Guilt, Plain and Simple

Again, I can’t properly express my gratitude for all of you and your unwavering support. I appreciate you all so much, I appreciate your understanding, your validation, your caring and your concern. I also appreciate your insight. Again and again you ask the important, difficult questions, prompting me to look harder at why I feel the way I do. This time it was Serenity who hit the proverbial nail on the head with this comment (I’m only including part of it here):

If I were my therapist (trust me, I’m not, my therapist has a new baby!), I’d ask you why you feel so insecure within this community when you’re clearly someone who contributes, who posts thoughtful entries, who rallies around other bloggers and offers love and support. It strikes me that you play the IF Pain Olympics as self-punishment.

First of all I wonder if your therapist and my therapist are in a therapist-mommy group together somewhere because mine just had a baby too – at 37 she got pregnant on the first month trying. But it’s cool. I’m not envious. At all.

But back to the real meat of that comment. Why do I torture myself with the Pain Olympics? Why did I write those posts?

In a word, guilt. Horrible, gut wrenching, unfailing guilt. I feel so incredibly guilt for the relative ease with which I have built my family. I feel immense shame for the way I’ve struggled so much with difficulties that pale in comparison to what other members of the community face. I loathe how gracelessly I’ve dealt with the hand I’ve been given–when it’s not even that bad a hand! I hate that I’m on the unfair side of the divide. That I’m the one almost EVERYONE here can look to and think, it’s so unfair. Why her and not me?

I feel so fucking guilty about it.

And I know it doesn’t do anyone any good to feel guilty, especially over something for which I have NO CONTROL. But I don’t know how to let go of my guilt. I don’t know how to set it free.

One of things I have most appreciated about this dialogue is the assurance that I am not alone in feeling alone. And while it makes me so sad to think that the one thing that unites us all is that we feel alone, it is also comforting. To know that I’m not the only one who feels that isolation, actually makes me feel less isolated. If that makes any sense.

I’m having a really hard time right now (SHOCKER!). I keep wavering between announcing a period of radio silence here while I get my shit straight or, well, just continuing to putter along, writing my sad sack posts and feeling crappy about it later. I honestly don’t know what to do. I am planning to start an intensive mindfulness meditation program this week, but honestly I don’t know how much it can help me. I’m planning on giving it 4-8 weeks (if after four I still feel this bad I’ll scratch it for now, if at that point I’m feeling better, I’ll keep it up for four more weeks) before I call my psychiatrist. The truth is I can’t keep this up for much longer. The lows are getting so low. And it’s not just about TTC. In fact, more than anything it’s about work and how incredibly impossible it seems, how just writing that sentence makes me cry. I can’t keep living day to day like this, feeling this weight crush down on me. It’s just too much. I need support. And even if I get pregnant, that weight will still be there. In fact, it will be work, because I will be dealing with the physical difficulties of pregnancy, which will make work even more unbearable.

So I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m that girl on the playground crying in a heap, causing everyone to come over and ask if she’s okay even though all she did was skin her knee. I HATE being that kid. That girl was NOT TOLERATED in my mother’s household and I’m ashamed of being her.

That’s me. Ashamed and guilty. What a great combination! No wonder I’m such a ridiculous mess.

6 responses

  1. Oh sweetie. Self-loathing. It’s awful. Please, please, be kind to yourself.

    You have no reason to apologize for feeling things deeply, and awfully. That idea that you SHOULDN’T be that girl on the playground, crying over the skinned knee? That’s your Inner Critic telling you that you shouldn’t have feelings.

    I have always done this, too, you know. I hate FEELING crappy. I want happiness, which I always looked at as being happy always. And when I wasn’t? I beat myself up for it.

    Working with my therapist has made me realize: feelings are feelings. And no matter how crushing they are right now, you can’t TALK yourself out of them. All you can do is feel them.

    Don’t waste your energy on beating yourself up for your feelings. FEEL them. Sit with them. It’s okay to be the girl crying on the playground. Because you know why? I means she feels things deeply, which means she also loves deeply. It means she’s an amazing mom and partner and friend. Because she also feels empathy for others and will go out of her way to help them feel better when they’re crying on the playground, too.



  2. “So I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m that girl on the playground crying in a heap, causing everyone to come over and ask if she’s okay even though all she did was skin her knee.” You know what? Everyone skins their knees and at least once or twice, we’ve all made a bigger deal of it than people think we should. It does not matter what other people think is a big deal – this is a big deal to you. I just posted about this (a PWP post because it was all about my fucked up family) a week or so ago about being allowed our own realities – that our reality should never be compared to someone else’s. If this is devastating to you – then it’s devastating. Your sadness does not need to be qualified AT ALL.

    I am actually angry right now knowing that you feel this way (not angry at you!) because it reminds me so much of my own parents and how they make me feel. And here’s why I’m angry – you closed with this: “That girl was NOT TOLOERATED in my mother’s household and I’m ashamed of being her.” E – do you think this may be the crux of the problem? I ask because this is the crux of almost every single one of my problems. Do you think you feel invalid in this community because you know your mother would tell you to get up, brush yourself off, and move on?

    And I will be the first (and not the last) to say this – what you’re going through for #2 is way harder than what I went through. As I’ve said in the past, once diagnosed infertile, it’s a huge relief because you get to bypass the shit of trying and just jump to it. I so wish you could have done that for your #2. I agonize WITH you every month that you don’t get pregnant. It breaks my heart.

    • You know, writing that last paragraph last night really did turn on a light bulb in my brain. I think a lot of this IS about my mom and her expectations of me. My mom had such a difficult life. She lost her mother, then grew up with an alcoholic, schizophrenic father. She put a daughter up for adoption when she was 17, then struggled or years to conceive me, then lost FOUR babies before she had my sister. And she never complained. She never reached out. She never expected sympathy or empathy. And we grew up with that role model, being sent to school when we were sick because it was expected we’d suck it up. Struggling, instead of overcoming, our problems was met with exasperation. My mom just didn’t know how to deal with things differently. She dealt with us in the way she had been dealt with herself. So yeah, this has been very eye opening for me. I’m definitely learning a lot about myself.

  3. Serenity is a wise one. I’m glad she said something that resonated for you.

    Taking it a step further, and pretending to be a therapist as well, is there a part of you that thinks such guilt could be useful? That by hurting now in this self-inflicted way you might even things up and thus merit an easy (-er) conception?

    Just hypothesizing. Could be way off base.

    I think it bears exploring your WHY, of being present with and conscious of it. That will be the key to releasing it.

  4. I’m sorry that you’re having a hard time right now, and that being part of/ not part of the community feels so rough. I remember when I was hitting that first year of trying mark feeling some of the same ways… not there long enough to have “street cred” but definitely not a newbie who was posting pics of every pee stick since 3 days after ovulation.

    I will say, though, speaking practically, that sometimes I have to come back and read your blog all by itself, when I can zoom my screen way in and pull my computer up closer to my face. The type is kind of small on my computer and the background is really dark. I like the look, but wonder if ease of reading might have something to do with commenting? Not making light of your feelings, at all, but just telling you my experience with reading/commenting.

    I think you’re a very valuable part of the community and your experience is just as real and painful and rewarding as anyone out there doing IVF or adoption or IUI or having that unexpected positive.

    I also hope that you don’t make it to the one year mark.. I hope you get that positive and are able to move forward with your new little one without feeling so bad.

  5. I’ve read this post a bunch, and I’m not sure what to say, other than that I get it. For me, I have concluded that guilt is a lie. Any time I’m guilty it’s because I’m feeling something else and I think I shouldn’t feel that way for some reason (probably because someone told me I shouldn’t so often that I believed it) so I’m guilty as a way of hiding whatever is going on. Then I get to be guilty instead of mad or sad or jealous or secretly happy. Not sure if it’s the same for you, but since I get what you’re saying, maybe it resonates for you too. Also remember that feeling like you aren’t part of anything seems to be a tell-tale part of being part of this wonky community… so go figure. We’re a peculiar bunch, but we love you and try to love ourselves anyway.

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