Apr 22, 2014

Just show up

As you know, it's National Infertility Awareness Week, and I am interviewing three marvelous women, all in different stages of their journey with infertility. Today I'd like to introduce you to the incredible Sizzle, from Sizzle Says. She is sassy and real, and has endured so much. I am honored to welcome her here today.

What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word infertility? Has that changed over time? The first thing I think of is "trouble getting pregnant." I immediately think of IVF. What I've come to learn, now that I'm this group, is that there are a multitude of reasons why a couple could be infertile. We do not fit the traditional reasons. First it was cervical cancer, now it is a fibroid. 

What does infertility mean/look like for you? For me, it's a large fibroid sitting on the top of my uterus which causes a host of complications including closing my remaining tube. I was pregnant last year but it was ectopic. It ruptured my fallopian tube when I was about 9 weeks along. I lost the baby and my tube and a lot of blood. We would not be able to get pregnant without more surgery and costly IVF. I am about to turn 41. After all the surgeries I've endured in the past two years, we've decided not to pursue medical intervention but rather look into adoption. 

What has been the best/worst thing said to you about infertility? Worst: people telling us we can adopt or get a surrogate. In their effort to "fix" this for us they have pushed our grief aside. We cannot have our own biological children. That's something we are grieving. Every alternative comes with an emotional and monetary price.

Best: Oddly enough it came from a childhood friend I haven't had contact with in years who messaged me on Facebook of all places. He told me that he always thought he had to have his own biological kids, that he couldn't love a kid who wasn't of his blood, but when his first child was born he realized how much love he did have to give. He told me that I would be a wonderful mother and any child would be lucky to have me raise them. Others have said something similar but maybe this one interaction hit home for me. 

Do you have a coping technique that works for you? Does screaming while driving on the freeway count as coping? Honestly, I've not been coping very well. Mostly I've spent the past year keeping to myself which is not like me. I'm a blogger and extrovert. I've found it hard to trust people with my vulnerability. I take long walks and spend time with friends who have shown up for me when things have been heavy and dark. I try to laugh and not take everything so seriously. 

I can't survive without humor - so to find a little bit of that, what's been the most ridiculous moment of your infertility journey so far? There are a few but they are more like inside jokes that probably wouldn't translate if I tried to write them out. There was a time where I texted a friend, "My vagina hasn't had this much action since the high point of my dating years back in my 20's." You go to a lot of appointments when you're dealing with infertility. Ahem. 

What would you like people to know about infertility? The most important thing for me has been loved ones who have shown up for me. They have listened to my sorrow and come over even when I've told them I don't want company, bearing whiskey and chocolate. They do not push my grief along for the sake of their own comfort. They don't let me beat myself up when I am angry, depressed, wanting to scream. If you can be that kind of friend to someone, do it. Infertility is not often spoken of and it can feel incredibly lonely. If you can listen, you are giving a wonderful gift.

It's amazing how many times I nodded my head while reading her answers. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sizzle for blogging about your journey, and for sharing part of that here today. To read more from Sizzle check out her blog Sizzle Says, or find her on Twitter.

Not sure how to help spread awareness for National Infertility Awareness Week? Head over to Resolve and see what you can do!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Great interview. It's always helpful for me to learn more about infertility and the emotions involved because it (hopefully) helps me be a better friend to you. And for the record, screaming while driving down the freeway totally counts as a coping technique. I have been known to do the same on particularly bad days.

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Screaming while driving = definitely a coping technique.
Also, I love the idea of "showing up"- I had a friend go through a miscarriage a few years ago and of course I had no idea what to do for her... I kept googling it (apparently I think google has all the answers). In the end I realized it was just that I showed up that made the difference, nothing specific I did.
I also like how Sizzle explains what she feels when people suggest adoption. I think it's our natural reaction to want to "fix" things for a friends, and people don't understand how this can make the person going through infertility feel.
Great post. :)

Nora said...

Totally get the idea of showing up; and listening, too! I'm glad to know more of what we CAN do for our friends going through the various stages and types of infertility. Thank you for sharing Sizzle's story and broadening our horizons. xo

Sizzle said...

Thanks for honoring my story by asking me to participate. I appreciate you sharing about infertility & the people with the stories.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Becky, I love that you have reached out to others in the infertility community and that you are trying to find connections as well as differences among each of you.

Sizzle, oh how I've missed your beautiful face. It saddens me that others have tried to define or even generalize this time in your life ... and that you have retreated behind closed doors. I hope there comes a day when you are ready to share your love and smile and grief and everything else with the blogging community ... I know I'm not the only one who misses you and wishes I could be there to hold your hand.

Katelin said...

Screaming/Crying while driving is definitely one of my coping techniques. I've also discovered that crying in the shower has made me feel better.

But really, Sizzle I love your honesty in this post and I'm just so angry for you. Thank you Becky for sharing her story even more, you two are gems xo

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