I believe that there is no comparison between the pain of infertility and the pain of relinquishment. I’ve only been through the infertility part. But relinquishment pain has got to be more excruciating, especially when a person’s been told they will eventually get over it, or have been pretty much demanded to get over it. For all the things I’m probably pretty naïve about and unaware of, I do get that.
I’ve not suffered through miscarriages, I’ve not (thus far) undergone any procedures more horrible than a laparoscopy. I haven’t had severe reactions to the hormones and other medications I’ve tried. Heck, the nurse at the RE even told me time and again that I have a “nice, fluffy uterine lining.” Wow, how’s that for high praise…and way too much information? Point is, even though I’ve had it relatively easy in this department, and I know many women haven’t, infertility has been and to some extent continues to be a big deal to me. It affects my life. It effects my emotions. It effects how I relate to other people. It impacts my work and my understanding of others. At this moment, thank God, it does not rule my life. I pray it doesn’t in the future. It doesn’t wholly define me, but it is one part of who I am. One little part.
If I am going to be truthful, I’ve gotta say that I don’t feel done mothering babies yet. There’s something in my heart and brain, something organic that drives that feeling. Nature tells me that I’m a mother, even though my body disagrees.
Some folks don’t understand that drive…they don’t “get” why someone like me, who has plenty of other people in her life to love and care for, feels the need to have/parent a(nother) baby. It boggles their minds why someone like me just can’t get over it. If I adopt, I may be accused of causing trauma to lots of people, and perhaps I have. Perhaps I hope to avoid that in the future by not adopting again. If I pursue infertility treatments instead, I may be accused of having baby lust. Perhaps instead, some think that people like me should just chuck it all and just get over it. Maybe find a job in daycare. Some of those folks that might tell me this are the same ones that either lost their babies or their parents through adoption. When they’ve been told to get over their loss–that they’re not entitled to it…well, that’s a big deal, and it makes total sense to me why this would be more than upsetting to them, and why they speak out against it. Their loss is cellular. Getting over it doesn’t make sense. Nor would it be kind of me to say to them to just go work with kids, volunteer at a pet center, hug your nieces and nephews…those things might enhance their lives, but certainly doesn’t replace that core emptiness.
And FINALLY, on to my point…
Loss can come in varying degrees, different people have different skills for managing grief after loss. Loss is personal. Each person’s perspective is different. We all get there at different times. Some of us hang on to our grief because it is a comfort to be able to stay angry—anger is energy and energy pushes change. Some of us don’t like the way the anger has changed us, so we look to find a different way to cope. But some losses, as you know, you don’t get over. You find a way to work it into your life, move beyond it, turn it to something positive, or at least whittle it down so its not so negative. You live with it and hopefully accept it, but sometimes getting over it just doesn’t happen. Its not wrong, its not right. It just is.
What must be done among us to be able to recognize one another’s pain and loss and respect each other, if not for our resulting actions or beliefs, but for the humanity that we all share in the experience of loss?