Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Grief: 1, Jen: 0

Grief won one over on me today.

Let me provide a background. My love language is time. Uninterrupted time with my husband is fiercely important to me. We've had a pretty rocky last quarter. My husband was sick several times, my brother (who lived with us at the time) was in a fire that left him hospitalized for almost a month and it just happened to be at my husband's place of employment and he is the insurance liaison so we had the personal AND professional stress, I had that wretched horrible HSG, and we got our awful IF news, all since October 1.

The newest infertility diagnoses just about set me over the edge. One thing that kept me going was the knowledge that DH (dear husband) and I would have a week of uninterrupted time together. It's our first Christmas at home where we're not traveling (an opportunity I've prayed for for years but we never wanted to disappoint family expectations--whose year do you take off first--your own parents or your in-laws? Either one carries emotional consequences that we just didn't want to deal with.) Anyway, I was really really relishing that. For the first time Christmas wasn't going to be exhausting. It wasn't going to be spent following someone else's routine and traditions and getting exhausted from broken sleep and lengthy travel... we were going to have it in our home, together. Then after the festivities died down, we would a few days to decompress and recoup, together. Rest, together.

I just can't even tell you how much that prospect has kept me motivated and encouraged these recent weeks. When we got our most recent news, it was like we got the news of a death and then DH went back to work the next day, never having time to process or grieve. And in truth, I've felt like he's shut everything off and out because he hasn't had the time to spend on really muddling through things. He's shut off to the point that it worries me. Anyway, I could cope with that because I knew it was short term. I knew that I just had to make it a couple of weeks and then we'd have time to really do this together because I've felt so alone thus far.

We sat down together in May and budgeted the rest of his days off (which are few!) I emailed him the dates (as is our custom) and he then promised to take those dates and get them on the calendar. I've asked him several times since then if he got the dates off and he said yes. He just told me 3 weeks ago that he didn't think that he'd requested them after all. So he requested at that time and his boss said no. DH asked him to reconsider and he said no again.

I'm crushed. I just can't even describe how much I need this time to process with DH. To connect with him. He's so exhausted in the evenings that we can't do it then and he's had some sort of work obligation every weekend since our doctor's appointment. I feel like I'm stuck in some suspended animation. The only way I was getting through this particular aspect was the knowledge that a reprieve was coming soon. That there was at least a temporary end to my endless loneliness. Plus, DH is a Controller and does the accounting for his company. Auditing season is in February, and in preparation of it, he'll be working ridiculously long hours making my time with him even shorter.

I'm angry. I'm resentful of DH for forgetting something so important. He forgets really big things, often. And to a detail oriented person like me, that's really hard to cope with because I take it personally. And I resent his boss for not giving him the time off. I know that that's unreasonable because his boss can only deal with the time and information that's given to him and I don't want his boss to know all the particulars of why this season has been so dang hard but still. I can't help but think that if I were the boss, I wouldn't make that same decision, and it's hard for me to not be upset with his boss accordingly. I know that's unfair and I'm trying to subdue that emotion but I'm just crushed all around.

Why am I sharing all this? It's not to put down my DH. If forgetfulness is the worst of his flaws, I can deal with that and I know I have it pretty good. Lord (and DH) forgive me if there is any hint of attack in this. I don't mean it that way. I'm just so brokenhearted. I just don't know how to navigate this horrible loneliness that had surrounded me and now is back with no reprieve in sight. I hate infertility. I hate the loneliness. I hate that I feel abandoned. I hate that gulf that seems ever increasing between me and my pregnant best friend. I hate that I feel like anyone I share these thoughts with is judging me, thinking that I'm feeling the wrong thing, or too much or too little of a thing. I hate that I don't know what my DH is feeling and I hate that we can't just lock ourselves inside a little room and deal with this! And I hate that I can't will myself to stop feeling these things because my head knows that they're full of lies and half truths.

Other IF ladies, have you struggled with this overwhelming loneliness? I try to pray and read and that doesn't make this ache stop. I busy myself with tasks which helps suspend the emotion, but it resurges the second I'm alone again and I'm fearful of just "busying" myself instead of learning to cope with this.

I'm so discouraged and frustrated with myself. I felt like I was making some real progress in dealing with grief. If I'm honest I confess that I was afraid that maybe things were moving too quickly or too easily but I really truly did feel at peace and every positive thing I've thought, believed and felt has been sincere. Then this happens and my heart is smashed to bits again, even though I want to will that this particular incident wouldn't be so shattering. In the grand scheme of things I know that it's just a few days. I know that his boss is absolutely not at fault. I know that it's easy to forget things when you work as hard as my DH does. I know that DH should not be who I lean on so heavily anyway. But all that head knowledge doesn't make the tears stop flowing. I have such contempt for emotions sometime. They're so unreasonable. Bah.

I feel stupid for even writing all of this because now that I've verbally regurgitated up all the emotion, I am tired and I can look with bemused indifference at how silly and stupid it is in the grand scheme of things. But that doesn't make it one whit easier. In fact it makes it harder because on top of all this other nonsense, I'm trying to tame the demon of guilt that I so easily fall slave to.

I'm tired. All that to say--please just pray for me. I am so hesitant to post this because I feel so foolish but in the name of authenticity and accountability, I'm going to. And like I said, I'd love any advice from other IF ladies. Please tell me I'm not totally off my rocker and that these feelings aren't foreign or unexpected. Help me navigate, please!


  1. never be hesitate to post your feelings and needs!!

    AS for lonileness YES YES and more YES. My husband works nights- majority of the nights i am by myself. So lonileness and I have been quite accustom to eachother long before marriage but, he haunted me more and more being the ONLY in a house. I understand the time as a love language. I tried and tried to find a hobby that i enjoyed so it wouldn't feel so alone time. Reading and TV are my escapes.(and talkin on my instant messanger)
    i am sorry the hubster forgot!

  2. ((((Jen))))

    Grief hasn't won over you! Grief, heartache, sadness and loneliness are feelings you feel, very intensely too, but they are just feeling, not who you are. Does this make sense?
    And these feelings are, btw, very typical for those going through if struggle and even not if!
    About dh, I can't emphasize enough how different we process this! Where we see no hope they often are hopeful. They are task oriented generally, and they are made to do one thing at a time, they often cannot deal with something when they have more pressing urgent matters, especially if it has to do with work (providing for you, which is generally a need for men, even if you are well off or can provide for yourself).
    Sandra Glahn wrote "The Infertility Companion" and wrote a chapter, a good one at that, to expalin how husbands and wives deal with IF and their different approaches in their marriage to this particular struggle.


  3. Thanks ladies. Miriam, I have that book. Maybe I'll pull it out and read it today

  4. I understand your lonliness, Jen! I'm sending you an email right now.

  5. You are not alone in those sorts of feelings. Remember that God is your refuge - not free time, not rest, not your husband - and escape into His sheltering arms!

  6. You have to let yourself get it all out. Never regret what you through out to the blogworld. If it helps you work through your feelings it is a good thing.

    Loneliness is very normal. It is a bad place but it is normal. There were many times my dh and I felt miles away. He was in his own world of grief. I was in my own world. You need to share your thoughts with him but know he is so hurt wanting to fix the problem but not being able to.

    Cry out to God and let Him hold you.

    I am so sorry for your disappointment. HUGS!

  7. Oh, Jen. I am not and IF but girl, this just sucks. Sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks. I am so sorry. :( (If you stand up and scream as loud as you can THIS SUCKS!!! you might feel better. Works sometimes for me.)

    Praying you will get lots of little love notes from God over the next few days to remind you that you are his baby girl and he loves you.

    Hugs & prayers.

  8. Aw, Jen, I'm so sorry this is happening to you! Loneliness and isolation are some of the most recurring feelings that accompany infertility. You are not alone. I promise you that.

    One of the hardest things for me to process during the darkest days of my infertility grief was the fact that Tony and I felt things, and dealt with things -differently-. I needed him to be there all the time and grieve with me all the time, but his way of dealing with the grief was to put everything heart and soul into something else. I felt so abandoned during these times.

    What's really important here is that, no matter how frustrated you are at DH over this, don't let it drive a wedge between you. IF does a well-enough job of that on it's own, and you need to lean on your unity so much more. Be sure you tell him -specific- ways you want to spend time with him when he -is- home. Don't make him guess. (Men are usually so bad at that!) I'm sure he'll more than make it up to you.

    Much love and prayers,

  9. I'm so encouraged by your honesty.

    I don't think we ever learn to really deal with grief...and I don't think we're created to learn to be okay with it or make progress in dealing with it. It is hard, it sucks, it's lonely. And the loneliness is sometimes the hardest part. Even when you can have space to process in an appropriate way with your spouse, I feel like I'm still a bit alone - my hubby tries to 'get it' but he often just misses it.

    So, you are most certainly not alone - in your grief, in your frustration, and in your guilt in feeling this way.

    I'm sorry you are hurting. I will definitely pray for you.

  10. Sorry I've just now read your post. But I feel for you so much and can relate 100%.

    It seems like in the IF world, we are forced to cope and we are often successful at pulling ourselves out of a pit.

    However, I always feel like I'm never far from the pit and just a puff of wind will knock me back in.

    I hope the worst of the disappointment and grief has passed and that you are feeling better already.

    Just know you're not alone and you are brave to be so honest in your posting! It makes us all feel better that we are not the only ones who have felt exactly like you do!