Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I'm not crazy. I'm grieving!

As I a sat on my therapist's couch today, one big ball of tension and anxiety, I finally said it. Tentatively. And with this disclaimer, "I'm normally uncomfortable with any kind of attention..." like a true Irish Catholic, I'm terrified of being perceived as self-centered, "I'm hurting so much and I just want people to see it. I want them to know I'm suffering."

Did I really just say this? Was I going to go straight to hell now? I seriously just said I want other people to know I'm suffering. What's wrong with me? 

I know in my heart it's not really about wanting everyone to know. I just want to be able to  bear my heart with those I love. For some reason infertility builds walls around you and the people you used to rely on the most. I want to scale the wall. 

"No one can grieve alone, inside their head, because that’s not how grief works. Grief is a form of love, and it requires company – it needs to see its reality reflected back to itself from the heart and soul of another human being. Just as love does."

"Unrequited grief is as crippling as unrequited love, and it can last a lifetime, because grief is patient.  It will wait until you seek out that supportive ‘other’, that mirror – like other childless by circumstance women. (Yes, there are other ways too, but this has got to be the fastest I’ve found)."

"Grief heals us so that we can fall in love with life again, but we can’t do it alone. It’s a poisonous myth of our individualistic culture."

"Time does not heal grief. Grieving heals grief."

Amen! Thank you to Jody Day at Gateway Women for your words of wisdom. 


  1. Amen. Thanks for sharing this and the blog article. I laughed at a few of those "does this sound like you?" questions...not because they are funny but I am just relived others have these wild thoughts/emotions.

    I admire you have gone to see a therapist. It was recommended I do the same...but I just can't do it. I feel like it wouldn't do anything. I am just sad. Yes, it can be debilitating but I can't see how telling someone else about it would be helpful. Have you found it to be helpful at all? Maybe I am being closed minded...

    I think you are right about needing others in the journey to echo back your own grief to you - an act showing they "get" it. So unusual in our society though, as people are afraid they'll say the wrong thing or screw up so it's easier to avoid big hairy emotions. A huge reason I am thankful for "meeting" you and other gals walking this journey.

    Praying for you.

    1. Yes, that 'does this sound like you?' list was great! It is so healing to know we're not alone!

      I first saw a therapist when I was 15 for adolescent type issues. I count it as one of the most positive experiences of my life! For me, it was the first time I said what I thought and someone said, "that makes sense." There wasn't a lot of validation going on in my house growing up.

      I've pretty much kept going since then because I find it to be so helpful in keeping my stress and anxiety in check. Because of all the IF stuff, I've been going every week for the past couple of years.

      In full disclosure, I am a therapist myself now so I think everyone should go! But there are many crappy therapists out there so finding the right one makes all the difference. I hear what you're saying about doubting that telling someone else about your debilitating sadness doesn't seem like it would be helpful and yet do you realize what you said right after that?! "I think you're right about needing others in the journey to echo back your own grief to you." This is exactly what therapy does! It is SO healing! Couldn't hurt to try it:-)

  2. Great quotes, especially the first one. It truly helps when you have a community to heal. My wife and I can relate with Jody Day's and your experience. We have been so blessed by the women and men we have met through blogging at our blog EcceFiat. We now are blessed with knowing several of them in person. Again community is so important for grieving especially with infertility because the suffering is so hidden. There are no visible wounds. Thanks for sharing these insightful quotes. Praying for everyone.

  3. GREAT article, thanks so much for sharing! I have tried Spiritual Direction before, which I think is similar to therapy but with a faith-centered basis, and I found it to be helpful. It didn't necessarily "solve" anything but like you said, it was cathartic to be validated, and even more therapeutic to pray about my issues with someone to lead me through it.

    I said the same thing to my mom in the car this week: "No one knows what I'm going through, and no one cares, and I just wish they did." Like you, I know this isn't the answer to my pain, but it does hurt to feel isolated by grief. Thank goodness that we are all able to connect and share the same sentiments. Prayers!

  4. There are so few people who are willing to truly listed to someone else's suffering, either because they are absorbed in their own lives or because on some level they fear it's contagious or they just don't know how to deal with it. I think wanting those close to you to know you are suffering is part of the desire to be known and understood, which isn't about wanting to be the center of attention at all. It's a perfectly normal desire, just not one that is that easy to fulfill. I hope therapy is helping!

  5. Those are great quotes and so needed by anyone that is grieving! There are those that are dealing with the hidden things, but even with those things that are more obvious to the world, we have such a push to put on a brave face and "get over it". I feel like it's especially tough to grieve for the very things that our culture says are not that important. I don't have time to read that article right now, but I'm curious to go back later and check it out.

  6. Thanks for those quotes. I remember the first night I found the IF blogs--I was searching online for anything to make me feel that I wasn't alone in my grief. If I didn't have this wonderful virtual community, I think I'd be in far worse shape.

  7. Yes to all of this! Actually, grief/loss and bringing people to a place of healing after grief/loss primarily through a loving, connected relationship was a HUGE part of the conference we attended this past weekend. So I'm nodding along with everything you're saying here. And I have to say, you are not crazy at all for wanting to share this grief with others, to let them know about this terrible pain you feel inside you every day, a pain that is completely invisible to the fertile folks of the world. I think connecting to others is the best way to own our history and find ourselves in a good place with our grief, so saying, "I want them to know I'm suffering" is not self-centered at all. I mean, sure, it's about you getting your emotional and spiritual needs met, so I guess you could say it's self-centered in that it's about your needs. But you have to take care of yourself in all of this, and if relationship is going to be the best way to do it, then go ahead and let people know you're suffering. Easier said than done, I'm sure, but worth a shot!

  8. Wow, I have thought/felt those same things myself, and felt horrible for feeling that way. This was a great post,a dn those quotes are great

  9. "Grieving heals grief."

    I wish I could explain the emotions I felt when I read that sentence. Thank-you for sharing it.

  10. This is the great suffering and patience is the key to overcome this kind of suffering with a new ray of hope and firm believe in yourself.