One is the loneliest number

I hesitate to write this post, if not for anything to appear depressed, because I don’t think that I am (Ben & Jerry might disagree with my personal assessment, but that’s another post.)

I am however, in a place that is foreign to me in many ways.

I can’t quite think about when this occurred, except to say looking back, I’ve noticed that loneliness has been a frequent friend of mine. Maybe for the last year or so, but certainly the last few months.

I feel… disconnected…. at times. The days go by so fast, and I feel like just an afterthought in them. Oddly, my relationship with S and David seems unaffected. In fact, when they are gone (S at work , D at school), I miss them so, so much. All I can focus on is their return, and the nights and weekends we share with just the three of us.

But on the outside, in the company of family, co-workers, friends, neighbors… I feel so lonely. I find myself disconnecting and not able to reach out. To those who know me IRL, this statement would seem out of character for me. In fact, I think if you would ask anyone, they may not even be aware of my precarious state of mind.

My irrational self has always wondered if I stop reaching out, will people stop reaching out to me? And the answer in my head over the last six months has been a resounding YES. This terrifies me, and at the same time I feel strangely indifferent about the whole thing.

Can I blame the events over the last 4 years? Well, sure. Infertility, and each attempt and loss has had a profound effect. I’ve posted many times on this subject, and I hate to appear like a whining child, but YES, it has destroyed many things in my life. Confidence and Faith most prominently. And it has changed my view of others and their response to me.

How odd it is… having always been “the mother figure” (especially to friends), that I am in this place where I am on the flip side? Needing nurturing myself.

But my response to my intense need is to withdraw, and with that appearing unavailable to those I love. Wounded, but soldiering on. Sometimes being mischaracterized as not caring. Angry that those closest to me don’t see it and judge me for the wrong reasons.

So as I have drawn inward, and have spoken less and less about my treatment and failure I now find that I can hardly remember what Shelli was four years ago. I am permanently changed. And on the days I long to reach out to anyone who will hear me and listen, I sit afraid. Afraid because I feel I have no one who won’t judge me. Lonely. Wishing for someone to reach out and say.. “I’m here, I’m listening.” instead of my having to be the sad puppy looking to be stroked.

Aside from this aspect of loneliness, something else is bothering me beyond measure. David has been becoming more and more vocal on the subject of wanting a sibling. So much so that he almost demands adequate explanation. While it is inappropriate to tell him the “whole truth” I long to grab him and hold him and cry on his shoulder… “me too…”

I don’t want him to be an only child. If we remain a family of three life will be just fine, I know that. But imagining a family of four or five is the reason I’ve endured this long.

The problem is, if I get there (or if I don’t), what is to become of me? If I stay in my shell, do I risk losing everyone? Or will some be kind and understand that my present and future requires healing to get back to the way I used to be?

I wish I knew.

11 thoughts on “One is the loneliest number

  1. Shelli my dear, you are war weary, shell shocked and probably suffering from post traumatic stress in some ways. Infertility is hell and you’ve lived on the front lines. Be gentle with yourself and your healing/coming to terms/moving on or whatever state your current stage has you in. True friend will always be there to reach in if you need them. And don’t forget your best friend, the one who sleeps beside you every night.

  2. I too relate to your post. Although we’ve moved on to adoption, that hasn’t stopped the IF and child-of-my-own-eggs yearning from shaping my relationship with others. In some cases, it accentuates the differences between my life and theirs even more. Have been trying to figure out how to post about my current mess of feelings (depression, sadness, isolation, etc), but can’t seem to find the strength. Strange kind of survivors’ sisterhood we have here, eh?

  3. Big {{HUGS}} to you, Shelli!I relate SO much to this post. It’s the worst when my little one asks about a sibling. How do you explain, when you don’t even know?Thinking about you, and wishing you some peace…

  4. We struggle with our identies as women and whether or not we are measured by our families, and sometimes the lack thereof. The only person(s) you have to impress are already on your side, and that’s your husband and your son. That being said, I truly understand what you are saying.

  5. I know what you mean…. I sometimes get down about my mundane days and also find i withdraw— we just got to pull ourselves out of it by pushing on…. trying to find the positivity… as hard as that can be.

  6. I am here to listen from afar! I am sorry you have been down lately, it makes sense. It is so hard to stay connected with ppl, I totally did the same thing, and it makes it harder when those ppl are judging instead of supporting. Thinking about you!

  7. Wow, I could have written this post. In some ways I have. Secondary infertility can do this because we don’t have the time to build or nurture friendships. We are in pain but have to go on without much thought or care for ourselves. My 2 year old is my life. Between her, my career, and IVF every few months (Oh yea and paying the bills for IVF) I am tapped out financially, emotionally, time-wise. And it’s not like my friends have any clue or could even understand if I tried to explain. And now that I’m doing a donor cycle (and not telling anyone) there is even more separation. I often spoke openly about my IVF’s. Now hardly anyone knows that I am in a cycle.It’s hard to want a baby and fail at it every time. But it’s an extra blow to see your own child with the same wanting. It’s one thing to fail yourself. It’s another to feel like you are failing them.

  8. I feel your pain in so many ways. I live/struggle with chronic illness and trying to redefine who I am compared to the Melissa of a couple years ago. And, what I have come to realize, in many ways, is that she does not exist anymore. And that is okay. The experiences of the past few years have changed who I am in the core of my being, for good and for bad. But, the changes are real. I have limitations I didn’t have before, my interests have changed, what bothers me or irritates me has changed- I look at the world through a whole different set of contacts. I am praying for you and any time you want to chat you can email me at melissa at organizedlifebydesign dot com. Although we are going through this loneliness and withdrawal for different reasons, I can tell through your post it makes feel the same things. Be blessed!

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