Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't Ignore Secondary Trauma

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Their theme this year is Don't Ignore Infertility. We are charged with starting with "Don't Ignore..." and choosing an aspect of Infertility to tackle. Go HERE for more information or to participate.

I have a friend, well she and her husband are our friends. They're a funny, energetic couple who are successful in their professional lives and in their marriage. They love each other, y'all. Seriously, Love with a capital L. It took them a long time to decide that they wanted to try to have babies (or rather a baby, singular). But they did. And then Infertility reared her ugly face.

And, for some reason, this has hit me really hard. I've watched other friends dealing with infertility. Hell, I've lived with my own for almost 10 years. But, for some reason, seeing these particular funny, dear friends starting to sift through infertility has hit me differently. Seeing these two people who took such care in deciding whether they "should" be parents, who will be the most loving, hilarious (in good way!) brilliant parents and will teach their children to care for others and just be good people, to see them struggle to get there is so upsetting for me.

Now, I absolutely have faith that they will make it through this and will have a sweet baby on the other side. But I so wish there wasn't this awful path on the way to that baby. I know their faith and the strength of their relationship will get them through through this ordeal. I just wish they could be spared the pain. While I see them dealing with it gracefully, I'm kind of a mess at times.

I wish I could articulate the reasons why their struggle is so upsetting to me. Like, even to myself I wish I could articulate it. I guess it comes down to secondary trauma, or even PTSD. Seeing this friend - for some reason - dealing with her own infertility, brings up all those same feelings for me. It's a re-traumatizing of sorts, I suppose.

I have always been sensitive to others' pain. Now, I don't mean that in a "hey look at me, I think about other people all the time" kind of way". I mean it in a "if I see you crying and you're in pain, I'll probably start to cry, too" kind of a way. I'm pretty sure I have my mom to blame for this.

At any rate, I think there are times when I can pretend that my own pain with IF is gone. That I've dealt with it and am okay. And I suppose for the most part that's true. But, when seeing other people, especially dear friends, head down this same road, it hits me in the gut again, and I am transported back to that time when the IF pain was constant and frequently overwhelming.

And so, the thing that I don't want people to ignore about IF is that it doesn't just go away. It's something we carry with us. Something that we can't just forget about. Something we can't just let go of. Just ignore. Just because we have children. It's still there.

Today's Lesson: Infertility sucks. It changes your path in life, for good in some ways, not so much in others. And it doesn't just go away when parenthood is achieved.  Hit up these sites for more information about infertility in general, and NIAW week specifically.


Anonymous said...

This is so true. Whilst suffering my IF daily I haven't yet had to see a friend go through this. However I have been though a divorce and I thought i had dealt with all that pain. Now my sister is going through one and things I thought were gone have resurfaced in me. It also doesn't help that my ex now has a baby with his new wife, ouch!
happy ICLW!

Elizabeth said...

You know, when we were first diagnosed with infertility I wanted it to be over as soon as possible so we could move on with our lives and forget about this horrible struggle. But, by now I have come to the place where I know that no matter what happens it will never go away. It's a part of who I am and there will be reminders of it for the rest of my life. I hope your friends will be able to come through soon from their struggle. You're a very, very good friend for being so empathetic and sympathetic to them!

Sharla said...

I find for myself that I have an easier time crying about things as they relate to other people than I do when going through the same things myself. And when I do cry for them, it is therapeutic for me. But infertility is rough and raw and even though I rarely think of it as it pertains to me, I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Thanks for linking to A Real Adoption Blog Hop!

Anonymous said...

I agree with this completely. Even though I am a parent now, I never look at pregnancies the same way, I'm always thinking "what if" somebody else is going through this and I just don't know it, and it hits hard when I hear about rough spots for others going through infertility. It becomes part of who you are forever. I'm just grateful that it's made me more thoughtful about not only the infertility struggles of others, but all those challenges that we don't always know are happening.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this so much. Even though I am still battling infertility in our family building, I know that it will NEVER go away. I'll never get to be a 'fertile' person due to our diagnosis and it sucks. It will always suck. Just because we move on to a different stage in life doens't mean it is gone.

Anonymous said...

You're right. Infertility doesn't go away after parenthood. I'm here from ICLW #92.
I blog for my IVF docs at Long Island IVF so I can share my stories. I'm hoping ICLW and NIAW can help me find new blogs and spread the word about LIIVF's free Micro-IVF cycle contest kicking off this week. Details for those interested are on the blog or Long Island IVF's FB page

St Elsewhere said...

I like the fact that you are so sensitive.

The truth is I haven't seen at such a close angle such a struggle with any friend. Someone I know had to resort to ICSI, but their reasons are beyond-mention here.



Gracelyn Zegarelli said...

What a lovely post. I'm here from the Resolve website (#42) and want to thank you for sharing your story with us. :)

JE Melton said...

So I cried the first time I read this, and I really thought I could re-read without crying again. Oh well. Thank you so much for being open to feeling the hurt again. Your wisdom and experience and willingness to lend an ear in spite of the hurt are so very much appreciated.

KDavid said...

I think that not to ignore your emotions is good advice in most life situations, particularly difficult when the rest of the world would prefer that your unpleasant emotions would just disappear.