no solid way to grieve it, but our grief is real. Do not try to convince us otherwise.
The Course of Normal Grief
The first state of normal grief is usually shock and disbelief. To absorb the loss so that they will not feel overwhelmed. The second state of grief is actual suffering. Experiencing the painful feelings of sadness and emptiness. Weeping and sobbing, loss of appetite, exhaustion, choking or tightness in the throat. This "grief work" progresses, and the acute state of suffering will usually pass within several weeks to several months. Finally after the third state of grief, recovery begins. They will establish relationships and new interests as well as show renewed ability to experience pleasure, diversion, and satisfaction. Grief, of course may be reactivated, but the suffering is never as acute again. Each time I grieve, it does seem to be just a little less painful than it was the time before, but it is still very real. I think we have healed a lot, but I think there is still more healing to do. We will ALWAYS grieve the children we couldn't have. We will love the children we get through adoption, but even then we will still grieve that what if's.
Why Grief May Fail
There are a number of very understandable and logical deterrents to normal grieving in infertility: Loss of a potential, not an actual. Friends and family are frequently not aware of the infertility problem, and hence, they do not rally to give support. Loss in miscarriage or still birth, although tragic, is more conducive to normal grief work. There may be uncertainty over the loss. Some people have likened it to the feeling of having a loved one missing in action in war.
Friday, March 13, 2009
We had been married about 4-1/2 years. We were living in a teeny, tiny apartment (I bet prisoners have bigger cells). One night Josh was eating chips and salsa. I DO NOT LIKE SALSA. But that night it smelt good. So I had some. I had some the next night and the next night.
Looking back I know realize it was my acid reflux that was making me sick each morning after eating salsa (acid foods = upset belly for Savannah) at night. But after waking up several morning in a row feeling sick I decided that my sudden liking for salsa could only be one thing: the FOOD CRAVINGS of a pregnant women. We weren't actively trying for children yet, but we had stopped all prevention methods.
Where we would have ever put a baby in the tiny place I have no idea. I can't look back at all my negative pregnancy tests and laugh, but that first one now makes me smile. Oh, and I still like Salsa from time to time.
I am not trying to justify what Josh said in his post. I don't think I need to. Our feelings are real and we shouldn't have to hide them. We have gone back and deleted certain parts of it that probably should have been kept to ourselves. Right now our hearts are hurting and if we try to hide that fact and keep it to ourselves we usually end up blowing things out of proportion. We are sorry we hurt feelings, that was never the purpose.
However, I want to clear a few things up.
INFERTILITY IS A MEDICAL CONDITION! Relaxing, patience, and other advice does not change that fact. You would not tell a cancer patient to just relax and everything would be okay and you would not tell a blind person to just be patient and their sight will come back. You would not tell some who just lost a loved one due to death that everything is okay. INFERTILITY IS A MEDICAL CONDITION!
We are very excited to adopt. For the briefest hour we had our hopes up. Within that hour we were able to picture a baby girl coming into our lives and our home. It was only an hour, but in that hour I dared to dream about my first Mother's Day. In that hour I dreamt about our little girls first steps and I could see in the future and see her dancing with the Utah Gymnastics team. During that hour everything was right with the world and we were the happiest we have been in a while. It's funny how the joy only lasted an hour, and yet weeks later that pain is still to raw. We still think back to that phone call and then cry thinking about the "if only."
DO NOT TELL US TO BE PATIENT. DO NOT TELL US THAT OUR TIME WILL COME. We are through trying to listen to these comments and they may be met with hostility. After all this time they really don't ring true for us anymore.
Instead say things like, We are praying for you. Or offer us a hug. Or just let us know that you are thinking of us.
I know it can be hard to picture us being parents. All we have is a piece of paper that says we are approved to adopt. But all our hopes and dream lie on that piece of paper. That paper says that someone thinks we would be good parents. That paper says we are expecting a child. Clearly not within 9 months, but still it says there is a chance we could be a mom and dad someday.
In the adoption world we are "paper pregnant." Pregnant women don't get ignored as their belly swells. People ask them how they are feeling, how was their last doctor visit, are they getting their home ready for the new addition. At times we feel that since my belly isn't swelling with pregnancy that people can ignore the fact that we too are trying to become parents.
The best thing we can do while trying to adopt is get the word out. TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW. And please pray for us. We need those prayers. We need to know that people are thinking about us. We need acknowledgment that even though we are only a family of two, we are still a family and just as important.
This is a very exciting thing for us and we just want everyone to share the excitement with us.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Now some things that I would like to get off my chest, a couple weeks ago you know that Savannah and I were contacted by a person trying to get money out of us in an adoption scam. I was the one who answered the phone call. I talked to her for a few minutes, and I have to admit for about an hour and a half I was convinced that we were going to finally be parents. Words cannot describe the emotions I felt at that moment. When I hung up the phone tears were streaming down my face. I could hardly dial the phone to call Savannah, I was so excited. I cried and shook with excitement; I thought that this was the real deal. Several hours later I decided that it was a scam and my emotional high bottomed out. I was in a bad mood for a day or so after that. It's a good thing I have a loving wife to help me through things like this, without her this would have been a lot harder.
Anyway this experience had kicked off an adoption craze with me. I have been excited about adoption ever since we decided to do it but I am now feeling the impatience even more now. Because of this and other situations, I find myself wondering "when will it be my turn?" "What am I doing wrong?" And "why is it that others can be parents when we can't, it's not fair."
I know that when it happens it will happen when it is supposed to and we will think "the timing on that was perfect" but it is eating me up inside. I was the oldest , I was supposed to have the first kids, that didn't happen. It kills me, I have tried to do everything right, but I must be lacking somewhere.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Touch of Faith depicts a woman reaching through the crowd to touch the hem of Christ's garment. The story is told in Mark 5:25-34."And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.
When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
And his disciples said unto him, Thous seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of they plague."
I used to think that I had that kind of faith. When we first started the fertility pills I just knew that if I could touch my Savior I would be healed and would be able to become a mother. I contemplated stocking church headquarters in hopes of catching a glimpse of our Prophet, knowing he too could give me the healing I thought my body needed.
I know now that wasn't meant to be. It doesn't make my faith any less, I've just had to refocus it elsewhere. I know that my Savior could heal us and make us parents, but He must be able to see something that I can't see and He knows when the time will be right for us to get a baby, for us to have a chance at being parents. While I was digging through my scriptures looking for this story I stumbled on a thought I wrote in there who knows how many years ago...
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Sometimes this adoption thing gets so hard. We've been married eight years. We only used birth control for like the first 18 months or 2 years. After that we have done nothing to stop a child from coming to our home. THAT'S SIX YEARS!