Happy Birthday, Finally

An infertility survivor runs into contentment on her birthday……..

Oh, the unpredictability emitting journey through holidays while in the midst of a grieving process…….many of us know it well. Often an excruciating odyssey, dicey even when definable can be a best case scenario. There are many valid ways to maneuver oneself through this, though for me personally (and please don’t be shocked), I prioritize allowing whatever comes up emotionally coupled with the ever so important art of self – preservation. Read more

Riding the Waves of Grief

Reflections on my latest infertility survivor undertow

It is one thing to search for answers and fix and define. It is entirely another to be present for that which you can’t. Or shouldn’t.

I know that the band of supportive people who grace me with their presence will always be peppered by those who possess a tendency to perceive my grief as my own misperception. As something that is unique to me and caused by me. As a weak, misguided choice resulting from personal flaws that could be mechanically altered with a childish flip of a switch if I “just” chose to “see things another way”. But I know better. I know I went and continue to go through something that would bring the mightiest in this world to their knees. I know our primal gut is not a mistake. And that it is crucial to create space for its sacred mysterious intelligence even if empty souls chose to scream otherwise. Read more

When Your Trauma and Loss Doesn’t Count Round 2 The End

Why this infertility survivor is NOT off to see the wizard…..

Continued from Round 2 Part 1

Tired of disenfranchised grief yet?  That’s ok, me too.  We’re almost there….

After the group reading for the show Long Island Medium, things continued to head south after my unexpected mini reading with Theresa as I was waiting for my friend to be interviewed with the other interviewees.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” I made eye contact and said to a man who had tragically lost his wife. And I truly meant it. Although he had to have heard my conversation with Theresa loud and clear, he, flanked by his three healthy children, looked at me, nodded, and said thank you. No “and I’m sorry for yours as well”, or “best wishes to you”, or anything. Nothing.

On the way out by the bar, I observed another woman connecting with this gentleman. Even amid this bastion of loss and pain I am still off to the side as usual, unable, through no fault of my own, to connect with anyone. Read more

When Your Trauma and Loss Doesn’t Count, Round 2 Part 1

Why this infertility survivor is NOT off to see the wizard…………

 

What? You thought I was done?

Alas. I’m an obsessive person who had a long disenfranchised grief – infused week and half. These days in my world that seems to equal a lot of words.

But buck up little campers, there are only a few days of my random escapade through disenfranchised grief central left to unfold (until I leave the house again anyway)…….

***Fellow children of the eighties, name the movie containing the illustrious quote “Buck up, little camper.”***

And now for another good thing that came out of the eighties. As I fumbled through my recent experiences, I found myself thinking, “I’m so glad this is like, a THING. What if there was even nothing to look up? I’m really grateful someone put a name to this demon.” Disenfranchised grief was first identified by Dr. Kenneth Doka in 1989, thank goodness, and he has been writing about it ever since. “I define disenfranchised grief as grief that results when a person experiences a significant loss and the resultant grief is not openly acknowledged, socially validated, or publicly mourned. In short, although the individual is experiencing a grief reaction, there is no social recognition that person has a right to grieve or a claim for social sympathy or support” (PsycINFO Database record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved). I’m looking forward to reading his second anthology on the subject, “Disenfranchised Grief: New Directions, Challenges, and Strategies for Practice”. Read more

When Your Trauma and Loss Doesn’t Count Round 1, Part 2

Why this infertility survivor is NOT off to see the wizard…..

Round 1, Part 2

Never above giving it the old college try, against my better judgment I met my group for lunch the next day. We were instructed to do so and were told that this would be comforting in the face of the subject of trauma, which is intense and requires a lot of processing.

I sat down at the end of a table of twelve people or so. Minutes later a conversation on breast versus bottle feeding erupted. Read more

When Your Trauma and Loss Doesn’t Count

Why this infertility survivor is NOT off to see the wizard

Round 1 Part 1

I have an obsession. However, this is not news. I’m a somewhat obsessive person by nature, always have been, and am no different in my infertile life. There are certain aspects of infertility that weigh on my being considerably more than others, and even provoke little social experiments. Like when to speak and when not to, how to speak up, and being honest and loving towards even my darkest of emotions along with much of the world’s seeming need to shut that down in those of us who suffer. The very pre-enlightenment period myths that circulate out there about our disease never fail to raise at least one of my eyebrows, and often call forth in me stronger reactions, being that a funny little thing has happened since 1593 called SCIENCE.

My obsession of the moment though is disenfranchised grief. I often say that, at least for me, the world not acknowledging my losses could almost rival the pain of not getting to have children itself. This truth surprises me in such a way that I don’t quite understand my own feelings, yet, some days I feel as if this disenfranchised grief thing could eat me alive. Read more

I Saw Red

Transforming my space on the journey from I wish to what is

I’m not a big crier. I mean, I cry when I’m hurt or sad and normal things like that. But it is not often my initial response to things. When it is, however, it comes out of nowhere, like a pop up thunder shower on an otherwise banal weather day.

I was making love with my husband one sweet morning a few months after we lost our children when it hit me. I realized it was over. I could barely hold it until the moment passed, upon which I burst into tears. A wistful warrior in the midst of laying down her arms but not quite sure how to do it, I sobbed to my husband, “I just really really really loved trying to make a baby with you”. Read more

They Are Not Here

The truth of losing my children to infertility

It was a sublimely gorgeous September day, the kind that is almost good enough to be summer, and definitely the kind that calls forth a gentle yearning to be somewhere other than where you are.

“This would be a great day for Greenport”, I said wistfully to my husband, as we headed out of our development to run an errand. He agreed and after a few moments of pause pointed out that he had a full staff at all of his locations that day. “Hmmm, and you know, I just shaved my legs….” I half sarcastically pointed out, somewhat startled that he actually seemed serious. About a minute later we were turned around, heading back to our house to get changed and run out for an impromptu day on Long Island’s north fork. We had quickly run through checklists in our head….businesses ok, the projects I’m working on could wait a day, and our house with no children in it would be just fine without us. Read more

Finding Space In My So What Summer

The 42 year old infertile version of “what I did on my summer vacation”

It all started with a bunch of misconceptions, which, like this post, actually stemmed from the fact that deep down I’m an optimistic person. Shhh, don’t tell, I’ve got it so well cloaked in bitter sarcastic cynicism which I immaturely and openly blame on the fact that I’m from Massachusetts and have a Capricorn rising sign. Way to own it, I know.

When I started to see that assisted reproductive technology was going to fail us, I speculated a lot of things. Not so smart in a way, since “post ART failing” life is scriptless, not openly acknowledged by society, a bastion of extreme emotions, and given that the journeys vary greatly from individual to individual in this phase. But it is human nature to speculate, and if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that I’m only human. Read more