In my 38+ years I have experienced a few times when I am in a genuine crisis. Not the “I need your attention my car won’t start Facebook Post” kind, but the life altering, world changing kind. The kind that you aren’t sure how you are going to make it, and when you do, you are never the same again.
The first one was when my mom had cancer the first time. I bore it quietly. I became enamored with spending money to feel better, and between my uninsured self running up my credit card on medical bills and my need to buy myself into peace, I wound up in a debt that took years to pay off. It was my secret, and I never told anyone. When things got better, I realized the “shop to feel better” thing was a thing and I had done this with little or no thought. I also realized it was simply not helpful.
The second one changed me forever. It lasted a long time, I didn’t “buy” myself out of it, but I tried to hide. Momma was sick with a bone infection, my dad and I weren’t getting along and my CPT at work was abusive. This went on for months and months and months. I had no real place to find peace. I was on the verge of an honest to God nervous breakdown. I turned to family for help and was told no one could to suck it up. I turned to the boyfriend at the time, and he pushed me away. I talked to the preacher, and it helped, but I was in crisis for a long time. A real crisis. Then my grandmother died, and momma fell and dad was in the hospital. Something inside broke. Even writing about it makes me antsy and upset. It all came to a head at work, and then a few short months later that boyfriend made tracks. (that worked out for the best, but still at the time it was horrid) This lead to me meeting my husband. Things settled into a little peace.
The third crisis was my new husband’s father passing a few weeks after the wedding. This was followed by my husband being laid off for 5 weeks and me running the worst call of my career. Two toddlers and their mom killed in a horrible accident. It was gruesome and hard. Then a few days later, Meniere’s Disease reared its ugly head and my first wedding anniversary was my last day as a firefighter. It was literally over just like that. We struggled as we found out Momma had cancer again and then with her passing a year to the minute of that first vertigo attack. How could I turn to family that was already in the throws of grief? I was unemployed, I got a kitten, she almost died. I bore it. I talked to my husband, I talked to my dad some, I learned to quilt. Things eventually died down with “mini crisis” alerts along the way. Like a storm, the thunder eventually faded, and the rain eventually stopped.
This crisis is different and yet still the same. We are both diagnosed with one kind of infertility or another. Both. Our dream of having kids is fading with each passing day and each poor test report from the doctor. My dad isn’t supportive of me having children because he is concerned for my well-being. My boss thinks I’m not healthy enough (I’m fat not in peril people). My older sister is struggling with a loss as is her daughter. My younger sister turns every conversation about this away from my fear and concerns to one of (or both) arenas “pray about it, if you have faith God will fix it” or “You aren’t the only one with problems, you need to realize that”. Sometimes I get the “I’m getting old too and I want another child and now you’ve upset me with your struggle”… I’m not blind to her struggle please understand that. I turned to them for support as I am in a full blown crisis. My entire world is resting on the outcomes of this test or that, and I can not even begin to heal or make plans until that next test tells us where we are. My need for help, support and just a shoulder to cry on is met with the attitude that my crisis isn’t worthy of their attention, or worse, my crisis isn’t important enough to even warrant my being upset of scared. I NEED help. I NEED support. I NEED someone who will recognize that infertility is a massive crisis and that it IS important to me, not counter it with other’s issues and down play the hell I am living right now. I have gotten worse responses. Things like “don’t eat gravy or cheese” or “if you have enough faith God will fix this” or “just hang out at abortion clinics and beg women for their babies”…. I shit you not.
I need to know my family is there to catch us when we fall. Clearly for me that isn’t the case. I’m falling and falling with no one to do much more than tell me that the parachute they have isn’t meant for me, its for someone else.
I get pissed too. SO pissed when I hear all this talk of “baby number 2 one of these days” that I want to slap the hell out of that person. I say “you have your son, enjoy that blessing” which is turned on me as if I meant it as some hurtful thing to push guilt off on them. My intent is to focus them on what they DO have, not remind me that they want another one and that it might not happen. I KNOW I’ll never have two. I will most likely never have one.
I’m so sad and angry. I’m so upset that in this crisis, no one can stop long enough to validate my suffering. I’m pretty focused on my issue right now because it is such a massive issue. I haven’t turned anyone away when they come to me, or turned their crisis into some selfish rant about myself, nor have I told them to get off their pitty pot or pray harder or anything else. I have listened and I have been supportive and I have given what little I have left to be there for them. Now that the cup is empty, no one seems to want to see that I’m all given out. All given out. I’ve nothing left.
I’m empty, I’ve nothing left to give and nothing left for myself. That’s the reality of having a poor support system outside the crisis.