your support is needed

One of our fellow PAIL Blogroll members could unfortunately use some love and support from us today.

Elizabeth @ Snips, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails has a wonderful little boy, Grayson, who will be turning two next Saturday. They have known since he was just a few months old that there were issues as he was not hitting his milestones. For more of Grayson’s story, click here. He was officially diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease on 4/20/2012, and sadly, on 9/11/12, he was diagnosed with a rare form of it called Leigh’s Disease, which is fatal. This means that he will most likely not survive childhood.

Please go send her your prayers, support, or whatever feels right to you.

Photo from Snips, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails

september 2012 – monthly theme post – guilt & grieving

Building a family is about more than just living with and loving babies and children who grow up into bigger people. It’s also about adding another generation, passing on traditions, names, stories & a unique family culture– one that’s ingrained in your own experiences growing up or one that you create. It’s about building a legacy. For some, the dream of having children is also about giving your partner a child, making your parents into grandparents, extending a bloodline, passing on a unique gender or racial experience to someone else… but infertility throws a wrench into this plan. Sometimes, in the quest to have a baby, you’ll have to give up a piece of your dream. That dream may be about family spacing, how many children you want to have, how much money you plan to have saved before having a child (because you’ve spent it all on testing, and failed procedures, and procedures that finally worked, and adoption, and in the meantime you took a different job closer to home because you had to sell your car, etc ad nauseam) and part of that dream might be having a child who is physically related to you and your family, or who is around long enough in your parents’ lifetime to remember them.

My husband and I lost an irreplaceable piece of our vision for family building on July 16th, 2010, when Husband slowly laid his father’s lifeless hand back down on the hospital bed. Or maybe it was lost eight hours before that, when a sympathetic doctor sat across a table from us, calmly saying words like “multiple organ failure” and “no chance of recovery” and “make him as comfortable as possible.”

My father in law’s name was David. David was 74 and had been relatively active and healthy, even after a nearly ten-year stint caring for Husband’s mother as she slowly descended into confusion and dementia in her fifties and sixties. He took good care of himself. David went to the doctor once a week to see a nutritionist and check his blood pressure– it was part of his routine. He went out to eat, went to concerts, spent time with friends.

It was only a stomach ache, at first. Just a bug. Honestly, we’ll never really know what went wrong. He was gone in less than a week.

I know “our” infertility is really my infertility: my insufficient eggs, my crappy hormones. I understand that this isn’t my fault and it was never predictable or preventable, it’s just my body. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel, sometimes, like I robbed David, who I loved dearly, from ever meeting his granddaughters because I couldn’t seem to manage to get pregnant when we first started trying. (I’ve done the math– we started trying in December of 2008, five months after our wedding. Had we conceived then, D would have had ten months WITH his granddaughters. Compared to the almost two years it’s been since his death and all that’s happened, those ten months would have made all the difference.) Even worse, my girls will never know their Papa David as a real person; he’ll be a character in family stories to them and nothing more. This guilty feeling is hard to share with my fertile friends, because while every single person I have ever met will say to me, “That’s ridiculous– you can’t put that on yourself!”, my IF friends will also quietly add, “but I get it”– and that last part is what makes all the difference. Infertility leaves a scar and it’s not always “just” psychological or mental. Sometimes it comes down to unfortunate logistics.

What did you lose? What do you grieve?

There’s plenty to consider when revisiting your personal grief and guilt over infertility and loss, but here are a few prompts to get you started:

  • What was your vision of family building?
  • What got lost– or, more accurately, what did IF and/or loss take away from you?
  • Did your loss evolve over time into something else?
  • How do you balance grief and guilt?
  • How supportive were other people of your need to go through a grieving process? Did you feel like you could talk about it?

You can, of course, write about whatever you’d like. I think we’re going to see some real diversity in people’s experiences here– grief opens so many wounds and impacts us all in such different ways.

I know this is a heavy one. Take some time to think about it, mull it over, and submit it by Wednesday, September 19th at midnight. The full list of links will be posted on Thursday, September 20th. Fill out the form below to submit your post.

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