Why I’m angry that is. I finally figured out why I’ve been so angry lately. It’s nice to have a reason why.
I’m angry that I’m going through this really difficult time, and no one in my life cares. And I’m angry that our cultural expectations don’t require them to care. I’m angry that it’s totally okay–expected even–for people to post pictures of ultrasounds and baby bumps but it would be frowned upon for me to post a picture of a stark white BFN, with a comment about how devastating it feels. I’m mad that I’m supposed to like and comment on and respond enthusiastically to pregnancy and birth announcements and no one is required to give a shit about my struggles to get pregnant, just like they weren’t required to give a shit about my ectopic pregnancy. I’m frustrated that our culture only has room for the good news and hides the bad, because that kind of society only supports people when they don’t actually need support, leaving everyone else to struggle silently and alone.
I’m angry that I’m expected to celebrate everyone’s happiness while I’m not allowed to express my unhappiness. I’m angry that I’m required to care about people’s good news but there is no expectation that they will acknowledge my bad news. I’m angry that attention only flows toward the good, sidestepping the bad entirely.
I’m angry that I have to go through all of this completely alone (IRL). That there is no one to recognize or validate what I’m going through. Mostly I’m angry that there isn’t even a societal expectation that someone will be there for me. Basically, we accept this kind of isolation and rarely expect anyone to step up and show us that they care. It pisses me off.
It pisses me off that I basically had to pay someone last week to give a shit about my struggles. I had to hire someone to listen to me explain how hard this is. How messed up is that?
Seriously, if it weren’t for this community, there would be literally NO ONE I could talk to about this stuff, save my partner and occasionally my mom.
And speaking of this community, my realization of the anger-making has created some insight into why my feelings have been so hurt recently by what I’ve seen happening in the ALI blogosphere as well. Because even here–when self-preservation necessitates it–people can just walk away. If they can’t handle your sadness, if they need to leave that part of their life behind, they can just go, moving on to experience their happily ever after. And of course it’s infinitely more complicated and nuanced than that, but when you’re the one left behind, it can really feel that way, like people just can’t be bothered to care about you anymore.
And of course that is not what is going on. It’s not even what’s happening on sites like Facebook, where it really does seem like people can’t be bothered. And honestly, I don’t know if it would be better for us to talk openly about our struggles. Maybe if everyone talked about how they were suffering we’d all be sadder for it. And I don’t presume to insist that we owe it to each other to lift one another up during times of difficulty. I also don’t presume to insist that people support people when it’s not in their best interest to do so, whether in this community or in the real world. I’m just trying to express how hard it is to be on the other side of that need to move on. How challenging it is to walk through the dark times all by yourself, pretending like everything is hunky dory when it’s not.
We go out of our way to celebrate pregnancy and child birth. And I’m not saying it’s wrong to do so, but I hate that it comes at such a high price to those who struggle to conceive or lose pregnancies or babies. I hate that it leaves those people all alone; makes their burdens even harder to bear.
And of course, a lot of my anger is just about being frustrated that I’m stuck here, still trying. I’m also realizing that I really, truly believed that this time around would be easy, that I’d follow in the footsteps of so many IFers and find the path to baby #2 a quicker, smoother one. After all, I got pregnant twice in a year last time! Surely this time it would be simpler. And yet it’s not, and I don’t understand why and I’m ANGRY about it. It’s like I’m going through the stages of mourning, but I’m mourning this idea I had for my life. And I’m mourning what I wanted my family to look like. And I’m mourning that I will never have ONE PART of my family building experience go the way I’d hoped it would. Instead it will be defined, in its entirety, by bitter negotiation and compromise, then struggle and loss. That will be the ONLY story of family building that I ever get to experience, and I’m ANGRY about that.
And I’m angry that no one, at least not in real life, is expected to acknowledge that loss, let alone support me through it.