You might (or more likely might not) have noticed my absence from this blog over the last
three four months. I’m still pretty surprised that it’s been that long already, and I’ve been feeling incredibly and inexplicably guilty about it. It’s strange that even though this isn’t something that pays me or that I even have much accountability for from anyone I know in person, I feel like it actually is a big commitment at which I’ve failed. I feel guilty and like I’ve let someone down (who, I don’t know,) but I’ve also recognized that stepping away from the additional commitment for a time was the right and healthy choice for me. And it may be again.
The truth of the matter is that the last several months have been incredibly overwhelming for me emotionally. And I’ve just been so drained from everything else that I haven’t had the energy, motivation, or even a useful idea about what to write.
So, here’s the story. Around this time last year, my doctor discovered an unidentifiable mass in my abdomen and after surgery to remove it, I was diagnosed with very severe endometriosis. (Someone give me a gold medal, because she claimed it’s the worst she’d ever seen.) Problem? Yes. But we were very hopeful that since they’d cleared all of the tissue, we would be able to follow the doc’s instructions and get pregnant asap. Because that’s what we’ve wanted most in the whole world.
Shortly following my surgery, however, I was diagnosed with another autoimmune issue: ulcerative colitis. Which, trust me, you do not want me to describe to you. Let’s suffice it to say that it was miserable and gross, gross, gross. But we were still trying. With no luck.
The GI doctor then put me on steroids (in addition to my other medication) to help with the UC. Which did…eventually. Unfortunately, being on the steroids for 6 months really screwed up a lot of other things including my weight (I’ve had literally dozens of well-meaning people ask me when the baby is due or how far along we are–one even rubbed my belly and argued with me that I “was too” pregnant when I told her we weren’t,) energy levels, and most importantly hormone levels.
When after so many months of trying despite the health issues and having no good news we sought treatment with our NaPro doctor, she informed us that the next step should be to run a series of blood work for a month to see if I was progesterone-deficient and that ovulation was happening as it should. Except we couldn’t start those until after I was off of the steroids because they would mess up the readings. And we had no idea when that would be.
So we waited, month after month, trying again and again and otherwise focusing on slowly getting me back to health in whatever way we could. I started this blog as an outlet with the hopes of meeting other women who were going through similar things and to just feel connected. Everything about the situation has been so isolating. It’s as if my husband and I are in survival mode all the time and it’s all we can do just to do the bare minimum. Which frightens me when I try to imagine being a good parent if, God willing, our prayers are answered.
The thing is, even though I’d started this blog to feel more connected to other women, including those struggling with fertility issues, I never talked about what was happening with me. I rarely even mentioned it and certainly never put the cards on the table. Because I was scared. Scared of someone I knew finding it (I’m odd, I know,) scared that it would turn into someplace that was full of drama and woe is me, scared of pigeon-holing myself as an infertility blogger when all I wanted (and I suspect many other women in this position feel this way too,) was to become a mother and transition into a happy-Catholic-mommy blogger and be accepted by this beautiful community of women whose blogs I’ve read. I love their happy stories and pictures of their children, their advice and strategies for disciplining and teaching them, the details of how their backs hurt and their feet ache, who threw up where and how these incredible women got down on their knees and wiped up the glamorous stuff. Seriously. I gobble that up like Lucky Charms.
But I’ve always felt like I’ll never be part of that world until we’re blessed with a child in some way. Because even if I could win these women’s sympathies, I’d never win their camaraderie until I’d earned it. And I want so badly to earn it. With poopy diapers, shirts covered in spit-up, scrubbing up vomit while trying not to be sick myself, mountains of laundry and dishes, hundreds of hours of kids’ TV shows, and saying goodbye to 6 hours of sleep a night.
I know I’m not alone. I know that there are thousands of women who have it worse than I do. My husband and I are still hopeful, now that we’ve just finally begun the blood tests that will hopefully change our lives. But so many women have been waiting for years longer than we have. Some have already been told that it just won’t happen, and some are even unable to adopt. These women are the bravest and strongest that I know. They carry the burden of the greatest pain imaginable for any woman, especially one whose vocation as a mother has been made clear to her.
The thing is, I think by God’s graces I could be strong enough to be a good parent, but I’ve been afraid that I’m not strong enough to not be a parent. I know, I shouldn’t doubt that God’s graces would be enough, and I don’t. But I do often doubt my ability to accept those graces and to make use of them.
So ladies, it’s time that I start reaching out and sharing this part of my life with you. Because maybe you can teach me how to accept those graces that I need. And maybe I can learn to share our struggles without being overwhelmed by them and turning this into a depressing blog. I neither want this to become a dark, sad place nor do I want it to be a place of constant cheery covered-up pain. I just want it to be honest.