siblings, my in-laws, my friends, my colleagues?
Infertility makes me grumpy, depressed, jealous, ... all sorts of
traits I don't prize in others nor in myself.
The birth of my daughter, after years of treatment, lifted my spirits
enormously ... until we decided to start trying again. It all came
Depression makes me withdraw from people. The same with jealousy.
- No, I don't want to go to another baptism - another baby conceived AND born while we were trying.
- No, I don't want to attend another nephew's or niece's birthday part - we could have had a child that age, or that age, or that age, if only.
- No, I don't want to discuss pregnancy discomforts with pregnant colleague 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5.
Jealousy eclipses empathy, at least as a first knee-jerk reaction.
- Sure, it's a pity she's on bedrest from the second trimester, at least she has a reason to be on bedrest.
- So you're worried you may be pregnant again, but you would have wanted a little more space between your kids. Well boohoo.
Grumpiness casts a shadow over my relationship with my husband.
- No, I'm not in the mood tonight, nor was I last night, or the night before that. I can't remember when I last was in the mood, nor can I imagine ever being in the mood again.
- Don't you dare complain about the inconvenience ART causes you, you only have to sacrifice one single day for an entire cycle of treatment.
- If your not asking how I'm doing under the treatment, I'm sure not going to tell you on my own.
Being confronted with my own weaknesses in the face of adversity has - I believe - given me more understanding for those of others in facing their adversity. What if infertility has been an intensive course in empathy? Both giving and receiving empathy, with all it's imperfections. What I've learned is that the effort you put into truly trying to understand the other's position goes a long way into being truly supportive, even if the words that come out aren't perfect.
Now all I have to do is put this in practice, to rebuild the relationships damaged by depression, grumpiness and jealousy.
This week Resolve (U.S. infertility association) organizes National
Infertility Awareness Week, see http://www.resolve.org/takecharge
For basic information about infertility, see
Mel enlisted the blogging community to give an insight in the various
ways infertility impacts people's lives, expressed so aptly by the two
words "what if?".