If you just smile
Music Composed by Charlie Chaplin, Recorded by Nat “King” Cole on Capital Records.
I’ve been in a bit of a weird place lately. I think a lot has to do with the fact that my life is very different now than it has been for the last 5 years.
Last week, while sitting in the big comfy chair at my therapist’s office, she asked me a very simple question. “How are you feeling?”
You know, it’s crazy, but no one in real life asks me that question. And if they do, it’s more like “How are you?” like in the casual conversation kind of way. You know, when you are SUPPOSED to say, “Fine” or “Good”, but no one REALLY wants the truth, or wants to hear a 10 minute dissertation to the question…
My answer to her, “depends on the day…” and isn’t that really the truth for everyone?
The difference for me is I feel like my days are jammed with work, and schedules, and cooking, and homework with David, and chores, and a multitude of activities which serves other people, but not me.
I feel empty.
“Who else do you talk about your daily struggles with besides your husband?”
To which I replied, “well, lately…. no one really.”
And then the conversation flowed to that one topic that bugs the shit out of me. The fact that other people are living their lives, happy and engaged, and most of them… don’t have a clue what it’s like to be on the dark side.
I truly cannot bear the “Mommy” thing. The school parties, the events where the Moms gather around and complain about not having time to sleep or get their nails done. The ones that I. MUST. HAVE. totally FAKE conversations with. On the basketball court, in the neighborhood, family/friend events, parties, and the grocery store. It’s like the world is turning without me because I have no interest in the “chatter” between Moms.
For me, I exist between two worlds. One foot in the Mom world, and the other foot in the non-Mom world.
I don’t quite fit in either of them.
Mel wrote a great post yesterday about putting on “the smile”. The one that shields you from the bullets other people hurl at you that can break your heart. The one resource that we infertiles have to safeguard ourselves from making a scene crying in the grocery store when we meet an old friend who has been! pregnant! 4! times! by accident! omg!
The “smile” is something I carry with me every time I walk out of the door. And lately, it’s been getting harder and harder to not show the crack in my smile. And, it’s plain EXHAUSTING.
So where does that leave me? Well, according to therapist Anne, I need to make an effort to start having real-life interaction with like-minded individuals. Hey, not that you on-line buddies aren’t the bees knees! It’s just I really don’t have a that person IRL that I can commisserate and share these dark feelings with. Someone who has first-hand experience with infertility in the way I have. Where they did not succeed and stopped treatment. Or stopped and pursued adoption. Anne thinks I should put out feelers for a support group in my area.
Because, you know, that’s a lot less desperate than standing in line at Starbucks with a shirt that reads…
(Are YOU an infertile? Have you failed where others always SUCCEED? Are you a fertility clinic dropout? Please have coffee with me and let’s DISCUSS!)
When I leave my session with Anne, I always feel good. And most of that is because she did walk almost the same path as I did. She defines infertility as a “life crisis” and draws parallels between infertility and going through any other serious illness. The difference? Infertilty is not terminal. Which in her opinion, makes it all the worse since you can never-ever-ever escape it. The outcomes are different, but it is something we will forever carry to our deaths.