Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Hidden Truth

Get ready for an emotional post. What can I say? That's my life. Sometimes.

Sometimes, I physically ache for all the women facing infertility, pregnancy loss, infant loss, or the overwhelming obstacles of adoption.

Sometimes, I ache for myself...My first, my one-year-old. And my second, my little baby, due this fall. I think of them this way, maybe because I've had a while to think about them. It probably seems strange to other people, but it's natural for me.
It brings me peace.

Sometimes it seems like everything I do every day reminds me that I've lost them. I can't help but think how different life would be if they were here now.

A stranger, Katie, who shared her story on www.facesofloss.com, wrote, "Miscarriage is death, yet there are no funerals, no sympathy cards, no bereavement time. Instead couples grieve in silence. You’ve just got to pick up the pieces, hold your head high, and go on with life as usual.

Source: Pinterest
I've observed that some people believe that infertility or pregnancy loss is mostly longing for a baby, something like dreaming of a car or new furniture, only perhaps more intense. 

They believe that you just have to be patient, because eventually you'll have a baby (when it's somehow magically "the right time"), and everything will be alright. And that you shouldn't worry so much, and try to be happy with what you already have. It's a matter of faith and patience.

This is true, because happiness is a choice, but it's only half of the truth, which makes it half a lie. The whole truth is that it's much more than waiting. It's more than what it seems.

It's a part-time job that you don't get paid for.

It's weekly doctor's visits, daily phone calls, and constantly waiting on hold for the nurse.

It's getting the run-around over and over from your insurance company.

It's follow-up, follow-up, and more follow-up.

It's getting nowhere.

It's feeling like you have to keep trying, even when you want to give up.

It's freezing cold exam rooms with nothing on but a paper shield.

It's complicated explanations and half-smiles from the medical staff.

It's feeling completely out of place in a building with pictures of babies all over the wall and a waiting room full of pregnant women.

It's piles of paperwork and a whole drawer full of files at home labeled "Infertility/Miscarriages."

It's trying something new and hoping that it works.

It's trying again, then again, and again, and hoping that it works.

It's bad news.

It's rarely ever good news. 

It's a 4-hour drive to see the specialist.

It's a night stand covered in prescription bottles.

It's taking medication that turns you into a person that you hate.

It's paying $80 every month for a bunch of plastic sticks.

It's complex calendaring, counting, charting, and analyzing (and over-analyzing).

It's blood tests, and poking and prodding.

It's physical pain and emotional stress.

It's failure.

It's the loss of privacy.

It's the loss of someone so small, yet that you love so much.

It's birthdays that only you remember.

It's starting over.

It's "just life" to everyone else, but it's not
their life.

It's money.

And more money.

It's running out of options.

It's tough decisions.

It's praying.

It's crying.

It's hope.

It's dreading church every Sunday, and hating that you feel that way.

It's waterproof mascara.

It's being misunderstood and judged.

It's trying to figure out the best answers to awkward questions and well-meaning "advice."

It's trying to pretend that life is normal, when it's not.

It's growing closer to your spouse.

It's growing apart from friends who avoid you.

It's being lifted up by encouraging words from people who care about you.

It's feeling the love of God.

It's seeing His hand in your life.

It's spending hours reading strangers' blogs to remind yourself that you're not alone.

It's a club you don't want to be a member of.

It's scouring the Internet for answers that aren't there.

It's constantly battling feelings of discouragement, despair, anger, bitterness, jealousy, and self-loathing.

It's being physically exhausted from that constant battle. 

It's trying to be the very best person you can be in some of the very worst situations.

It's "temporary." (...Right?)

It's (seemingly) never-ending.

It's so much more than even this, and it's different for everyone. There are so many stories, some with happy endings and some with very, very sad ones. I'd like to believe that everyone will have their happy ending eventually, even if it's not in this life. But until then, it's much, much more than waiting.

If you've been there, tell me, what is it for you?


  1. Oh my gosh, I love this!! I want to repost on my blog as a guest post. What do you think?

    If I were to add anything to this list, for me personally, it would be:

    It's self-doubt. Maybe I did do something wrong - eat too many non-organic foods or forget to say my prayers one too many times. Maybe they're right.

    It's becoming an expert about something I don't want to be.

    It's becoming an educator to those who are offensively ignorant.

    It's learning to trust in God.

  2. Jenny, thanks so much for writing this post. It helped me understand where you're coming from and makes my heart ache for you in this situation. Know you are very loved and that I'm praying for you in Ohio! Love you!
    P.s. We should skype soon!

  3. I'm glad you've found Faces of Loss useful... I always feel stupid when I share it with people, because it's almost as if I'm saying, "Hey, I don't know what to say to you, so go here and read about other people who are going through something similar."

    I ache for you, and I hope someday you find the peace you're looking for. Not so much a happy ending (I think those are overrated) but a happy beginning at some point.

  4. I had a miscarriage about four months ago...every thing looks good to try again. We've had to wait and will have to wait until I recover from my ankle injury, due to high doses of Ibuprofen and pain medicine.

    I have an appt with an Ankle Sub-Specialist who will look at the MRI and CT scan and tell me if I have to have surgery....

    For me it is a hidden broken heart... We were just about to tell our families when we found out the fetus' heart wasn't beating and for a few minutes my heart stopped beating. It was a dream torn away, but as I continue to wait to try again I have found renewed faith in God.

  5. Loved this, Jenny! I love your writing. Thanks for posting this. It gave me a lot to think about tonight. Love you! Here is what I would add:

    It’s trying to convince your closest friends that you WILL be happy for them when they tell you they are expecting, and pleading with them to tell you themselves.

    It’s trying to hold back the tears when you end up finding out through the grapevine that one of your closest friends is expecting and they were afraid to tell you.

    It’s feeling grateful for friends that DO tell you face to face that they are expecting. They know you well enough to know that you ARE happy for them.

    It’s watching movies like Annie and Anne of Green Gables that get you excited about adoption.

    It’s learning to quickly forgive friends and strangers for their naïve comments.

    It’s trying to not be judgmental of mothers/expectant mothers who complain about the “miseries” you only dream of.

    It’s remembering to enjoy your “bar of chocolate” rather that being disappointed that you don’t have your “golden ticket”.

    It’s realizing that any child longed for is sorely missed, whether it is baby #1 or baby #13.

    It’s recognizing that other women your age have their own “time on the bench” whether she is not married, tied down with five children under the age of 4, has lost a child, etc.,

    It’s taking advantage of the time you have to do the things you wouldn’t be doing if you had the number of children you had hoped to have by now.

    It’s wondering if praying too much shows a lack of patience, or not praying enough shows a lack of faith.

    It’s smiling when family, friends, and children tell you they are still praying for you, even after 3 ½ years. Or better yet, it’s hearing a prayer said in your behalf by a small child.

    It’s being glad you will never ever ever had to use any form of birth control.

    It’s discovering the things you and your spouse were supposed to learn from this hardship.

    It’s finding great peace from reading your patriarchal blessing.

    It’s praying fervently for the women who will someday entrust their children to you. And crying for them too.

    It’s creating an instant bond with another women when you find out you both have the same struggle.

    It’s having wonderful visiting teachers who let you cry in front of them.

    It’s looking at my little boy and hoping he will someday have a sibling to be his playmate and best bud.

    It’s looking at my little boy and being grateful that for now, I am his favorite playmate and best bud. And he is mine.

  6. It's making yourself cheer for all your friends and family who are happily complaining about pregnancy, the trial you really want.

    It's forcing yourself to not think about your dearest hopes and dreams because if you do, you'll cry, you'll slip back into a state of depression.

    It's feeling like you are screaming for help and no one can hear you.

    It's not knowing what to say if people could hear you.

    It's feeling so blessed when someone stands up in Relief Society and says, "I know what it feels like to want to give up." And it gives you relief.

    It's the moment someone says, "I know exactly how you feel. I've been there too." And realizing that phrase doesn't hurt like "At least you haven't tried ___ years" (fill in the blank).

    It's that moment you realize there are people who know how you feel; you aren't alone.

    It's being slapped in the face with a scripture that you realize lists some of the reasons you are enduring this trial, and you except it.

  7. Last month, it was waiting to give 16 vials of blood and a urine sample and then waiting for the phone call to tel you simply that they still don't know "what's wrong."

    Hugs, Jenny.

  8. It's keeping really busy in order to not think about it, but then wondering if keeping that busy is part of the problem.

    It's listening to people who tell you that you should enjoy this time of life when you can be footloose and fancy free.

    It's not being able to do anything about it because you can't afford it.

    It's telling people that you have kids.... lots of them... and they are all teenagers (and the students you teach high school classes to)

    It's 'adopting' kids that are a part of your life.

    It's being glad that you didn't spend money on birth control or wait to start trying.

    It's being the odd one out at church, especially during lessons on motherhood...where the sister next to you tells you to store the info away for when you do become a mom... and you're thinking about the lesson and asking yourself 'How can I apply this to my classroom."

    It's reading the other responses and smiling and crying because you understand them.

    It's instantly loving others because you relate to them.

  9. It's running out of the chapel crying on Mother's Day.

    We always were open about why we didn't have children. Because we were willing to talk about it, we found many others who were also struggling. We still do find couples who struggle.

    We were childless for 6 years. One miscarriage who would have been 2 years older than our oldest. Now we have 5 children ages 22 to 14.