Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Positive Polly Doesn't Live Here Anymore

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Last night, I went to the support group (hereinafter “group”) held at my infertility center for the first time since November.  I have been on a hiatus because I had already befriended most of the group members during the last two years, and I had watched as, one-by-one, they graduated out of the group when the stork visited each of their houses.  I just didn’t feel like I could handle watching another “class” of IF gals move on in their journey, while I sat watching from the support group sofa.

But, for whatever reason, I decided to try going to group again…last night.  I’m glad I went.  It was nice to be in a supportive environment.  However, everyone at the group was new, except for my one friend (left behind from the second round of group’ers that got pregnant…we’ll call her “Patience”).  Patience has had four miscarriages in a row and, somehow, she is still standing and still getting her butt to group each month.  Patience deemed us the “senior members,” at the beginning of the meeting.  We were the only two veteran IF gals.  I think the title made me feel a little conflicted.  You never want to be the “senior member” in an IF group.  You want to be a “graduate.”  But, there is also a weird sense of respect that goes along with “senior membership” status.  You almost wear it as a badge of honor…something to prove how much you have survived…a testament to your strength and resiliency. 

Newbies looked to Patience and I for guidance last night, and our words carried a lot of weight, so we had to choose our words carefully.  I really censored a lot of what I said and what I shared because I was trying not to be too negative, given the crowd.  There were so many women there who had only just received their infertility diagnosis, or had just survived their first miscarriage.  They were all so hopeful that this was going to be a very short journey for them.  They all truly believe that they will get pregnant this month (or their next cycle) and will leave all of this sadness behind them.  And some of them will be right…their journeys will be short…but most of them will be wrong.  They don’t yet realize that they are in a marathon, not a sprint.  How do you tell someone to prepare themselves for the worst without quashing their hope?  As the group went on, you could see that a couple of women, frequently the ones who had suffered losses, exhibited signs of cracks in the hard exterior of hopefulness they’ve cloaked themselves in to get through the awfulness.  I didn’t want to be responsible for making those cracks deeper…but I also don’t want to mislead anyone.  Patience and I worked had to be realistic, discussing ways to prepare emotionally for the possibility that the journey may take longer than anticipated.  But we also tried to remind them that a lot of women had graduated from the group and a lot of women just need a little help to get pregnant.  There is a reason there are only a couple of senior members.  We are an anomaly.

As I watched the effect that our words had on the newbies, I was saddened.  I heard the contrast between my outlook and theirs.  They are all a “Postive Polly,” certain that sunshine and rainbows and lots of babies are right around the corner…waiting for them to round the bend and trip into their “happily ever after.”  I’ve become a “Negative Nelly.”  I don’t believe there are rainbows and sunshine around the corner.  In fact, when I get to a corner, I peek around it to make sure I’m not walking into a wall of heartache and emotional devastation.  I’m not excitedly running to see what comes next.  I’m standing back and wondering if it is even worth taking another step.  This journey has been too long, already.  Please let it be over soon…so I can go back to being Polly.


Christina said...

I'm so sorry you are feeling like a Nelly. I just had to congratulate though on dealing with the new IFers in the group. You are absolutely right that, while not a badge anyone would want to wear, it is a testament to your strength and resiliency, showing just how much of a survivor and courageous woman you are.

If I was in your group, I would greatly have appreciated a bit more of the honest how it is than a sugar coating. The rainbows and butterflies make the disappointment of things much greater than if the negative outcomes were prepared for as well.

I hope you can feel like a Polly very soon too!

China Doll said...

Maybe it's not that you're negative.. more that you have been through more than most of these women and you know how hard the journey can be. But you're stronger because of that too.. I hope the journey is over soon and a new, happier one is beginning xx

New Year Mum said...

I agree with China Doll... I've never found you to be negative - you're realistic and I think it was right of you to share with them how long and difficult this journey can be. I wish someone had told me that a year ago... then I may not have fallen in the heap that I did at the end of last year. You're very brave and determined... one day you might be a Polly again, but I'm not sure that Polly-Anna attitudes are helpful in dealing with IF and IVF - your attitude is much more healthy, honest and compassionate. Thinking of you along the way xoxo