Thursday, May 15, 2008

Big Fat Tears

Hurt is like a big wave washing over me tonight. It came out of nowhere and has me crying nonstop--the big fat slow-rolling type of tears crying. I made the mistake of checking out the IF Grads section of an online board I'm part of. I like to check in on the women there when I'm in a good place emotionally; I've known many of them a long time and I wish them only happiness. I felt like I was doing well enough to handle it. I guess I was wrong. Now I can't stop imagining being a rightful member of that group. Talk of NT scans, scheduling ultrasounds, celebrating my last PIO shot, dealing with morning sickness, deciding whether to rent a doppler, calculating my due date, all the rituals of pregnancy-I so long to be a part of that. I just feel so empty and sad.

I keep trying to pinpoint a reason for feeling this way at this moment in time. I thought I was doing so well with ending our efforts for a biological child and now I'm falling apart. In my mind, I've gone through all the possible reasons that I'm having such a hard time tonight: it's been a week since our BFN; our social worker just told us we probably can't take our required adoption classes until the fall; DH and I are starting to spend weekends in NH again and I was so sure that the next summer I was up there I would be pregnant; I got a letter from my health insurer reminding me yet again that they only approved me for one IVF cycle (obviously the RE's office hasn't billed them yet).

But I think I'm just wasting my time trying to find a reason. Grief is grief. It doesn't follow a straight line and it often shows up unexpectedly. There is no logic to it. My only personal experience with grief is the loss of my grandparents. My grandmother died when I was 4 years old and my grandfather died when I was 16. That was 34 and 22 years ago, respectively, and I still miss them, sometimes at the most surprising times. I missed them at my wedding of course, but I also miss them when I see an elderly couple holding hands in the mall. I remember the intensity of the emotions I felt when I first lost each of my grandparents. Now when I miss them, it feels more like a dull ache than a sharp pain but it's still feels like something. That's another thing I've learned about grief: it doesn't end, but it does get less intense with time.

I know losing a flesh and blood person isn't the same as what DH and I are experiencing. But we are losing the biological children we will never get to have together, our might-have-been children. I used to wonder if my Irish ancestry and DH's red highlights would bring us a redhead-- now I'll never know. I wondered if our biological child would be an early bird like DH or a night owl like me--I'll never know. I wondered if our biological child would have his long classic nose or my button one--I'll never know. Would our child blush easily like me? Have DH's smile, including the dimples? Inherit a thick head of hair from both of us? I'll never know. Never.

I plan to let myself mourn my might-have-been children tonight. I worry that this implies that I'll love my meant-to-be children less, but I don't believe that. I think that I need to let go of what might have been in order to fully embrace what's meant to be. This grief I feel is part of that letting go. I know that I'll be a mom through adoption, and I will love my children with all my heart. My life will hold joy again in the future. But that doesn't mean it isn't hard to let go or that it doesn't hurt like hell right now.


journey to junior said...

i've heard from people who have been here that the grief you have for the loss of having biological children is completely separate from the love you have from your meant-to-be children. they exist in different spheres and do not overlap.

you owe yourself this time to grieve.

big fat hugs to you and DH.

Dreams Come True said...

Sending big hugs as you mourn your loss of what could have been.

Lost in Space said...

Karen, I am crying reading your post. I just want to jump through the screen and give you a giant hug.

I am so sorry you are in a waiting period for the adoption class. You have waited much too long for this already.

From my experience with grief, I have learned that we have absolutely no control. Go with it and feel every bit of it as it comes. There is no time-frame on this and don't let anyone ever tell you that you should be "over this by now".

Your thoughts are completely normal to me. Although we have not given up hope for a pregnancy yet, I do find my thoughts wandering to the "What ifs" for not having a child that I give birth to. I in no way think this means you will love your child any less. You are still letting go of a dream that has been in your head since you were a little girl.

I wish I could take away the hurt, my friend. Thinking of you....

Erin from Massachusetts said...

I'm here right beside you, sister.
The pain is breathtaking, I know.
I mourn with you the child I will likely never have.

Love and hug,

Freyja said...

I don't know how you could feel any other way. Hugs.

Allison said...

Karen - I love your distinction between "might have been" and "meant to be". Grieving one doesn't mean you love the other any less. It means you are a human being.

But I'm so sorry you are grieving at all. Lots and lots of hugs.

Lizzybo said...

I think it takes great courage to check in on your friends (virtual and real-life) who were able to graduate to the pregnancy and/or parenting side. I know how difficult it always was for me. I know it's painful and that makes me appreciate you all the more for taking that step to check in.

Where you're at right now, well, I always believed that it is true grieving. I believe that every failed cycle has a certain element of grieving involved.

Please know that my thoughts are with you at this time.

Barb said...

I just posted something very similar to these thoughts. You are not alone.

And as for the death of someone you know not being the same.. it isn't, but research has shown that the stress of IF is very similar to the stress of losing a loved one. So take your time to grieve. I know how awful it is. I wish it wasn't.

Lots of hugs

Lost in Space said...

Karen, Just thinking of you today and hope that you are doing well. ((Hugs))

Yoka said...

I can so relate to your post. Our stories are amazingly similar. We also really started trying in July of 2005 even if we didn't use any protection any more a couple of months earlier.

All the pain you are describing sounds so familiar to me. I also had an incredible close relationship with my grandparents, especially my grandfather.

Now we are on our road to adopt and if everything goes well, we might have a baby in August. But of course there is still so much that can go wrong until then.

Wendy said...

I'm so sorry that you had to go through this.