Tuesday, January 25, 2011

There Lived A Beautiful Princess (Part 2) - Shame and Self-Loathing

I was thinking a lot about what I discussed yesterday…how infertility has had such a profound effect on my weight and, thus, my outward appearance.  But thinking about that made me realize that infertility has had an even more profound effect on my view of my own inner-beauty.  I hear my fertility friends say all of the time that they hate what they are going through, but looking back, they can see how they have become such better people because of the hardships.  I wish I felt that way.  I think infertility has made me stronger, but when I look in the mirror and compare who I am today with who I was a few years ago, I’m sad at what I’ve lost and what it has been replaced with.

My infertility issues are largely due to my endometriosis and premature ovarian failure.  My husband has a contributing factor too, but his issue is taken care of with the ICSI process, so at this point, it’s my limitations that are causing us to stumble.  My husband says he doesn’t blame me and that it is not my fault that my ovaries aren’t doing what we want them to.  I’m so glad that he says that, but I secretly don’t believe him.  I hope I am just projecting my own insecurities onto him, but how could he not be just a little upset with me?  Being a father is the most important thing in the world to him and, albeit unintentionally, I am standing in the way of his dream coming true.

I know that our struggle is not “my fault.”  I can say that over and over and know that it is true…but it doesn’t feel true.  I feel so ashamed that I can’t get pregnant, that my ovaries don’t produce any quality eggs, and that I can’t seem to get an embryo to stick.  I try to hide these feelings, but my shame is so evident, the last time my RE cancelled my IVF cycle for lack of response, he spent a half hour with me, in a private room, telling me over and over that it was not my fault that we had to cancel and that I deserve to be a mother.  He reminded me that I have tried everything that anyone could ask of me – acupuncture, yoga, meditation, supplements, maya abdominal massage, huge dosages of multiple stimulating  medications, every different IVF protocol you can imagine -  and no one can ever say that my lack of getting pregnant is due to any lack of trying on my part.  I responded “I know” and plastered a fake smile on my face, but I walked out of the office wanting to be invisible and feeling like an utter and complete failure.

I am a person who needs order and control in my world, so when I am out of control of something, I start questioning why and trying to find a way to make things go the way I think they should.  In the case of infertility, the questioning is done not being done in the usual logical and productive way that I approach other problems.  Instead, I jump straight to negative, disjointed, unproductive conversation with myself.  For example, I frequently have the following thoughts -

Why I can’t be a mother…is it because I’m too selfish?  After all, I like to take naps on the weekends and I get grumpy when something wakes me up too early in the morning.  Maybe I’m not ready for a baby if I can’t deal with sleep deprivation.  Or maybe I can’t get pregnant because I am going to be a terrible mother.  To say that my childhood was less than ideal would be the understatement of the century.  So what if I’m wrong in my belief that those experiences will make me a great mother because I know what not to do?  What if I will be worse than my mother was?  After all, she’s had at least twelve pregnancies in her lifetime and I can’t even have one.  Or maybe I can’t get pregnant because I work to much…or because when I was young I said a hundred times that I wanted to be a “career woman” and never get saddled down with a husband and kids.  Maybe I asked for this and there is no taking it back.

This is the internal dialogue that haunts me if I don’t squash it.  I don’t feel like a beautiful princess and I don’t know if I will again until, one way or another, this infertility journey comes to an end.  I feel like there is this piece of me that just hates me and is always there, waiting to sabotage my attempts at maintaining balance and some degree of happiness during this journey.  It is always trying to steal away the self esteem that I have managed to hold onto throughout the heartache of the last three years.  I’m tired of saying “I’m sorry” incessantly, to everyone, for everything.  It’s become a joke to my friends because I do it so often.  I tell them that it is a nervous habit, but I was a psychology major in college…I know that it is an OBVIOUS sign of repressed self-loathing and shame. 

Like most of the issues that I am struggling with during this journey, I’m not sure how to fix my self-image.  For now, all I can do is try to listen to that other angelic voice that is also a part of me (not in the multiple personality disorder kind of way).  She says to shake it off…try to believe my friends when they tell me that infertility doesn’t make me any less of a person…try to acknowledge the good things I am able to do for others because of my experiences…try to believe that I will make an awesome Mom someday and that I deserve that gift as much as the next person…and have faith that some day I can tell that little self-destructive voice inside of me to “shove it” when I finally come out the other side of all of this. 


Lindsey said...

Another endo girl here, just stumbled on to your blog and love it! Every thing I've read so far I've thought or done at one time or another. I'll be following for sure! I also blog over at adventuresofendointhearctic.blogspot.com

Christina said...

Just have to say that I love the name of your blog. Sorry to hear your struggle for a baby has been so long! I hope those 2 lines are in your near future!

Princess Wahna Bea Mama said...

Thanks, ladies. I really appreciate the encouragement.

Anonymous said...

I found you through LFCA. I'm sorry to hear about your struggles. It is hard to keep the good mood and positive thoughts up. it takes a lot of effort and time to find a good balance in all this. Best wishes.

S said...

I recently found your blog, so I hope you don't mind the late comment on this post.

Much of what you wrote here resonated with me. One of the issues I worked on a lot in counseling was letting go of the guilt I feel at preventing my husband from being a father (and his parents from being grandparents, as he is an only child). We are unexplained, and all his semen analyses have been normal, so I really am The One with The Problem. I'm getting better at letting go of the self-blame, but it's hard.

I also relate to the control thing. I'm not a "let go and it'll happen" kind of person; I'm a "take the bull by the horns" kind of person. That attitude has gotten me pretty far in life but has had zero effect on getting us a baby. I think people who are used to working hard and seeing that hard work rewarded find infertility and repeated conception failures especially difficult.

I hope this DE cycle is "it" for you. I will be following along with interest.

Anonymous said...

I just got back from a DE transfer & came accross your blog...It made me feel better after reading.....will be continuing on and wishing you well on your journey!