Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Jokes, Boundaries and Grief

"You are over your grief, aren't you, since you're joking."  I had heard that quote and similar sayings from people lately, and I grit my teeth.  Seriously...    First of all, do not presume that I'm "over it."  ASK me.  I wouldn't ask a grieving spouse if she had gotten "over her husband's death" after a few weeks.  I would hope some of us would have common sense, to consider that grief can evolve, depending on support, coping skills and time.    For me, I use my sense of humor to cope with my grief now and then.  I am not yet out of the cave; I'm not ready. But I don't want to stay in the darkness forever, so to me, the sense of humor is my flashlight, in a sense.  Basically, if not for that, I'd be curling in my bed, not wanting to get out ever.  My humor is one of few coping skills that keep me hanging in there.

I still cry when I see someones posting a baby blog.  I still feel my heart breaking when I see someone sharing a sonogram on Facebook.  I still feel a whack of pain when I notice a pregnant woman.   To keep my fragile sanity, I had hidden some friends on Facebook, and I set up boundaries for myself. After all, I cannot ask those friends to hide their joy just for my sake, that would be selfish of me.  So it's MY choice on how to handle this on my own, by hiding certain people.   Mind you,  I had explained my decision to them,and most accepted that.  I am told, " It is important that you take care of yourself first.  When you are ready, I will be there."  They understand that I am not emotionally available for them during their pregnancy and for when their babies are born.  Of course, there are exceptions, and I'm not surprised.  One had insisted wanting me to be a godparent despite my refusal, insisting on sending me an invitation to a baby shower (got angry when I told her I can't attend), and then announcement of her baby's birth/photos (got upset when I asked her to stop tag me in photos).  Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for her and her baby, but I'm also jealous of what she has, that I can't experience- pregnancy and a newborn at my breast.

 That is something one have to remember, when it comes to infertile women (depending on how serious their medical condition is; in my case, uterus removed four weeks ago), we are very vulnerable to emotional triggers, including jealousy, insecurity, guilt, resentment, confusion, and oh yes...anger.   I'm angry at the gods.  I am angry that there are so many women out there that shouldn't have children, but here they are, having children in abusive families, neglect, poor parenting.  I'm angry at myself for not getting pregnant much earlier.  I'm angry at friends who experience through their pregnancies and babies.  I'm jealous of their joy with the 'baby bump' and holding a newborn in their arms.  I'm confused about my responses to stranger women carrying their babies, one moment disliking them, next moment wondering what it'd be like to hold a baby in my belly. I resent feeling people are trying to force me to accept their pregnancies, especially when some pregnant friends feel I'm playing "favorites" with them; not realizing that one may be very discreet, not being public with her pregnancy, preferring it to her friends and family off Internet (much easier for me), while one other is celebrating by talking about her pregnancy weekly in her blog, sharing photos of nursery ideas, and whatever so related to pregnancy (which is repeatedly pouring salt into my wounds- not her intentions, but that's how I FEEL.)  I experience guilt for feeling angry and jealous toward friends and family relatives who are pregnant or had babies born.  I And you know...  this is normal behavior and thinking for infertile women (and men).

This blog I found, said it much better than I could, especially in the third paragraph; "It is a very painful place for an infertile to be. There is no hope, just a great deep dark sense of despair. You feel totally alienated from the rest of the world and you are consumed by your situation. Every thing hurts, and every thing has the power to hurt you. Your world shrinks to the world of infertility and you fight tooth and nail to protect the fragile hold you have on sanity." 
How to be Good Friends with an Infertile.

 Some infertile women try to get pregnant with medical treatment, so it may be easier for some of them to handle their emotions, although not everyone can be successful getting pregnant, hence emotions can be remarkably torturing.  For me, my uterus was removed, so I did not have the chance at all to try for pregnancy, hence my grief is more painful for me.  And so, I respond in using my sense of humor; be it morbid, silly, sarcastic, funny, eye-rolling.  And it keeps me sane, and feeling very much human, which I have much need for. 

At least, I'm starting to learn my limitations, emotional-wise.  My point here is, even if I look "better", if I joke "better", it does NOT mean I am better emotionally.  It means I'm protecting myself emotionally during this hurricane-like storm, hanging on with my claws, wondering when I'd get out and see the sunshine.  At least, every time I think of that, I'm visualizing a poster of a cute kitten hanging on a branch with her front arms, and the quote "Hang in there", and thinking "would be funny if the kitten was trying to hang on a wet dog, not a branch."

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