Sunday, December 5, 2010

On the haves and the have-nots

My mom has told me repeatedly that she is proud of me for how well I'm coping.  I'm proud of me too, but boy, do I want to be doing better than what I'm doing.

One part of me occasionally wallows in all the reasons why I feel I'm being singularly picked on by the universe. My biggest gripe is that I have to go through the hell of RPL while being single.  I read 'Coming to Term' and there are some stories in there that make you break out the kleenex while  breaking out in a cold sweat, you could not believe that anybody could be tortured that much. I kept thinking, well, atleast they had each other. But at the end of the day, you realize one thing: you should not compare yourself to other people (even the happily married fertile mrytles who get pregnant every time they blink and pop out broods with no issues) not because of a matter of right or wrong, but just because its an exercise in futility that hurts only yourself.

This post is about envy and gratitude.

The envy lists

I could be jealous of somebody who has had just one miscarriage and went on to have healthy kids after.

I could be jealous of anybody who has ever gotten past a week 20 u/s, especially since there is a part of me that cannot even imagine that I would be so similarly blessed.

I could be jealous of somebody who has had a loving partner to share in her grief, and who has somebody to brainstorm the future with.

But then, on the plus side, there would be people who look at my situation and envy my advantages

I get pregnant every time I try.

Because of my unique situation, repeated IVF and surrogacy is an economically viable option for me.  I don't have to break the bank to pursue these lines of action,  or failing that, adoption.

I have family that are the most supportive that anybody could ask for, I have a work situation that allows me the right levels of flexibility.

I can afford to take a year off(or two) from my career and return to a land of cheap IVF and plentiful surrogacy to focus on the holy quest that is baby-making.

When you put all of this together, you realize envy is pointless. I have my blessings and I have my trials, and these are mine alone. Forget about what other people might or might not have, this is MY lot in life and I have to deal with it. This is the mental attitude that is keeping that monster called self-pity at bay for good amounts of time. Don't get me wrong, self pity drops by a lot, and I hate each and every visit. That is why I said I want to be doing better.

Then there are also gratitude lists:

I'm grateful that I'm not bitter. After I've lost these little precious embryos that would have been my two babies, I've let go and just accepted that they were not meant to be. Its not been easy and there is plenty of grief, but still there is acceptance without rage. Bitterness is something that corrodes one's spirit, and I'm thankful it has not visited me yet.

I'm grateful that if there is something wrong with my babies, the defect is enough to end the process at 8 weeks instead of me finding out during a 16 or 20 week u/s that things have gone very, very south. There was a bit in 'Coming to term' talking about this, and you realize that a lot of the time, miscarriage is not about nature being cruel, its about nature being kind. The cruel part was that there was something wrong to start with, but after that has happened, if nature steps in and halts the process early, you get spared a lot of pain.

I'm grateful that I've realized what I need to do to get through the next few years comfortably- make peace.

I don't know how exactly to achieve this but the two steps I'll be taking is seeing a shrink (who needs to help me not to cope with grief but the thought of giving up my dream to have biological children without falling apart) and then seeking spirituality to make sure that my happiness does not end up depending on any of the goals I have set. This is not at easy but but I'll be making a start in this while I remain in India.

The most important goal is always, always, always, to limit damage to ones self. And that is something really hard to do when battling infertility of any sort.  Its a lesson that also spills over to the rest of life- things do not  become cushy and rainbow filled because you have children, those are actually when the real battles can begin.

I wish myself and everybody else attempting this luck with this horrendously difficult task. We have no control over our own biology. What we can attempt to control, are our selves, our emotions and our reactions.


  1. It's been really inspiring to watch you walk through this - and its clear you'll continue to do so. My heart goes out to you - stay strong.

  2. As a woman who always expects to be in control (as are many if not most choicemoms), I find the inability to control anything in this process so frustrating. As for self-pity, I too hate his visits. You amaze me with your strength.

  3. Jay, your tenacity always inspires me. This post really applies to me and probably all of us who are trying to conceive. Thank you for sharing your thoughts-- it really helps me think about my situation too. You will be a mom.. I know it. I am thinking about you.

  4. You are just so strong. You are an inspiration to me!

  5. This was a very though-provoking post. I am as you are... I dont feel anger or bitterness about my losses. I feel sorrow, though honestly, after 5 losses now I don't think I feel as devastated as I did the first time. But I AM happy that I carry no bitterness. I look at women with babies and I feel...desire, want, and a little sad, but I dont feel anything that I should be ashamed of. And that is the sign of someone that is evolved I think. And you, writing this post shows me you are evolved, and thoughtful and aware of your innermost feelings and emotions and dealing with them as you need to. Bravo you, and thanks for making me take time to process and think. x

  6. Interesting and touching post.

    I agree that the 'pain olympics' offers little comfort, but I must say I've always had a hard time not going down that road at all. How many times have I wished I were a normal fertile woman.

    Attempt to control emotions and reactions? I'm not convinced personally that we can control our emotions or reactions very much. Channel them, process them, yes, but not prevent - at least not fully.

    (Arrived here from the Crème de la Crème list.)

  7. This is a great post. I have such a hard time not feeling jealous of others (I turned green immediately when I read that you have the resources for repeated IVF and surrogacy to be an option for you, which is absurd, since I was also able to do 4 rounds of IVF for pretty cheap in Korea, resulting in the holy grail--a take-home child), but it's just not rational (see above). We all have our own problems to deal with, and thinking about other people's good luck just doesn't help.

    Peace is good. Good luck.

    (here from creme)