Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Peeling back the layers

I had my session with NC last night.  I brought her up to speed on what happened to spur me to return to counseling: MM's "epiphany" about not wanting to move forward with DE IVF this summer as we had planned, the conversations we have had since about the possibility of pursuing embryo donation, and the thoughts and feelings I've had about all of it.  (My explanation of my thoughts and feelings was pretty to close to what I posted here.)  It was helpful to talk this out with someone who is not only a trained professional but also already knows something about our TTC history and is an objective outsider.

Following the preliminaries, the first question NC asked me was "How do you feel now about never being a mother?"  After I blathered on for a few minutes about the pros and cons of parenthood and how I have gotten to a point where I think I would be OK either way, she stopped me.  She pointed out that I was giving her my THOUGHTS about this, not my feelings.  She reminded me of my tendency to allow logic to rule over my emotions which she had commented on in earlier sessions.  (Very true; I am very much an Overthinker.)

So I paused for a moment and then blurted out the first thing that came into my head: "When I'm on my deathbed--which I hope won't be until I'm at least 75--I know I will regret it if I was never a mother."  And I promptly burst into tears.

That was an "Aha! moment" for me.  I guess I am just weird, but I have a hard time getting through my thoughts about something to my feelings about it.  For a long time, I believed that my thoughts and feelings were basically the same thing, but one thing this struggle with infertility has taught me is that they are not.  I have loads of perfectly logical, rational thoughts about the possibility of never being a mother, which treatment path to choose and the like, but I have found that apart from those well-reasoned thoughts, I also have emotions.  Emotions that are not at all logic or rational, and often are not very comfortable for me.

I am not a person who usually makes decisions driven by emotion.  Even in my love life, the one area where even rational, sane people often allow their hearts to rule over their heads, I have made more logical decisions, based on thought and reason, than emotional decisions.  (For example, I would tell you that I married MM not only because I love him but because marrying him was a smart decision.  I ended my last serious relationship before MM for logical, not emotional, reasons.)  The last emotion-driven decisions I made in my life were probably in my teens. . . . usually with less-than-ideal outcomes, I might add.

However. . . . a dear friend of mine told me once that there is nothing logical about the desire to be a parent.  I am learning all the time just how true her words are.

Unfortunately, because I am infertile and (apparently) unable to conceive a baby on my own, the "natural" way, coming to this realization about what I truly want is not THE answer to my dilemma.  I still have to figure out how I am going to realize my dream of motherhood, and I still have to honor and respect MM's wishes and thoughts about the process.  There are still many, many steps ahead of me along the road.

But it's a start.


  1. Aha, indeed! wow. that's some serious introspection you are up to. I'm sure there is more emotions in your decision-making than you are giving yourself credit for.

    No matter what, it's important to give yourself the space to feel those emotions, so they don't pour out or become toxic in other parts of your life.

    You are one brave woman!

  2. You do have to honor and respect his wishes, but he also has to honor and respect yours. One is not more valid or important than the other... I hope you two can come to an agreement in a way that makes you both happy.

    Big hugs - isn't it amazing how a therapist can cut to the chase and --BAM -- you're sobbing!?

  3. I'm glad that you're making some breakthroughs in the counseling. Good luck with the decision-making process.

  4. I wish I could give you a hug right now. I am sorry you find yourself in this spot. I understand the feeling well and have lived for a long time with me and husband not on the same page as far as how to build our family (I cannot imagine not have kids like you). I know there is no easy way. I am glad you have your therapist there to support you and hope that you and your husband can keep talking through this.
    sending love to you....

  5. Ok, I teared up reading your "deathbed" comment. I feel the same way and have thought that exact thing before :( *hug*

    Very interesting about your thoughts vs. your feelings. I'm sure figuring that out is helpful but boy, it sure doesn't help with a resolution, does it.

  6. Your post brought me to tears, because yes, I think those of us battling IF, when pressed, will say and feel exactly what you felt before you broke down at the therapist's office.

    Thank you for your post.

  7. Thanks for sharing. This really touched home with me too. Because I think we all need to deal with "what if we don't have a baby" rationally & all these rational thoughts are going thru our head on how to copy with this. But it is actually our emotions that are driving us and telling us something completely different. Your post has made me realise maybe I'm not as peace with it as I thought.

    I'm sure with time you & MM will come to some common ground where you can move forward. All the best

  8. I'm glad that you have your therapist and that she is able to guide you through the thougts to the emotion.

    have you told MM about this conversation?

  9. Oh S . . . Just got caught up on your past 4-6 weeks. I'm sorry for the recent bumps in the road. You are such a strong person. I know you will eventually find the path that is best for you and MM. Glad you're working with the therapist again. I'm thinking of you. Hang in there!

  10. You just took me right back, S. That must be a question in the infertility counselor handbook. My reaction when mine asked was to completely skip over any words and go right for the tears.

    I wish any of this were easier. The feelings part can be really tricky. I learned all about these in eating disorder rehab many many moons ago. I was so horrible at figuring out what feeling words were that my therapist finally printed out a bunch and asked me to pick from them. Even then it took awhile for the emotions to really catch up. It isn't at all easy and I hope you are gentle with yourself as things surface.

    Many hugs.

  11. wow, your therapist is good! Just knowing what goal you ultimately want to reach will help guide you through the hard decisions ahead. I'm excited that you were able to get to the heart of the matter!


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