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Monday, February 8, 2010

From My Heart To Yours

There is something I think I've been needing to address on this blog for a while now, even since before we found out about pregnancy #7. A comment from a friend on my last post reminded me that now may be the best time. (Thank you, Kathryn, for your comment and for your honesty.)

Here is the part of Kathryn's comment that I want to address:

I think you will understand, too, when i say i'm excited & hopeful for you. With every cell in me i deeply desire that this child continues to grow & bless your family. But i'm also struggling with the sadness that my husband & i will never have this. You know i love you & deeply hope & pray for your blessing, but i may be silent.

To Kathryn and to everyone else who may feel this way -- I get it. I really do. I know that it's a risk when you form relationships through blogging with other women who wish to have children. I know what it's like to feel that you are the last one standing, waiting for something that you fear will never come. It is hard, even though you care deeply for your friends and want to see them happy. Even though you've prayed your heart out for them to have their dream fulfilled, it still stings a bit when they move forward with that dream and you don't.

At this point in my life, having been married since I was 21 and now at the age of 33, my husband and I have seen all of our friends have children while we waited and hoped. We love our friends' kids, and we have shared in their joy over the years with each new baby. But still we were sad as each year our own babies didn't make it. Each time we thought it would be our turn and each time we were sorely disappointed. One of my fears when I started blogging (being totally honest here) was that again we'd meet a whole new crop of friends and have to stand on the sidelines while everyone else welcomed their miracles. And to tell you the truth, in the long run, it hasn't been as hard as I expected. That's because I've found that when I really let myself get invested, when I truly open my heart to care for other women who are hurting and struggling with infertility and loss, I can truly rejoice with them when they do succeed! After all of the hurt and loss that I've experienced, I find that I share in the excitement and the anxiety each time someone has a positive pregnancy test. I pull for those precious babies to make it, against all odds and statistics. My desire to see a baby live and grow is stronger than whatever sadness I may feel for myself. I finally learned that when someone else has a baby it doesn't lessen my own chances, and it's not a race to see who can get there first. I now see the value of not comparing my life to the lives of others. (Please note that these are things that I have learned for me personally, and not things that I'm suggesting that any of you should learn!)

And I know, sometimes you have days where it seems that everywhere you turn someone else is pregnant. I know that's not easy, especially if you've had to face the possibility of a future with no children. Sometimes it's hard when an infertility blog becomes strictly a pregnancy blog and, try as you might, you simply can't relate to anything anymore. You feel that your "Congratulations!" and "I'm so happy for you!" may begin to fall flat after a while, because even though you are being 100% genuine, it's really all you know to say. And it feels strange because you consider that person your friend, and of course you still do, but you simply don't feel like you fit in with the new Mommy Blog format and comments. I have been there before, and in most cases I've decided that the friendship is important enough to me to continue to follow and look for opportunities to show support when I can. New mothers definitely need support and prayers, too! Before long I notice that it's not that hard anymore, and I find myself learning about something I hope to do myself someday.

With that being said, I firmly believe that the attitude and demeanor of the blog writer is key. I look for and cling to those who are still going to be sensitive to bloggers like me. I appreciate those who refuse to forget what it felt like when they were where I am. Those bloggers make it easy to continue to follow them well into motherhood! The same is true for me in real life. There is nothing more off-putting than having a friend in real life who has been through infertility and loss, who stood beside you and walked through the valley with you, and then they forget all about you and your sad circumstances after they have children. You never hear from them and they avoid talking about "your problem" like the plague. It hurts. I can never understand how they can seem to forget what it was like, yet sometimes I realize that it must be pretty freeing to escape the jaws of infertility. Maybe they choose not to look back, and they just no longer see us trapped in this quicksand. But oh how I cherish my friends who won't let pregnancy and motherhood affect the bond that we have with one another. Sure, their lives are different and I do want to be involved with that new aspect, but they are still the same person with all the same things I loved about them in the first place. I love friends like that.

It seems that I had way more to say about this subject than I thought! Thanks for hanging in there for this long. I'm just now getting to it, but here is my main point: I feel with absolute certainty that I have a duty, a responsibility, and a ministry to people who have been through loss. My experience has changed my perspective and my outlook forever. After giving a decade of my life (involuntarily) to infertility and miscarriage, how could I simply forget where I've been and what I've lost?

What I truly want is to encourage others who have been hurt the way I've been hurt. Whether I beat this thing or not, whether this current pregnancy actually works for us or not, I'm not abandoning that ministry. I finally feel like I have a purpose in all of this: I don't want to miss an opportunity to tell someone that I understand the pain of miscarriage that they are feeling, that they are not alone, and that it's not their fault. I know what waiting feels like, and I know what being left behind feels like. I understand how you can at the same time be ecstatic for your pregnant friend and yet feel devastated for yourself.

I never want this blog to make anyone feel hopeless about their own situation. I hope that, if I beat infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, it might encourage others who didn't think they had a chance after six losses. I never started this blog to record every pregnancy symptom or month-by-month photos of a growing belly. I'm not criticizing those who do that, but I just know that this blog isn't the place for those things. I never want to cause extra pain to my sweet friends who are still waiting, and especially those for whom having a baby is no longer an option. That's why I don't share ultrasound photos, and that's why I won't post pictures of a pregnant belly or even a positive pregnancy test.

But what I will do is let you know our news, and I'll let you know whether I'm feeling hopeful, excited, uncertain, or terrified. And I'll keep praying for you and asking for your prayers as well. Please know that I understand if reading about a pregnancy is too much for you right now. I'd be sad to lose your comments and insights, but I completely understand if you can't find the words to say and don't wish to comment. Please know, though, that your comments are always welcome here, and I will make every effort to be sensitive to what you're going through.

And I'll make you this promise: I will never forget what it was like and where I've been. And I will never, ever stop praying for you.

31 comments:

Sharon said...

Very well said Stacey! I couldn't agree with you more. And as someone who has moved on from loss and infertility to new motherhood, I really need to say, I can't see how any one can forget. The pain of my journey is burned into my memory forever. I will never forget where I came from and I will always be there for those who are still battling through infertility. Like you, I choose to use my story as one of hope and inspiration to others and not to hurt or belittle.
Having said that, you are such a kind soul, I cannot imagine anyone feeling that you were trying to hurt them.

twondra said...

Love you sweetie. You're always thinking of others. You're an amazing person and friend. ((HUGS))

Kate said...

What a beautiful post, Stacey. You inspire me.

~ Katie ~ said...

Well done! I must admit, that if you had announced that you were pregnant the 6 months after my hysterectomy, I would probably be sad and happy for you...and cry ALOT! But now that I have had time to adjust (for the most part) I can say I am TOTALLY happy for you. God has a great plan for you and I think part of that is knowing what it's like on both sides of the coin- well, in your case- the triangle. Loss, Infertility, Life. I'm looking on the bright side that this is all going to end good for you :)

waiting and wishing said...

Great post! As someone who is still fighting with infertility, it is good to see that someone who has had to fight so hard is finally making huge strides towards motherhood! It gives me hope in the midst of the painful stuggle. Thank you for sharing all that you've learned on your journey- it is a good reminder while I wait.

Idgie said...

What a beautiful post. You are such a sweet, caring, insightful woman.
I have never been to "the other side" yet, having never been pregnant, however, if I do get there, I hope that I am as sensitive as you have been.
Continued prayers for you and this little one, and for your continued ministry.

Hope in Virginia said...

Great post and really expresses sentiments that so, so many of us feel. Many of us have been on both sides - the infertile without child and the infertile who, by the grace of God, is finally pregnant. Emotions run wild on both sides.

Jennifer said...

I totally agree! Being a person still going through all the infertility stuff, I can't help but be disappointed that it's not me who announces her pregnancy....but I am soooo happy for everyone else that does. One of my best friends told me she was pregnant after trying for just a month. She was sweet about telling me and told me in private. Of course I was thrilled for her and her husband. They will be amazing parents. I just want that too. Hope that makes sense. Great post!

Melody said...

This is a beautiful post that reflects who you are at your core, Stacey. I know you put prayer into this post and I love your sensitivity and gentle candor. I don't doubt for one second that you will ever waste your experiences in loss for the cause of Christ. You will not be one to launch forward with the "new day" determined to forget the painful days behind. You are precious!

Kathryn said...

Thank you. You are sweet, beyond that, you have such a gentle spirit.

I knew you would understand. It is not that i want to stop commenting, but i may not have words to say. But i will be here. Praying.

Andrea said...

Stacey,

Beautifully written and so heart felt. You are so thoughtful and caring of others and handled this topic with such integrity. I relate closely to you saying "it's not a race" And, you saing you've learned not to compare yourself to others. We all walk a different journey don't we.

Just this week I shared your story with a dear friend and shared the JOY that I felt for you. I'm so happy that its happening for someone :) Your story gives me great hope and you inspire me in so many ways. I'll be praying for you and your wee one.

As for "being silent", that is a result of being tired, worn down and exhausted by this process. It's unfortunate...my heart goes out to her.

Keep on blogging and keep being exactly who you are...wonderful, compassionate, sweet and funny you!

HUGS and I'll be following your Journey to success! You deserve this happiness...all of it!
xoxo

Baby On Mind said...

Thank you for a great post. Yes, I hope that one day I too will be able to experience of being pregnant and experience the joys of motherhood. And I hope that I will never forget with it was/is like to be an infertile. I truly believe that going through this unwanted journey of infertility has made me who I am today, an it will always be a part of me, even when I do have babies of my own. I pray that I will be as sensitive to others as I wish others will be to be now.

Jenn said...

I always enjoy reading your posts because I love & care about you. I hope I am not out of place or wrong or insensitive in saying this but I did have to disagree with one comment you made. When you talked about not posting pics of ultrasounds, a growing belly or pregnancy tests, I don't think you would be "wrong" in doing so. I figure you are sparing feelings but by all means, I think you are "entitled" to be excited with your progress & shouldn't have to hold anything back that you want to share! And with all the wonderful friends you know and have met through your blog, just from what I gather reading their comments, I think they would all be thrilled for you too!

Sunny said...

Stacey, oh Stacey, how I wish you didn't even have to post that. Yet, I know there were some that needed it. It's amazing how life changes us over time and we're all in our own places. There used to be a time where the site of a pregnant woman would send me into the miserables, but now, it's funny because I automatically think, "I wonder if she's a surrogate and is helping someone?" haha! Isn't it funny how perspectives can change?! So, now, with that perspective, it actually gives me hope & joy.

p.s. I'd love to see your u/s! Email me. ;)

Anonymous said...

Stacey, you are the REAL DEAL. One in a million. Man, this kid is going to have the most awesome parents.
-Faith

Michelle said...

Great post! I usuallu choose to stay as well because I feel I have formed friendships here and I want to show support when I can. although, there may be times when I just do not know what to say or I am having a bad day and therefore will be silent but for the most part I will be there.

I was just joking with my hubby saying that I think I may be good luck for infertility blogs because it seems when I start reading regularly everyone seems to get pregnant. If you looka t my blog roll most are pregnant or have had there baby. I am truly happy for each and everyone and for me it gives me tremendous hope. Especially someone who has had the losses like i have had, such as you, it makes me realize it is possible. Therefore I root you on and hope and pray that you make it. If you can then so can I.

((HUGS))

Stacey said...

@Jenn, it's definitely okay for you to disagree with me! Just for clarification, though, I want it to be known that I don't feel I'm missing out on anything by making the decision not to share certain things on the blog. I don't think that doing that is ever "wrong." It's a decision I made long ago for this particular blog and I'm totally comfortable with it.

And certainly, if anyone wants to see or know any information you don't get on the blog, just e-mail me and I'll make it up to you!

Tanner's said...

Stace-
How I love you, and how I love your heart! I so "get" your heart more the words could ever say! So thankful God allowed our paths to cross! Praying daily for you!
B

Connie said...

I love you, Precious Girl! Beautifully written as usual! XOXO

Amber said...

what a wonderful post and so very true:) Congrats on your pg!

Noelle said...

That was a wonderful post. I think that you are a great minister to those who have experienced loss. I think that your post was very sweet and kind and made people feel good.

just me, dawn said...

You did a great job of putting this post into words. While much of my blog has become about pregnancy and even teh every other week updates, I hope that I have never caused pain. I guess I have always hoped that my blog makes people realize that even those of us who suffer from losses and IF, we can have wonderful pregnancies, and can treasure every day through the pain and fear....you must make your blog what works for you, but I know whatever you choose to share or not to share, you will not wish to or knowlingly hurt anyone.
praying for you and yours :)

Stacey said...

Thanks, Dawn. I truly believe that everyone can and should feel free to post anything they want on their own blogs! I am never offended by what I see on pregnancy blogs, but sometimes a few of them have been more than I could handle at certain times. I agree that it's great to show that you can enjoy your pregnancy and not be preoccupied by fear of what could go wrong -- that's definitely a place where I hope to find myself soon! Thanks for your feedback. I've always found your blog to be beautiful.

Life In Mazes said...

Your beautiful spirit comes shining through in this post and please always know that I am rejoicing with you both!

Sharon said...

Wow, you amaze me! Those are definitely "words fitly spoken."

just me, dawn said...

Thanks Stacey! I was trying to comment to you without sounding too defensive, but I probably sounded a little :)
I just hope that all of us can trasure the moments and I know when I was still trying and having my losses, I needed to see that things could be good and that there was hope....those pregnancy blogs really hurt somedays but made me realize it was possible. so I hope to share the joy (along with the fear) you feel as your journey progresses :)

Andi said...

I love you for your sensivity!

DeniFay said...

Stacey,

I think you might have been able to tell by my post today that I was struggling too with the announcements and pictures and such. I feel so sad for people who aren't expecting (in any way), but I'm with you in the fact that I will NEVER forget what I've been through, am still going through, and hope to be in your shoes and overcome it one day! You are beautiful and amazing and someone else said it, your baby is lucky to have such amazing parents! Bless you sweetheart!

beth ewing said...

very well written. i could relate to every word you wrote. as weird as it sounds, sometimes it's hard to be on the other side of things and be the pregnant one....b/c we know how much that can hurt the ones we love. it's hard to be joyful but be sensitive, but i'm sure you'll do an amazing job.

TRS said...

Stacy - you are an incredibly feeling, and compassionate person.

I too hope you will feel free to post any pictures you want as your heart desires. (and if I'm ever anywhere near you I'd love to take maternity pics for you!!)

you said:
"and then they forget all about you and your sad circumstances after they have children. You never hear from them and they avoid talking about "your problem" like the plague. It hurts. I can never understand how they can seem to forget what it was like, yet sometimes I realize that it must be pretty freeing to escape the jaws of infertility."

That's how it feels when your friends get married and start families too. They forget that they were ever as lonely as I still am. That they actively sought for a life mate. Funny how time sanitizes that for wives - they don't remember looking - they think he just 'appeared'. it gets lonely on the single side of things when your friends can't relate to you any more. Especially as I reach middle age (40 in june). But SOME friends are friends through and through.

So I just wanted to tell you that that is how I can relate. I vow to always watch out and care for single people - no matter what joys enter my life.


PS. Michelle, will you start reading my blog - so that your luck can transfer to finding me my hubby?!!!!

Renovation Girl said...

I'm with Sharon...I don't know how you ever forget...perhaps you choose to ignore the past, but you never, ever forget the potential of never achieving the dream of having a baby. I desperately try to remember that when I complain about Builder Boy...sometimes I do better than other times.