Maybe it doesn’t hurt everyone around us but I am beginning to clearly see how and when it is effecting the people in my world. I am in a new phase of my IF these days which is leading me down an interesting path.
The other day I took my mother to get some of her blood work done. As she sits down in the “torture chair” to get her blood drawn she makes a comment along the lines of “Ok honey, she is about to get the needle out, don’t look. You can step outside if you need to”. No worries, this comment doesn’t offend me in any way because before IF I was TERRIFIED of needles. I mean it was horrible. I responded to her with “Oh mother, I’m infertile! Needles are as much a part of my life as breathing is these days. I’ll be ok. Thanks though.”. So, personally it felt great to actually say something like that instead of just thinking it and trying to fight back tears at the same time, which is what I used to do. It was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders just from being able to joke about my struggles. I have always been a pretty sarcastic kinda gal so it also felt a little like getting back to the old me, before my diagnosis. But…..
I should have taken a picture of their faces! The phlebotomist and my mother both stared at me in this -is she kidding, do we laugh, oh God this is awkward- kind of way. I actually felt sorry for them for a second. I quickly changed the subject and the tension evaporated. In the end I was still proud of myself. That probably sounds weird to those of you who have never met me in person or didn’t know me before IF. It was like the old me popped in for a second just to be funny, or try to be. It wasn’t funny to them but it was funny to me and in addition…it was true!
That incident sent my brain in several directions. One of the first things that crossed my mind is my loved ones have a “process” too when it comes to my IF. I mean, clearly my mother isn’t at the “joking about it” phase yet even if I am. The lesson I learned from that blood draw is that it is up to me to set the tone. It is my responsibility to let my loved ones know what kind of day I am having. Maybe if my hormones were at a different level that day I wouldn’t have dared joke out loud. Maybe I wouldn’t have even joked silently. But it is my job to communicate these things with them. I’m sure they have no idea what to- and not to- say around me anymore. If I’m being honest, I can be pretty contradicting about this journey. On one hand I am not at all excited about my nephew and his girlfriend having baby number 2! But when my SIL called to inform me of the surprise baby shower she said “Of course no one will be upset if you don’t go, I just didn’t want you to be left out, just in case you do want to be there.”, I thanked her for calling me. I probably WOULD have felt very left out. I can hear myself saying to PC “Why am I not even invited? They don’t want to take a chance that the crazy infertile will somehow ruin the party? All of a sudden it’s not even worth a shot? They can’t just assume they know what I want!”. I can’t expect them to know how to handle a situation they have never been in and don’t deal with on a daily basis. I can, however, help set the tone. I can let them know when I am having a good day and when I am having a bad day.
After that thought, I started thinking about how I have focused on the people who have reacted poorly to my struggles and not those who are still standing after the smoke has started to clear. I have spent so much time complaining about my friends/family who were mad that I didn’t go to this or that, or the bestie that is mad that I don’t visit or call enough. Why did I spend so much time caring about those people when they obviously didn’t truly care about me? Now that I am in the midst of crawling out of my own internal pity party, I realize there are still people standing here right next to me. I am so lucky to have them in my life. And to think they are the ones that had to listen to me whine about the ones who weren’t there for me.
So to all of you, in real life and online, who have been so kind and supportive I say Thank you so very much! I appreciate every single one of you, who I can now see, are still standing here with me while the smoke starts to clear.
Much Love To All.