Thursday, April 9, 2015

Draw Your Infertility

Years ago, we attended an adoption conference. Most of the classes focused on the many aspects of adoption, but they also had a few infertility classes, one of which we decided to attend.

During the session, we were each given a piece of paper and told to draw our infertility. I drew a woman holding a baby, surrounded by family and friends. Then I drew myself in the far corner, standing alone with a tear on my face. (Really, it was just stick figures, but that was the image I was going for.)

I finished and looked at Josh's paper, only to find it was blank. I asked him why he didn't draw anything and he said, "because there's nothing to draw, there's no sperm."

After everyone was finished drawing their pictures, we hung them up on the wall. The instructors gave us wadded up, wet paper towels and told us to throw them at the picture, as hard as we could, while telling our infertility how it made us feel.

As I threw mine I yelled, "I hate you." Those 3 words held so much meaning. I hated our bodies. I hated those who had what I couldn't. I hated the waiting. I hated the world.

For me, that was one of those moments where the flood gates open. I bawled and bawled. Normally, I would never open up like that in a public setting, but everyone in there was having the same experience, so it felt safe. Also, I was so caught up in my own grief, I couldn't have told you what everyone else was doing. When we started, I thought it was a dumb idea. But by the end of class, it had helped me to confront my grief.

Many times since, I've heard others say they are so mad over their situation, they just want to smash something against the wall. One woman even said she wanted to buy a box of glass jars to smash, but it seemed so wasteful in the end, and she didn't want to have a mess to clean up.

As weird as it sounds, try this out. Maybe you'll just end up with a wet wad of paper on the floor. But maybe it will help release some of the feelings you are having a hard time expressing.


  1. Great idea with the wet paper towel! You've just inspired my next #MicroblogMondays post - as I have another couple of ways to do this! Releasing our emotions can be very helpful.

  2. This is an amazing idea! And I'm so glad you found an outlet for your grief. It's hard to find these when living with infertility.

  3. One of the therapists I saw suggested getting a kiddie bat & ball set, or Nerfball, and batting it against a brick wall, or a wall in the basement, to work out your frustrations. I also had someone suggest buying a set of cheap dishes from Goodwill and smashing them. Like you, though, I didn't want to have to clean up the mess, lol.

    We used to do a collage exercise in our pg loss support group. We'd bring in stacks of old magazines & spend 20 minutes leafing through & tearing out images & words that spoke to us about our pregnancies and losses. Then we'd put them together in a collage, and then shared them with the group (if we wanted, nobody was forced to do so). Some pretty amazing stuff came out of those discussions. I did a collage every time the topic came up in the rotation, and I still have all of them. It was interesting to see how they evolved over time.

  4. This fits with what a wise therapist once said to me: "If you can feel it, you can heal it." We try so hard to avoid the feelings, which can also mean we push away the healing.

    Thanks for this.

  5. That's interesting. I am glad that the exercise helped! It seems to me though that in order for it to help one would have to see one's infertility as separate from one's "self." That's something I've never been able to do - but maybe it's just different because the individual journeys are different. Art can be so therapeutic; it sounds cheesy till one actually experiences it.

  6. What an interesting idea... I can see how this would open up the floodgates and help to access those buried (or not-so-buried) emotions around infertility. "I hate you" sounds entirely appropriate. I think I'm going to have to try this, especially now that I've moved from treatment to adoption and the feels around infertility are a little different. Confronting grief sounds so cathartic, I'm going to have to share this one! Thanks so much for this post.