She Strikes Again

My MIL has struck again.  You might remember the incident after the funeral (WordPress is being difficult – see the post “Ties that Bind”), but I think she has actually topped herself this time.

We had a phone call a couple of weeks ago where they mentioned coming to visit and bringing some of DH’s “personal things” that they had been storing.  We inquired about the “personal things” as they had recently moved and delivered us 6 huge rubbermaid tubs of stuff.  I thought we had it all and I only recently just finished going through it!  She said she would “get back to us”.

A week or so later we received an email saying they were coming to visit, arriving on a Thursday night and leaving Saturday morning.  Thinking perhaps they had looked at the wrong days, I mentioned we would be at work on both Thursday and Friday.  To which she responded, they were aware of that but they could entertain themselves.  You see, they are on their way down south and they have a bunch of places they would like to stop at and spend some time at on their way down.  Ouch.  Clearly they would prefer that to spending time with their oldest son who they see twice a year.  Did I mention they are retired?! They can come any. time. they. want.

Also in this email was again the mention of the “personal things”.  I asked (yet again), what are these personal things?

She responded with an itemized list…of baby clothes.

That’s right.  Baby clothes and quilts that she made for my DH when he was a baby.

Baby clothes considering they don’t know about the recent failed IVF and IUI.

Baby clothes that have never been offered the THREE PREVIOUS TIMES WE HAVE BEEN PREGNANT.

Baby clothes that suddenly need to come to our house as we brace ourselves for the sad reality that in a few days his brother and wife will give birth.  The same brother and wife that got pregnant one month after we did and yet are still having their baby while we are not.

Baby clothes from my DH’s childhood to juxtapose that he might never actually have a child of his own to wear them.

Baby clothes that we can one day throw away with our dreams.

And calling them “personal things” – was she just going to stand there in our house while we opened the tub only to realize that it was baby clothes? And then take a twisted pleasure in our pain and discomfort?

Does she want to hurt us? I can’t fathom that ANYONE is that insensitive. It can’t be possible that she doesn’t get it.  Not after what just happened.

Right? Right??

What the hell am I going to do about this one?

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2015 Can Kiss My A**

*Warning: language alert*  If you are offended by swearing, don’t read any further but do read this article.

Goodbye 2015. I fucking hated you and you were the worst year of my life.

2015 was filled with loss – not just our angel babies but also family members and friendships. It was a year of immense heartbreak.

There were issues, challenges and changes at work and the latter half of the year saw the constant worry of layoffs.

There were situations with our families in various forms that tested the relationships and while some have survived, others have not.

Our circle of friends has struggled too – with layoffs, family issues, illness and more. Consequently, we have struggled with how to be there for them when we are barely managing to look after ourselves.

Our vacations, Christmas and New Year’s were all tainted by “what should have been” or by the miscarriages happened days before we left.

We both hit rock bottom.  It took different forms but for me, 2015 broke me.  It beat me down and 2015 has changed me.  I feel as though I no longer have the mental strength or resilience to manage anymore.  I received a kind note from a former colleague who was sorry to hear of our recent challenges through reading our blog.  He said “You’re a light to all those who know you…a spark plug of energy, and it is infectious.”  I laughed out loud.  I barely remember that version of myself and I doubt anyone would say that now.  How sad.

Please don’t be one of those people that comment and say “be thankful for what you have” or “there had to be some good things that happened” or “at least you have your health/job/insert something you think I should be grateful for”.  You didn’t live my life and I didn’t live yours.  Of course there are people out there who are suffering and who have it “worse” than I do.  My hubby and I chose to deal with that by giving very generously to the organizations that help those people and we have made a point of doing so this year.

But their problems don’t make my problems go away and it doesn’t change the fact I still hate 2015.  It was a terrible year.

Tomorrow will bring a new year, a new day and some new revelations and resolutions.

Until then, 2015 you can kiss my ass good-bye.

Still on the Sauce

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Sooooo…giving up the sauce isn’t going so well.

I have been drinking less…sort of…but I have definitely not abstained from all drinking.  On one hand my brain is saying “Screw it, it is the holidays!” and on the other hand my brain is saying “Oh look, something else you can’t do”.

But there is just so much socializing to be done and I guess I like to socialize with a drink.  It doesn’t need to be more than one, but at least one.  Plus it is much easier than announcing, “Nope, still not pregnant.  Just not drinking.  Seriously.  Yes, I am serious. ”

So I don’t know what to do.  I would like to stop beating myself up though.

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How to “Get Over” a Miscarriage

This post was inspired by a co-worker who doesn’t know that I know about their miscarriage.  I didn’t know how or what to say to them.  So in a perfect world it would have been something like this…

You will never “get over” your miscarriage.  Why the title then? Because after our first loss that’s what I googled in a vain attempt to find to something on the internet that would help ease the pain and bring some comfort.  But no, you will never “get over it”. You will never forget the loss of your unborn child(ren) and that’s ok.  They are always in your heart and always with you.  Over time, it will become easier.  There will still be days where it hits you like a smack in the face. You will read something, see something or remember a date (due dates, anniversaries of the loss) and it will hit you hard.  Those days will never go away, you will just get better at dealing with them.

So what does help? My ideas and thoughts are below, feel free to add yours to the list.

Be sad.  Allow yourself the time to grieve and the time to be sad.  Know that you and your partner will handle grief differently so allow yourselves time to grieve alone and at each other’s own pace.  Cry.  Just let yourself cry.  And after the initial shock and sadness, make sure you find some time to be sad together.  Wallow in the misery together for a bit.  It helps to know the other person is hurting too.

If you can (and I know not everyone can do this), take some time off work.  A few days to absorb the reality of what has happened, to cry and sleep a lot.  To just be in pain.

Don’t put a time limit on the pain and don’t pressure yourself to “move on”.  Take the time you need.  Do not let people belittle your loss.  It doesn’t matter how many weeks it was or how quickly you got pregnant or “at least you know you can get pregnant” or how many miscarriages someone else had before they had children – none of that helps, none of that matters.  This is your loss and your story.

Find a way to memorialize the loss together.  Trust me on this one.  It will feel awkward at first but you will be glad you did it.  We didn’t do this with the first one and as a result I feel  we didn’t really bring closure to the loss until much later.  Memorializing the loss is what the living do to help manage the death of a loved one.  Your child lived and it deserves a goodbye – you don’t have to do a funeral but something to bring closure helps.   After the second loss we wrote a note to the baby together (If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever) and then we burned it (in the jungle in Bali) and said good-bye.  With the third we did a memorial walkWe named all three of them. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t know the gender.  We had a feeling in our hearts and having a name helped us say good-bye. Others have planted trees or purchased plants, others have made donations, got a tattoo – I bought a necklace for all 3. The point is,  just find something that is meaningful for the two of you and do it.

If you don’t have to be alone, don’t.  It can be a very isolating feeling and you are not alone.  I look forward to the day where there isn’t a stigma about talking about miscarriage.  Telling close friends and family can get you an “out”.  A free pass from having to live up to social obligations for a while – take it and use it. It is a also a really good opportunity to find out who your friends are!  If you really don’t want to or can’t tell anyone, then find solace and comfort in a community on the internet.  Search “miscarriage” on Pinterest and you will quickly see you that you are most definitely not alone.

Be angry.  People forget that anger is a part of the grieving process and by goodness you are going to be angry.  Let it happen.  Yell and scream in your car, your house, the shower – whatever. I have a journal, this blog and a psychologist.  All places where I can be very angry and very ugly if I need to be and it is judgement free.  So just go for it.

Exercise.  It releases chemicals in your brain that mimic anti-depressants.  Get out there and do it, even if it is just a walk with your partner for now.

Take comfort in the fact that one day there will be more good days than bad days.  Don’t rush yourself, it will come. And if doesn’t come or you don’t feel like you are moving forward after giving yourself time to grieve – then get some help.  Talk to your doctor.

Oh and one more thing – drink the wine, eat the sushi, have brie – because you can!

IMG_4689If you are interested in an awesome memorial necklace, be sure to check out The Charmed Wife on Etsy.

 

Microblog: Taking Back Christmas

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This year, my husband and I took back Christmas.  We realized after this summer that, for many reasons, we weren’t able to have a family Christmas this year with either side of the family.

We sent our family members this article “Coping with the Holidays” from RESOLVE (the American National Fertility Association). If you or anyone you know is going into the Christmas season trying to cope with infertility and/or loss, then it is a must read. I mean that. Read it.

For the most part, everyone was supportive and even if they may not understand our reasons, they respect our decision.

As a result, this is the most excited I have been about Christmas in years. Taking back Christmas meant Christmas on our terms. It meant starting to make Christmas about traditions that are important for our family of three (me, hubby and the dog) and not bound by family customs/traditions/norms.  It’s liberating.  I love it.

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Do I Make You Uncomfortable?

It seems that some people are uncomfortable with our openness about our fertility challenges. Both my husband and I are open about it when the time/place are right. Our family knows, our close friends know and some acquaintances/co-workers do as well. Do I throw it in people’s faces when they ask me if we have children? No. Not the first time, second time or third time people ask me that. Not even when followed with “well, when are you having kids?!”. But if a personal relationship develops then sometimes I will tell people outside our inner circle and so has my husband.

Reactions have been mixed. For the most part, people are supportive and oftentimes they are familiar with the struggle. Other times people have been less supportive. One buddy even kicked my husband in the leg under the table to get him to stop talking.

But what we have learned is that it makes everyone uncomfortable. Which means we make people uncomfortable. Which wasn’t our desired outcome.

People don’t want to ask, they are afraid to ask or they just don’t. They just pretend like nothing is happening. I get that. It is easier for them. The news is never good, it is always sad and it is a little bit hopeless too. I am sorry that’s my reality, I really am. In fact, no one is sorrier than I that I don’t have good news to share.

Or they throw it back to us – “We don’t want to pry” or “We aren’t going to ask, we will wait until you are ready to tell us”. Of course. That’s easier for you. It puts the responsibility on us and you can pat yourself on the back and feel like you have done something.

If I could say anything to those people – I would say this. I am sorry I make you uncomfortable. But by not asking, you make me uncomfortable too. It makes me feel like you don’t care. You don’t have to ask about our fertility treatments or how we are coping or anything like that. You could just start with a “how are you?” That would be a good place to start.

Thankfully it isn’t everyone. Although over the years the “who” has surprised us, we are more often surprised by the amazing people who do ask. The ones who do reach out and seek not only to understand but to support us. If I could be half the friend to those people as they have been to me, I think I would consider life a success.

So would I recommend telling family and friends? If I was honest, no.

I am sometimes jealous of the bloggers and folks I meet in Internet land who haven’t told anyone. It might be lonely but I don’t think it hurts as much either.

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Microblog: Pity vs Empathy

Pity:  the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

It’s a subtle difference but it is there.  I don’t need you to feel sorry for me but I do need you to try and understand and to try and support us in our journey.

Pity: “I can’t imagine how hard this is for you – you must find it so painful to even carry on trying”.

Empathy: “I am sorry you have to go through this and I am sure it isn’t easy to keep trying”.

See the difference?

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