featured post: “where do I belong?” by EndoJourney

When I was twenty-five weeks pregnant (in five days it’ll be exactly a year ago, holy cow), I wrote a post about “the other side of infertility.” When PAIL was first formed, I revisited that post because it was, for me, the exact experience of identity crisis that described both the limbo PAIL bloggers face and the need for this sort of space– can I be both infertile and pregnant? Is my infertility identity a sham now, are my experiences and feelings moot? Is it “over”? Can I ever really feel “safe”?

When we suffer trauma, bits of ourselves get chipped off, scattered, and left behind; I experienced this in a very visceral way tonight when my mother dropped a glass plate onto a granite floor and missed a piece while vacuuming it up (ouch). We lose little fragments of ourselves along the way, and we fill in those spaces with patches of identity built from labels that describe what happened to us. Labels like “I AM INFERTILE,” or for those preferring a more fluid and dynamic tone, “I HAVE INFERTILITY.”

It’s a strange experience to lose a piece of that patched-on identity by becoming pregnant, and stranger still to wander into a limbo like that you might not have realized was a part of the package to begin with after you start parenting: now you’re infertile, but with a baby that you made, somehow (my particular situation is also seasoned with the “bonus” of a second baby– twins surely means you beat the system, right?). This applies to more than just the experience of pregnancy through infertility. High-risk situations like bed rest add a whole other layer on this particular situation because you lose access to many, if not all, of the things you do that make you who you are– work, socializing, some hobbies, exercise and other physical pursuits. Lying around watching TV and barely able to cook for yourself won’t do much to keep you from feeling like pregnancy and impending parenthood is stripping you of your identity already! If infertility was a huge part of your daily existence, and then it was overwritten by pregnancy, well, you might still be processing all of that when you get upgraded to “high risk” and lose the last bits of distractions and hobbies that you held on to for sanity– imagine a two-week wait lived out in the most sparse of doctors’ waiting rooms, with just one three-month-old People Magazine and no cell phone reception to get you through.

EndoJourney is on bed rest and managing some difficult emotions as she navigates a complicated high-risk pregnancy. Her post “Where Do I Belong?” popped up in my reader about two weeks ago and I immediately felt a connection to the way she described her current perception of pregnancy through infertility and her struggle to define her experience:

I’m realizing how little others understand and can do for me. I never realized how fragile the world is and how much tougher I’ve become from this. I can see my friends or family just being crushed by my updates after doctor’s appointments. And it’s not that be being tougher is necessarily a good thing either because it comes with a side of bitterness and resentment too. People don’t know what to say and they just leave me with these looks of pity and sadness. What else are they supposed to do, even though it’s not what I need?

I’m also realizing how much I’ve missed in the world of my family and friends while I’ve been struggling through all of this…. It feels like while I’m parked on the sofa watching show after show, movie after movie and going through books faster than there are books being printed, the world is passing me by.

Her entire post and, honestly, all of her entries of late are poignant and really hit some nerves for me that reminded me of my own struggle to resolve some of my feelings and experiences during my pregnancy. To read on, please visit EndoJourney’s post “Where Do I Belong?” on her blog Journey with Endometriosis. Comments on this thread will be closed in an effort for you to connect with EndoJourney directly and share your thoughts with her.

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  1. […] Where Do I Belong? by Endo Journey (infertility, pregnancy & identity) […]

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