featured post: “my pregnancy & my truths” by bohemian transplant

This is the first post I read by Brittany at Bohemian Transplant. I “met” her last week on Twitter and became acquainted with her story through this post. She was hesitant to post it, and after reading it I could see why. Many bloggers struggle with the fine balance of trying to be sensitive to their friends “in the trenches” and celebrating their own joys. It hurts when people move on and you are left behind. It hurts when others get what you want. And it hurts when others lash out at you because of it.

Brittany’s post touches on a lot of things I struggle with in the ALI community. The desire to be as sensitive as possible to those still in the throes of TTC. The need to be true to yourself and your feelings. The guilt that you were successful and those you care about haven’t been yet. The way we censor ourselves trying not to be insensitive or inadvertently hurtful. The way some folks lash out at others, using their own pain as an excuse or justification.

Recently, Brittany announced that she is currently expecting her second child:

We are incredibly excited, although a little nervous about having two children (just one babe in there, we checked!) but excited none the less. The post has since been removed because, well, it was kind of depressing. As excited as we are, it was a tough pill to swallow, knowing that I have hurt some people that I love who are still very much in the trenches of infertility.

And then I got no response. Not even one congrats. Which, you know, is fine. It’s not about that. But I poured my heart out in that post as well, about the guilt I was feeling, and I didn’t even receive any thoughts on that, either.

When I broke the news on twitter, as gently as I could, it was mostly positive responses. But there were a few. Some harsh words were spoken. Words that hurt. Words, honestly, I can’t get past. They are in the throws. The very ugly throws of infertility. They hurt. They are in pain. I understand this. But it sucks, mostly, when I have been so supportive of others, through good news and bad, no matter how hard it has been to me in the past, to not receive that support in return.

What really struck me about this, was how heartbreaking it is when this happens. I think we can all agree that a BFP, no matter who it is from, can hurt like a bitch. But I would wish we could all agree that it is not okay to be an asshole about it. If you need to step away, step away. But if you need to say something shitty, step away.

Brittany’s post, however, spoke to me on another level. She makes some astute and insightful points about the give and take of support, URL to IRL friendship, how our circumstances change, and the conditional nature of support:

Whether some like it or not, there is this mentality in the infertility community (not among everybody, but among some) that your struggle does not count if it is not the same as their struggle. Many seem to forget that pain is pain, no matter what form it comes in, but if it’s not the same level of pain, if you haven’t gone through the same treatments, then sympathy or support is not required. It’s expected to be received, but not given. It’s also unfortunate.

And as somebody on the bottom rung of the infertility treatment, I fall often into the category of having to give, but never receive. As somebody who has gone out of my way to send love, strength, hope, care packages, gifts, cards, words of encouragement and all the hugs the virtual world can offer (and sometimes in real life) sometimes I want that back when I am feeling down.

These are tough things to write, to read, to acknowledge, and to work on. This post stirred up a lot of my irritation and discomfort with the “just be grateful” attitude in this community, but it also reminded me that I can always be doing better to be supportive. It is a reminder to us all that support, sensitivity, and understanding are needed on every step of the journey. To give what you can, when you can. To treat each other as we would wish to be treated.

I’m still thinking a lot about this post. If I am being honest, I have a lot of things I am thinking and feeling about the points Brittany is making, but I find myself afraid to say them too. Maybe that is the point. That we shouldn’t be afraid. And as much as I say “just keep talking” I keep mum on things too. Let’s keep working on that, one post at a time.

Please head over to Bohemian Transplant to read Brittany’s post “My Pregnancy & My Truths” and leave your thoughts with her.

*****

Brittany in her own words:

I am 31 years old and a born and raised Seattle girl, although currently living in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I work in the public relations field to pay the bills, while moonlighting as an aspiring photographer, designer and wanna be chef to help keep my creativity afloat. On top of that, I am a full-time mom to a baby boy and three awesome pooches, a military wife to a loving husband and a woman who is continually trying to find her place in this world… But then we started trying to have a baby, a process that turned out to be not so easy for us. After a miscarriage in January of 2009, just two months into my husbands second year-long deployment, suddenly talking about sperm counts and ovulation didn’t seem so appropriate for all the people that I knew in my real life. Our miscarriage was followed by another year of trying to on our own before starting fertility treatments, we were blessed with our extremely handsome baby boy via IUI. Our infertility journey was simple compared to most, something that we are incredibly grateful for.

Ironically enough, I have been on two sides to the infertility journey. In 2004, I donated my eggs to a family member who was unable to conceive on her own, resulting in two beautiful twin girls that just started first grade. The irony comes from us having our own struggles years down the road, but we are still blessed with what we have. I love my infertility community and will do what I can to help promote the amazing things that comes from it.

*****

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