Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Its Hard to Be Strong

As I watch a few friends go through some hard stuff, I want to remind people to be kind. Behind every strong face, there is a broken heart. Behind every smile, there are invisible tear drops.

When you are going through infertility, you try so hard to be strong and pretend that nothing is wrong. You do your best to put on a face that says, "I'm okay." You get really good at making that face. For me, I just didn't want to talk about it. It was easier to pretend that nothing was wrong, than to help others understand what we were going through.

I'm here to tell you, its hard to be strong.

When we had the testing done to check our sperm count (I say ours, because infertility is about a couple, not just the individual), we decided to go through a bigger hospital. They did a much more intensive check than our local hospital. The problem was, they wouldn't release the results to us directly; we had to get them through our doctor. For days, I would call the doctor, only to say he didn't have them. So I would call the hospital where they would say they had already faxed them, but they would again. It finally took me standing in the doctor's office, on my cell phone, watching the fax machine before I could get those results. I was on my lunch break that day.

I told myself to not look until I got home that night, but I was ready for an answer and couldn't wait any longer. The entire document was blank, except the very bottom line. On that line was one thing: Overall Sperm Count: 0.

I went back to work and found an empty office. I shut the door and bawled my eyes out. It took several minutes to get the sobbing under control. When I felt composed, I put my smile back in place and walked out. I went back to work like nothing had happened. But all I could think inside was "Zero. Its all over now."

Sadly, this is not the only time I have hidden at work to have a long, hard cry. I did the same thing after we were unchosen. It was a normal working day and then the email came. I found an empty office, closed the door and called my husband. I was so hysterical I could hardly speak. I had carpooled that day with a coworker and Josh wasn't able to come get me. So I wiped up my tears, put my smile back and and went back to work. My coworker's had NO clue what I was going through that day.

I can't even count the numerous cry sessions I've had in the restroom at work. Something would trigger an episode and I would rush to get to where no one could see me loose it. As soon as I could gather my composure back together, I would go back to work. 

You never know what silent battles a person is fighting. Those battles follow us everywhere. School, work, church. They haunt us constantly. "What if I'm pregnant right now?" "What if I don't get pregnant this month?" "What do we do now?" "Why me?" "Will this pain ever stop?" "Is life even worth living?"

I often think of a line from one of my favorite hymns: "In the quite heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can't see." (Hymn, Lord I Would Follow Thee)

I'm not asking that you start trying to get into a person's private life. I'm just asking that you treat everyone with kindness. Don't be quick to judge someone. Don't be harsh toward someone. Treat everyone you meet with love and kindness. You may never know what demons haunt them inside.

1 comment:

  1. This is so true. I remember being chased and then abused by a road rage driver a few years ago. I was quite shaken after it, but I had to rationalise. He must have had a terrible day. I can't do this all the time. But I try to do it more. I think that's one of the gifts of infertility - our compassion reaches out to anyone in pain. We know how easy it is to hide our pain, and so we know that others do it too.