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Solving puzzles and fighting bitterness

August 3, 2009

A friend likened my struggle to solving a puzzle. First there was the puzzle pieces of actually conceiving which appear to have fallen in place (knock on wood, throw salt over shoulder, any and all superstitions go here). Then we ran into the next obstacle of actually, you know, keeping the child ticking in my womb. We might know the answer to this puzzle and be able to kiss our third baby. [Which, by the way, for others who have miscarried multiple times, does it ever get less surreal when doctors ask you “how many pregnancies have you had?” to answer them with multiples when you have nothing to show for it? It blows my mind to tell them two, surreal]

I’ve decided I can’t wait to solve the puzzle. I’m still bleeding from my miscarriage so I won’t get my period until the end of August so September we try again.  I’m nervous because my job ends in September, the month we plan to try and I don’t know what that means as far as insurance, but as long as insurance stuff can be worked out and I can keep my doctor it will be September. I’m so nervous about losing my doctor and having to start this all over again with someone else. Hopefully it will all work out.

In the meantime I’m fighting bitterness which is threatning to close around me like a hollow shell. We went out to Target and as I passed the baby section filled with prams and baby seats I felt a tangible bitterness like biting into a mango peel. I had to literally look away. I saw my mother smile at a small white frock and run her hand over the lacy material and felt my insides turn. Every baby I see sends a hollow echo through my womb. The news of baby genders from people who conceived when I did the first go around are pouring in and they are frankly suffocating me with grief. Not bitterness towards what they have, just bitterness about what I do not. My therapist raises his eyebrows when I say I shouldn’t have miscarried. He says life has its own ways of working, we can’t say what should or should not happen. Should rings of entitlement which leads to hurt and bitterness when one does not get what they think is their right. But fucking hell, I do feel I’m entitled to carry the child I conceive to full term. I think that is my right. If I miscarry I think its a fucking crime and I think it shouldn’t have happened and if I could arrest someone and prosecute to the full extent of the law I sure as fucking hell would.  Still, though my feelings are understandable I need to fight this bitterness.  Bitterness is like the vines that wrap around abandoned buildings blocking the windows from light, cracking the walls, hiding all beauty. If I stand still and allow the seeds of bitterness to take root they will take over leaving me a shell of who I am. I don’t want this and I’m determined to fight the feeling that threatens to take me hostage.  How do you fight bitterness? How do you keep yourself filled with hope and joy despite the seeds of bitterness that fall every day against your doorstep?

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16 comments

  1. How do I fight bitterness? I don’t have an answer. I’m slowly starting to believe that I will have a baby someday. I guess my best help is reading other people’s stories.

    “I saw my mother smile at a small white frock and run her hand over the lacy material and felt my insides turn.”

    Last weekend, I watched my parents coo over a pregnant girl and I had to leave because I wanted that to be me and I resented the girl so much. I’m tearing up just thinking about it.


  2. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your thoughts & prayers. I am indeed sorry for your second loss also. It seems soooo unfair. I hope that we both find the strength to face each day and hope again. Big hugs!
    Tanika


  3. I’m crap at fighting bitterness. I tend to roll with the bitter until I caint roll no more. And then I start to get past it. And then I sink back into bitter again. Over and over again.

    And I’m with you. I should have been able to carry all my babies to term. I feel cheated and bitter and angry – oh god do I still feel angry – that I wasn’t given that gift. Your therapist might be right in a Universe kind of way, but the anger that you feel? That’s real, and I totally get it.

    Thinking of you, and hoping it gets a bit easier.


  4. I don’t know how to fight the bitterness either. I feel it is my right too, to at least have a chance at a baby, and I can’t even get that. Right now I’m struggling with “why me?” and I hate myself for it. I’m trying not to resent my own sister when she complains about how tired she is, dealing with a new baby as well as a three year-old. I’m tired too, just in a totally different way.

    I hope you can solve your puzzle, and I really hope it all works out with your job ending and all that. My insurance doesn’t cover infertility, so I don’t know when, if ever, I will have a shot at solving my own puzzle.


  5. You have every right to feel angry and bitter. How to get past that bitterness? Hmmmmm. That is really tough. You ARE working toward a solution. You plan to go to get checked out by a specialist. I think get getting to a RE and being monitored post ovulation is a very good idea. In the the book “A Few Good Eggs” drugs given early finally worked for one of the authors who had problems carrying to term. I learned a lot about that IF factor from the book, I was amazed. I sincerely hope and wish that you get past all this. I want you to have happiness and all good things in life. Hugs.


  6. The surrealness never does go away. I have been pregnant five times and I have no children. I SHOULD have five children. You SHOULD have two children. Rings of entitlement? We ARE entitled to our children!

    Does that answer the bitterness question? 🙂

    I don’t know how to get past the bitterness, and I think even if I ever bring home a healthy baby to hug and kiss and raise and smell and even one day fight with and send to college and watch marry etc… Even if all of that happens, I don’t see ever being able to feel less bitter at the fact, that there should be more. Bitterness that my children have died. I do think that one day the bitterness won’t choke out everything else. That one day the bitterness will be relegated to a smaller portion of my being, though. One day, I hope that the joys will be great enough and the bitterness weak enough that the joy overtakes it. But just like it takes time for a garden to mature against weeds, it will take take time for joy to beat back the bitterness.


  7. I truly think that bitterness is part of the grief of losing a pregnancy. Just let it wash over you. Dont suck it in and breathe it, but if you dont acknowledge it, it will try to eat away at you.

    I hate telling doctors how many pregnancies I’ve had and going over my labors, etc, to come back to “but I have no living children.” It’s bad enough to just give them the number of pregnancies. But it is worse when they look at me a little odd like and ask me to repeat it. REALLY?? I just gave it to the other doctor- could you just read my chart and not ask?


  8. Baby, I wrote the book on bitterness. 😉

    Seriously though, I wish I could give you some pointers on how to overcome it all. My right to bear children was taken away from me while I was still in the womb….at my most helpless state. Life often reeks of unfairness.

    I *so* wish you would have gotten to meet your first 2 babies here on Earth. Nothing and no one will ever replace them. They will always be unique and special and loved. It is my honest belief that you *will* meet them again one day on the other side. Until then, keep honoring their memory.


  9. I am bitter every day, well every day I see a pregnant woman or a cute little kid and wonder if I will ever have one of my own. I’m bitter about how easily it came to everyone I know. I dislike my sister-in-law more than ever, whereas before I put up with her pretty well. But now she’s pregnant. Now I insulate myself from everyone who is.
    Just this weekend I saw a pregnant lady at a wedding, and I hated her. It’s a constant struggle. But I have gained a snarky, dark kind of humor these days. It really helps me get through it all.
    I’m so sorry you are hurting like this, but you are not hurting alone, neither are you the only bitter one by far. It’s made me feel so much better to read everyone’s comments and realize that we are all bitter for what should have been, and there’s nothing wrong with that.


  10. Thanks everyone for your insight into this topic. It’s strangely comforting to know we all battle the war against bitterness to varying degrees. I guess it tells me I’m normal. A normal IFer, that is.


  11. Thank you so much for the beautiful quote. It really was perfect, I wrote it down in my planner, in a place I see every day.

    You have amazing strength. You will solve this puzzle and overcome this bitterness. I wish I could offer advice on how to overcome it quickly and easily but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last year it’s that bitterness is tenacious. I think it’s like an addiction that you’ve kicked but still struggle with daily. Like, my name is Astrid and I’m a recovering bitter person. And just like a recovering alcoholic I have to battle bitterness every day, probably for the rest of my life. I have to give myself affirmations every day (I am lucky, I am healthy, I have a fulfilling life), find healthy things to fill the unhealthy cavity that bitterness has left in my heart, surround myself with people who encourage me to be healthy rather than send me back into the pit of despair, appreciate the things in life that make me happy and that I love. Every hour of every day I have to do these things. I’ve felt it get easier over the months. But today I cried about my loss. And I probably will again next week and next month. But we need to accept that we will still have relapses and we have to pick ourselves up and cannot lose sight of the daily blessings and victories that we experience between the dark moments. And those dark moments will get farther apart. Just keep working at it. You will get to a place where you are at peace. At least I hope that’s how it will happen. I think it is.


  12. I think Michelle hit it on the head, bitterness is a part of anger and grief. You’re natural, normal, it’s ok to feel how you feel. I’m so sorry for all you’re going through, it’s not fair.


  13. You can’t fight your feelings, nor should you have to. They’re real, they’re yours. I used to have the same feeling. It wasn’t jealousy or envy, or even anger, it was just bitter, bitter sadness. A friend of mine got pregnant three months before I did. When I went to her baby shower all I could think is “I should be here beside her getting rounder and knowing my shower is next.” It was so incredibly unfair to lose that pregnancy after years of trying.

    I kept telling myself that I had no power over whether or not I could get or stay pregnant, no control over the pain or grief…I could only control what I DID. I was sad inside, but I chose not to let it rule me and I went to that shower…because my friend needed me there. I decided to try and get pregnant again, even though it meant more shots and doctor’s visits, and the fear of getting pregnant and miscarrying again made me nauseous on transfer day. It was the only thing that worked…have a good cry, think about the next step, and move on. Own that pain…just don’t let it own you.


  14. Astrid, thanks for you insight. I think it is a form of recovery to escape from this feeling but you’re right its a cavity that we try to fill though sometimes like moments you are going through, its normal to fall a little into grief.

    Thanks Stacey… sometimes being normal is all I can ask for in the midst of all the abnormal stuff going on.

    Chickenpig, I’ve never considered NOT fighting my feelings. Your final words are very powerful: Own the pain, just don’t let it own you. That is so true. I can’t hide from the pain, its there as much a fact of life as my name or the size shoes I wear. I can just work on making sure this one bruise does not take over everything in my life. But I shouldn’t pretend that the hurt is not there, perhaps hiding it under the rug only makes you feel it poke more constantly underneath.


  15. It is a constant battle. Some days I beat it, some days it beats me.

    I hope you beat it more days than not.


  16. I’ve had eight miscarriages, and I think my lowest, most bitter point was when my sister-in-law, who has a beautiful daughter and who had a single miscarriage, said “Well, people don’t understand our pain, do they?” as she patted my hand and had a mincing smile plastered all over her face. To which I wanted to shout, “No, you have no right to even say that to me. You have a daughter. I have nothing to show for eight pregnancies. Nothing.”

    I put on a happy, stoic face though, and I take a small comfort in the fact that I’m still able to be kind to my pregnant friends and to send gifts to the kids of friends. If I lose the ability to do those things, I fear I will no longer be capable of being the least bit human anymore. It’s hard though.



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