Saturday, January 03, 2009

Diarrhea of the Mouth

Today, I did something I swore up and down I would not do when we started this process: I talked openly with my mother about it. And now I wish I could turn back the clock and take it all back.

It had started to come out slowly. Several weeks ago, early in the IVF cycle, I told her I had PCOS and that we were "pursuing treatments" to try and have a baby. I suppose there's not a huge leap between telling her that and talking about IVF, but it seemed like talking about it in general terms left a veil -- however thin -- of mystery around it. "Treatments" could be almost anything -- injecting yourself every night with FSH before having your eggs harvested, or eating more broccoli. She didn't know the particulars, the mechanics.

Then came the miscarriage and I just felt like that changed everything. I found it impossible to get through Christmas Day without telling her -- it was an ugly elephant in the room -- so when we found ourselves alone that night and she guessed that I'd lost a baby, there was nothing to do but nod my head. I was tired of suffering in silence. And she made me glad that I told her. She was unconditionally supportive and it felt great to have another source of comfort, another outlet for expressing my overwhelming emotions.

She came over today to help me with a sewing project (lest you be impressed with the sound of that, rest assured that we didn't get very far with the sewing), and somehow I just started talking and it all came out: the Clomid, the failed IUIs, the arrival at IVF, the excitement of learning I was pregnant. I spent most of last night wide awake, thinking about everything that had happened, and I think it felt like a relief to talk about it for a while. To tell the whole story.

For a long time, I've wished that I could have my mother's support through this time. It just felt like too much of a risk to seek it. Our relationship, like many between mothers and daughters, is complex, and it makes me feel vulnerable to have shared all of this with her. I worry what she might do with the information, how she might process it, whether it might come back to bite me somehow. I worry about other people finding out. I'm not embarrassed about needing IVF (I've long been desensitized; it now seems more "normal" to me than doing the deed to get pregnant), and over the past year have grown more open about it. In fact, I see myself more and more as having a responsibility to share my story, as if in the telling I might somehow help another infertile woman somewhere. But I am still cautious; talking about it feels like revealing something deep and true about myself.

I wish I could take it back, but clearly my only option is to trust whatever instinct told me to put it out there today. And hope that soon, there will be a baby -- a child and a grandchild -- in front of us, and how he or she got there will be a distant memory and a minor concern.


Anonymous said...

i had a very similar experience with my mother. we hadn't told her anything about ttc over the past 2 years. after my m/c though, i exploded into a mess of tears and told her everything. i'm glad i did, it's better not to have that secret.

i hope your mother comes through for you and continues to offer you the support you need.

JamieD said...

I know just how you feel. I want to open up to my Mom, but I am just uncomfortable doing it. We are fairly close and I know she means well but when I try to open up to her she says all the wrong things. I know it my heart it is completely unintentional but it doesn't make it hurt any less. For some reason, since she is my mother, I feel like she should ~know~ what I need to hear but she never does.

Mo and Will said...

I hope that she continues to earns your trust in this area. Something compelled you to put your story out there - and I'm glad that so far she's responded in supportive and appropriate ways.

It's such a rock and a hard place to so need the support of others around us but be so vulnerable to the imperfect responses that they are likely to give.


Michelle said...

I am glad you told your mom. You need all the support you can get. I too hope that she keeps your trust and uses it for good and not evil. ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

That could have been me writing it except for the final part of letting her in on the details. Especially during the miscarriage, I have missed her a lot. I really miss the support that I would get from her if she knows but I am just scared that it might only end up hurting her more and cause her to worry abt me. I dont want her to join the sob party that DH and I are in!
I hope your mom offers you the support that you are looking for.

kirke said...

I hope that sharing with your mother brings only good things.

Sometimes it just feels so much better to get it out. It's a heavy load to carry alone. I am thankful for all the people who listen to me (IRL and in bloggyland).

I would have gone crazy many months ago if it weren't for you.

bunny said...

i haven't told my family anything about our fertility journey. my dad is too much of a worrier (that's where i get my own worrying from)and i'm not sure i could handle the endless inquiries. that being said, i have been on the brink of sharing many times-- families often bring the unconditional support one needs, especially when on a the reproductive roller coaster. i'm glad you were able to tell your mom and hope that this brings you another listening ear, comfort, and support.

Nicole said...

I am happy to hear you had a positive sharing experience with your mom. I know that my mom has been a huge support system for me as we have dealt with infertility and I continue to lean on her. It is important to me to include her because it is so important for people to learn and understand IF, not just be ignorant about it. For me, that starts with my mother. Knowledge is power, and there should be NO shame in our experience.

My mom and I do have boundaries--I share only what and when I want and she can ask questions about IF and the process when she wants. I try to just give her the general info unless I want her to know specific to us. It seems to be a good system.

Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

I think it makes perfect sense to want to be able to share this with your mother. With me, it is almost instinctual-- my mother is the first person I want to call when anything bad happens (even though I know from years of experience that she is not very comforting to me in these moments). I also think there is something about experiencing a m/s that makes you want to be seen-- that makes you want your loss to be visible.

It was brave of you to open up to her, and regardless of the ultimate consequences, you made the right decision for you, and that is what is most important.

Anonymous said...

I understand the conflicting feelings of having told your mother. I also swore that I would not be telling my mom, but I did end up telling her about 8 months into treatments. She was really great about it.

I'm so glad that it felt great to have her support and comfort. It really is a relief to finally tell the story. You followed your instincts, and I hope that your mother continues to provide support for you. It is scary to open up and share something so intimate and painful.

Megan said...

I could have written this post. I wish I had the "we-tell-eachother-everything-and-talk-every-day" kind of relationship with my mother, but I don't. She has never respected my privacy when I have told her things. I had told her about my pregnancy, so I had to tell her about my miscarriage. The first thing she said was, "well, you really have to watch what you eat when you are pregnant." I guess implying that my poor nutrition caused my baby not to develop. It was so hurtful that I haven't told her anything else and that was well over a year ago...

I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope you get the support you need from your mother.

Nicole said...

I hope you are doing alright...we miss you here.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I'm thinking about you. I hope you are ok.
HUGE hugs

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