Wednesday, February 27, 2013


After not being pregnant within a year of TTC, I started reading IF blogs and then I started labelling myself "an infertile" whenever I talked to my close friends via email. Hearing the bitter and angry tone of my emails, they were shocked. They wondered why I even used that label to call myself. I felt as though some of them had probably thought I was "jinxing" myself for calling myself an infertile. One of them got pregnant on their twelve month of trying, so she had probably thought that it was "too soon" for me to call myself that. I know and knew she meant well, that she wanted to encourage us to keep hoping and trying.

But I got angry because they "wouldn't let me" label myself that way (self-defense mechanism kicked in). I must've responded to their well-meaning words in a harsh way, because after that they were much more careful in saying anything to me related to my IF journey. Bless them!!! :-)

I felt so desperate back then. I WANTED to label myself because I was searching for a place to "belong" in all the madness, in all the chaos. I was searching for people who were able to make me feel less alone, who could help me make sense of what I was feeling. If labelling myself helped me find my "peers", then so be it!!! I don't care even if it "jinxed" me. 

Conclusion: I find that sometimes it IS necessary and even healthy to label yourself so that you can learn from your "peers". 

Mind you, though, I don't actually share these labels in real life freely unless I feel that I need or want to do so. :-) In the beginning, though, I felt like I wanted to scream out the word "infertile" to everybody 'coz I felt that my pains were "unseen" and "unheard".

These days I mostly use the words "infertile" or CNBC in this blog rather than anywhere else. Because this is my safe haven, where I feel most understood in terms of this part of my life. :-)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Infertility Avenue

Wolfers' comment on my previous post gave me this idea, so here goes:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Three August Babies

Yep, three babies are coming to the world this August. I've known about two of them for a while already, but I just found out about the third one. A cousin's wife is gonna have their second child in August as well. I felt a pang in my heart when I got my Mom's SMS. The phrase that echoed in my heart told me that I felt "left behind"

I was wondering what made me feel "left behind", so I went soul searching to find out what it was all about. For some weird reason, the first thing that came up was my Mom's status as a grandmother. Why? Because my cousin's mother (my aunt) has three kids and she's got 6 grandchildren already. This upcoming baby will be her seventh grandchild. I couldn't help comparing my Mom and this aunt (it wasn't a conscious effort on my part - the thoughts just came tumbling down as soon as I received the news), because my Mom will probably only get two grandchildren in her lifetime (and I'm RELIEVED that she's actually gonna get more than one because at one point in time, my bro told me that he didn't want more than one child). Sadness swept across my heart.

I didn't feel any guilt, though but after that, I couldn't help thinking about hubby's loss, either. Out of the blue I had this image of a small child playing with hubby and it took me by surprise. I had to let the image go, along with hubby's loss, along with my Mom's loss. The sadness wasn't overwhelming, but I felt it nonetheless and I felt compelled to grieve again.

So I think I felt more "left behind" (read: sad) in terms of not being able to give joy (or share joyful news) to those around me (AKA my Mom and hubby), whereas other people (in this case SIL and my cousin) were able to share the joyful news twice already. Another reason is probably 'coz the third baby coming is a surprise baby and that baby's gonna make my friend a grandmother at a rather young age (to be a grandmother, I mean). And it just hit me that I'd never be able to become a grandmother. In the past I never really thought this far ahead 'coz most of my friends my age aren't of the age when they can become grandparents yet. Another thing to let go of...

Last night I visualised splitting myself up in two: the sad me and the me-as-my-own-best-friend. The me-as-my-own-best-friend held on to the sad me in a tight and warm embrace, saying over and over again, "It'll be OK. Everything's gonna be OK. We're gonna be OK." The grieving process didn't take too long this time. 

This infertility journey is really an enigma. You'll never know when a certain story or a patch of news will evoke surprising thoughts/emotions within you. There are so many levels and layers of grief that you need to work through, so many things to let go of. I felt rather frustrated at first when I felt what I felt because at first it made no sense, but now that I know what I had to let go of, I'm much calmer and I'm just gonna embrace every single part of the journey.

P.S. Infertility reminds me of the keloid on my right elbow. I had a small operation done to remove a very stubborn and deeply-rooted wart that wouldn't go away (I know, yuck!) decades ago. Once the stitches were removed (there were only 3), I was hoping that there would be no scars, but alas...not long after that, the skin got ugly and bumpy. My doctor friend told me it was called keloid. 

These days the scars aren't as clear as before, but whenever it's bumped a certain way accidentally, I can feel it in my nerves and depending on how hard I bump it, it can be either very unpleasant or even painful (not painful like you're being hit on the gut, but the nerves are very tender there). And I guess that's what infertility does. My wounds are healed, not bleeding anymore...but there are scars left (keloid) that sometimes still feel unpleasant or even painful on days when they "bump" into things.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Then and Now: Victim vs Survivor

Last night before I went to bed, I started mulling over my previous post and this idea came. What else was different then and now? Back then I felt like a victim. Totally. Completely. Indisputably. I felt confused because of the many feelings that I was experiencing and when I confided them to my closest friends, they didn't understand. I needed to reach out to people who understood, who would help me validate my feelings, who could make me feel "sane" in all the insanity that I felt. 

So during my search for sanity amidst the storms of IF, I started sharing infertility articles that validated my "plight", but I shared those as a victim. I shared those mostly because I wanted to understand myself and mostly because I felt like screaming out to others, "Look at me!!! I'm in pain. Great pain. Now I'm beginning to understand why. I have the right to feel all this and I am NOT crazy. I know you probably don't even know why I'm in pain. Look at me! Can't you see how many scars I have? Can't you see how much pain some of you have inflicted on me? Can't you??!?!?!?!?!?!?!"

I think the switch started happening gradually but surely after we decided to stop TTC and to surrender to life without kids. It didn't happen over a month or even a year...I think it took more or less two years before my victim mentality was finally taken over almost completely by my survivor mentality. I'm an IF survivor now, though every now and then the shadows of the victim mentality zig-zag in and out of my consciousness. 

So nowadays when I share infertility articles, I share them as a survivor. I share them knowing that those who won't open their minds and hearts will probably not understand at all what an infertile may go through, but that those who are willing to listen and open their hearts may be enlightened and that even if only one soul is enlightened and one heart is opened up, then that's for the greater good of mankind. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Then and Now: Feelings on Motherhood

One of the aspects of reading that I like is that it may make me understand something about myself that I haven't realized yet. 

During TTC, when I was so bent on joining the motherhood tribe, I always felt out of place or even "ashamed" to say that I had no kids, because that meant I didn't belong in that tribe I wished desperately to join. That I couldn't possibly understand the intricacies of having a life growing inside me, that I couldn't possibly understand how it felt like to give birth, to hold a baby for the first time in my arms, how tough it would be to find ways to make a child avoid certain kinds of food that may make him/her allergic, how to deal with the child's bullies etc. etc. etc.

Because of this shame (actually, Mali has written a brilliant and thought-provoking post on this topic: Infertility and Shame), I felt this urge to (over)compensate for the non-mom status in whichever way possible. I think the urge came partly from myself and partly from society because there was this little voice inside me that said that the world expected something else from me because I was a non-mom, so I felt pressured or even burdened to be able to "give more" to society in other ways so to speak. This urge wasn't constant, though, and it wasn't that strong, but I did feel it every now and then back then.

And curiously enough during that time I remember having the wish to try to understand motherhood by reading blogs about child rearing, even though that actually never really happened because my bleeding heart couldn't take it (but I accepted my closest friends kiddies stories with open arms - probably because it's easier to accept the kids that had been born before we started TTC and because I know they love their kids).

Nowadays, though, I've sensed a shift in this area. These days I don't feel ashamed anymore about my non-mom status (though I can't say for sure when the shift started). I feel more like saying, "I'm a non-mom. So what? It's true that I may not understand too much of what parents are dealing with, but in the same way I don't expect parents to truly understand what I've been going through, either. Every journey is different and even a parent's stories will differ from another's. At least I have some people who understand what I've been going through and that's enough. I'm willing to enlighten anyone who wants to listen to my infertility story, but the bottom line is that I've let go of my dream to join the motherhood tribe, so it's okay even if I don't get it. It's okay even if I can't share my own motherhood stories. It's okay even if I can't share my own tips and tricks as a mother. It's okay even if I can't show you any kiddy pictures. I'm okay.

P.S. Mind you, I'm not saying I'm "completely healed" and feelings may fluctuate (esp. during PMS), but I'd like to call this progress and I just want to write this down for future reference. :-)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Point of No Return: Zombie Analogy

If someone asked me what drove me to say "It's enough. Let's get this over with and start a new chapter in life: life without kids", then I'd explain it with a zombie analogy. 

You see, in many zombie stories, if a zombie bites you, then in time you'll turn into a zombie yourself. So if a zombie bites your leg or arm for example, if you don't want to turn into a zombie, you'll have to chop it off. It's gonna be such a painful process and it'd take time before your wound heals, but if you turn into a zombie, you're also a menace to your surroundings and the people around you. And once you turn into a zombie, the only "loving" thing that your loved ones can do is kill you before you have a chance to bite them and turn them into zombies, too. What kind of option is that, right?

That was what I felt. I didn't want to turn into a "zombie". I felt as though I was that close to turning into a "zombie", so I had to "chop off the infected part" even though it was SO painful to do so. I had to stop it before I became too obsessed (I have the tendency to do so), before it was too late, before my "zombie virus" threatened to overcome my whole being that I'd even jeopardize my marriage and relationships with others and myself (due to envy, jealousy, anger, guilt, cynicism, grief, sorrow, and the whole smorgasbord of unbearable feelings). 

It did cross my mind that if I could have continued TTC without being "obsessed" about it, I would've probably continued, but because I couldn't do so, I had to draw the line somewhere (my heart just couldn't handle it anymore). Reading hundreds of IF blogs helped me in making the decision, because there was no guarantee that a baby was going to be in our future no matter how hard we tried. Reading IF blogs who tell stories about life without kids after infertility especially helped me to be surer of the decision. 

I'm grateful to all those people who've bared their hearts and souls in their blogs during their IF journeys.

P.S. Almost forgot: Heard SUPERB NEWS about two friends' health concerns I mentioned in my previous post. They're both cleared from the first diagnoses. WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 8, 2013


January was a tough month. Amongst the happy baby birth/pregnancy announcements, there were two deaths as well as plenty of health concerns. My heart felt heavy, esp. with worry 'coz my friends' health concerns aren't confirmed yet. Waiting for the proper diagnoses isn't fun at all. 

An ex-school friend had a sudden attack of asthma that took her life. She was going to get married this month. Can't imagine how the groom-to-be must be feeling (her parents had died years back). :-(

A cousin's hubby died of a heart attack. They got married the same year we did.  

Facebook has also bombarded me with lots of invitations to join this and that cause. Sometimes life feels SO darn simple, yet sometimes it feels WAY too complicated and heavy. One of the things I do to "escape" from all the heavy stuff is reading Japanese manga or looking at cute animal pics.***

I'm glad January has ended. Currently I'm enjoying reading this manga based on a real life thread. This kind of manga gives me hope in mankind and it's also very funny. :-D Besides, this manga reminds me of our long distance relationship, so I cried and laughed along with the character. reading stories like this! :-D

*** Reading manga or looking at cute animal pics isn't without its own risks. Some days it's tough to see a "typical happy ending with babies involved" and some days it's tough to read the captions on animal pics that focus on "motherhood/parenthood". Other days, though, I'm fine with them. :-)