Of posts and platitudes
An acquaintance of mine just started IVF. She's been posting about it all over Instagram -- photos of her with various needles I recognize all too well and captions like Day 1 shots! Day 2 shots! Day 6 shots! And so on and so on. The comments she's received have been overwhelmingly positive, uplifting platitudes such as, "You got this!" "You're a super star!" "I'm in awe of you!"
Every time I see all that, I get a knot in my stomach. I'm kind of over it.
It's not that I don't want her to get support -- obviously, I know what this process entails and how utterly lonely it feels most of the time. Even knowing what I know now, that at least five women in my outer social circles have gone through or are going through IVF, it still feels like something I'm battling on my own.
And that's because... I am battling it on my own. I'm really not sharing this part of my life with the general public. Sure, I have this blog, but ever since I really started writing more in depth about miscarrying and the slog that IVF has become, I haven't shared any of the links with anyone. And I haven't put anything about this on any of my social networks -- certainly no photos of needles or updates on hormone levels.
Part of me wants to share, but I feel paralyzed to do so. For one, IVF sucks because if you're a woman and you say you're going through it, people automatically assume there's something wrong with you. It's always you can't have kids; it's never he can't make kids. No one ever defaults into believing there's something wrong with the man. It makes me want to scream.
That's one reason I keep it private.
I also continually hear my sister's voice in my head, in her judgmental tone when someone has put something on Facebook that seems a bridge too far for her -- "Why would you ever share that on social media?!" And right behind my sister's voice is my mom, saying the same thing, texting me and telling me I should take down my post on my infertility struggles. So I don't even put one up.
I'm also just struggling with connecting with people over this. IVF/getting pregnant is a very private thing that deals with literally the most private parts of your body, and it's an invasive and embarrassing process. I would feel comfortable talking to my closest friends about the state of my uterus, how thick its lining is and what my hormone levels are doing to it, but the fact of the matter is none of them are going through this. That means I have to reach further out to different social circles if I want a discussion, and that feels invasive in and of itself.
But at the end of the day, I'm jealous of my acquaintance who is getting piles of affirmations, and I'm jealous of R's friend Laura who has been extremely forthcoming on Facebook about her miscarriages. I might be belittling the platitudes right now, but the truth is I really wish I had them.
I wish I had people telling me how strong I am on a daily basis, because I kind of need to hear it! IVF is like a black hole in my life, sucking up every bit of attention I have and squandering all of my good mood. I have never felt so consistently sad in my entire life as I have through this process, and through my miscarriage.
Going on all those dates back in the day certainly had their highs and lows. Believe me, I had my heart not merely broken but downright shattered a time or two. But with IVF, it's all lows. There is no good in this treatment. And yes, of course, there will be good to come of this if we end up with a baby, but there is no guarantee. Highs and lows of dating ended in me getting a kick-ass husband; IVF might just be a drain on my bank account and a house with an unnecessary third bedroom.
But until I get there, I could really use a platitude or two.