November 21, 2014

Some months are harder than others...


Earlier this week I had a hard time emotionally when I found out again that I wasn't pregnant. Then for the next couple of days I walked around the house like a zombie. I had no energy or motivation to do anything and felt so hopeless. 

Some months I'm perfectly fine. Other months I feel like I'm in a bottomless pit. 

I go through the same ritual. It almost feels like I'm killing half of my heart -- I tell it to stop having hope or have any sort of expectations. It's easier to handle negative news this way. 

But this month my heart went there again. It had hope. It had expectation. It had an inkling; a positive "feeling". But it was wrong. And I felt so dumb for having hope. 

Perhaps because it's almost the end of the year and my birthday is right around the corner... Maybe that is why I'm feeling more desperate because another year is ending and we're still trying. 

I recently shared on Facebook to my friends and acquaintances about my journey with infertility and also the act of giving advice. One of the hardest things for me in talking about infertility with friends was the unsolicited advice they gave. We as humans are wired to give advice - to bestow knowledge on to others because we don't think they already know. I gave passes in the beginning because I knew everyone was coming from a good place {even though hearing "you'll get pregnant if you stop thinking about it" about 20 times drove me insane and "you can always adopt" always seemed insensitive and didn't really address the heartache of infertility}. But then I realized something. I never asked for their advice. I was opening up, being vulnerable and sharing my pain and experience, and all I was asking was for that person to listen. I didn't want to give passes anymore and so I stopped talking about it to friends and instead turned to my blog.  

A lot of folks think they are great listeners. I think listening is such a hard thing to do. I don't think many people know how to do it. 

This whole experience has also made me realize how much I must have overstepped boundaries as well because this act of giving advice vs. listening doesn't just pertain to women and couples going through infertility. It really goes toward all struggles people go through, most of the time, silently and quietly. 

When I get messages or emails from other women going through infertility, or when I read stories online, I sometimes weep. Harder than other times. It's because I feel like they are taking the words right out of my mouth. I feel like my feelings are validated. I feel like what I'm going through is legit. I'm not the only one who feels a little overwhelmed but also feels bad at not wanting to look at every single picture of friends' babies being sent to me and hear about their first milestones. This has been the hardest to grapple with -- wanting to be happy for friends but feeling miserable at the same time and then wondering deep down if I'm just a rotten person. 

Just yesterday I began to get back to my usual routine. Yangkyu and I held hands and smiled and said to each other, "we're try again next month, ok?" I picked up my knitting needles and began a couple of projects for little toddlers. I began to look at pictures again. I began to be happy again. 

PS -- 25 things to say (and not to say) to someone living with infertility. 

40 comments

  1. I'm so sorry to hear of your struggles :( I am wishing you success and happiness in the direction of your goals. I think you raise a really good point about giving advice, often times I don't so mind it given to me once it comes from a good place but I have found myself on the other end, giving advice people don't ask for simply because I care genuinely and want to help them come to some place of solution of contentment when the reality is sometimes they really don't want that help, sometimes people just want to be sad or mad or confused for a while and then pick themSELF up off the ground and can really come to resent you if you take that victory away from them.

    I guess it's just a listen learned with time: When to Open your Mouth and When to Shut It: the beginners guide should be a book out there somewhere lol

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    1. thank you~ i think advice giving is natural. i know i do it as well because we're trying to be helpful. i think though the kind of advice giving that is just a popular thing to say ("you'll meet him when you least expect it", "you'll be pregnant when you don't think about it") or just other things that minimize the person's struggles are the ones i don't like the most. i've heard them so many times that it's really opened my eyes to the way i listen and also be supportive of people opening up to me.

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  2. Dear Jane,
    i wish i have words of comfort for you, but I am known for my not-good-in-showing-feelings or giving-words-of-comfort. and of course, i am in no place to give any advice at all (with or without making you feel fed up) - all I can offer is that I'm here listening and that I'm sending my prayers for you. I just wrote about hard years and such things, so when I read this post title i can totally understand about some harder days and less hard days. I can't even imagine how you're dealing with your struggle, but don't ever lose your hope. of course it's always easier - way way way easier, to say than to do it. but really. don't ever lose your hope. any kind. hope of a good day when you wake up and feel the peeking sunlight tickles your face. hope for the first snow to come or hope for a new pair of socks for christmas. just like you said, we all can begin to be happy again. and when the day is harder than any other, we are here. listening.

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  3. I can't even begin to know what it's completely like. I try not to give advice unless asked for it, because I don't like it so much when un-solicited advice is given to me. Sometimes though, advice is good, but I don't always think people connect wit the way you should give it and the time you should give it. Sometimes what is needed can't be spoken, like a hug or a smile. You have to understand the person to know what they need. In these moments, I turn to music or art. Its says what I cant or don't know how. In these times I listen to Kate Bush...she has a song called, 'This Women's work' that is beautiful, it makes me cry, but I understand it, also her song called 'Cloud Busting'. You take things as you feel you need, don't let others tell you how you feel or should feel or when you should try things again or whatever they say!! Just let it be you! *hugs* xx

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    1. i think it's the way advice is delivered.. the genuineness and also the helpfulness of it. i think sometimes people give it thinking they are helpful but it minimizes the struggles.. and so true.. you do have to understand the person. i'm going to listen to those songs. maybe they'll be healing for me too :)

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  4. Jane,

    I really don't know what to say except I am wishing you positive thoughts and thank you for sharing your struggles. I know it's hard to share with strangers but this may also help someone who is in the same situation as you. It's always nice to know that we are not alone in our struggles in life. I, for one, find solitude in other people sharing their struggles and overcoming it with positivity.

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    1. thank you so much christine xx :)

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  5. My dear jane, I have no words to comfort you. I often cannot find the words but instead feel so much emotion for you both. I wish I lived closer to you. I would just listen if you wanted and if you wanted distraction - I am really good at that too! Or if you just wanted the comfort of having someone there to share comfortable silence while you crochet and I sew - that would be nice to. Sending you love and heart from me xxx

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  6. My heart goes out to you Jane. You should be able to talk about this as you need to w/o any judgement or unsolicited advice. Sending hugs.

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  7. my deepest and sincerest well wishes go to you and your family. I understand this is tough. While I relate to the sadness you feel when you didn't get the baby news at the month you hoped for (I've been there) I don't yet understand the infertility issues you are going through. I can't imagine it since I haven't experienced it and I would hate to put words into anyone's mouths about such an experience. It's like talking to someone who has experienced serious illness or issues. People who haven't dealt with it just can't comprehend it on the same level.

    I know people always seem to have the best intention when they express positive sentiment of "oh, it'll happen when it happens" I agree that this can be more damaging to the person this is happening to. Often, I keep such personal details to myself for this exact reason and only talk to my closest of friends who express things differently to me (i.e. they are more realistic). While the well wishes are meant well, sometimes it's harder to digest after hearing them. It just makes me feel worse a lot of the times.

    I sincerely wish you the best through this time. I know words can only reach so far and the best thing is to be around your Piri and Yangku.

    xoxo,
    Nancy

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    1. it's great when you have friends who understand and are supportive and say (or not say) the right things. for me i had some friends who did and said things that hurt me but i guess i should've been more open and been honest to them but i didn't and kept it inside me.. and then it festered and i closed up. it felt easier to talk to people i didn't know. but this whole experience has made me check myself as well. on how to listen and be the kind of support my friends or whoever is opening to me wants me to be. xx

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  8. Yangkyu, what a supportive husband. I love that he reassured you that you'd try again next month, that this wasn't the end of your journey. I think it's immensely hard to NOT give advice and listen, and especially insensitive when you try to give advice for something you personally have not experienced. I know for sure I've put my foot in my mouth many a times, and am learning to just listen because that's what I'd want to. So, thanks for sharing. I'm listening.

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    1. i've been there too. putting my foot in the mouth or just giving advice without really understanding the struggle. i'm still learning how to be better at being the kind of support the person opening up to me wants me to be. thanks so much for this message lisa xx :)

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  9. I'm sorry I missed this post Jane. You are so right...listening is an art form as I don't think many people know how to do it. Such good points here friend!! And bravo to you for speaking your mind and for being strong! If I lived more near I would come over and give you a big hug. Wishing you many blessings....praying for you! Nicole xoxo

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  10. I think a lot people give advice when they don't know what to say, and you're right...it's totally unsolicited/not what you want to hear. I'm so sorry to hear that you are struggling but I'm glad that you have Yangkyu and Piri to support you there. Sending you love and hugs ♥

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    1. i think so too. i know i have said things because i didn't know what to say. it's definitely been an eye opening experience for me.. the kind of things i say and have said. i've been hurting but also reflecting. now i know to say "i'm sorry, i'm listening, i'll try to understand what you're going through" instead of telling them what they should or could be doing. xx :)

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  11. Sending you love Jane <3 I've not thought about that side of giving advice before, thanks for the insight.

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  12. Oh,Jane; I'm happy for you that you have the wonderful partner. I remember about 30 years ago, my husband's mental support was the key which I could over come the sad feeling not being able to blessed with a child and the gossip from the neighbors :-) (They wondered who would be the guilty part as my husband has handicap with his legs and I'm a tiny woman, haha)
    And who knows what kind of future life is waiting for you; Bless you my young friend♪

    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

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    1. aww miyako. thank you so much. xx i think the gossip is really hard too.. and people asking insensitively whose fault it is. :(

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  13. Super sorry to hear of your rough times Jane I'm sending many virtual well wishes to you guys xoxo. I think I unfortunately always give out unsolicited advice, although it comes from a good place it's nice to be reminded that sometimes people only want you to be a listening. Thanks for reminding me of that.

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  14. Yangku sure knows what to do and say to cheer you up. You're not alone and I'm always happy to lend an ear if you ever need :)

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  15. Thinking of you guys at this time.

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  16. One of the things that we are wired to want to do, even when not asked, is to give advice. Listening is actually what the person needs though. I think it stems form the fact we feel we should say "something", when in fact just listening speaks louder than any words...

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    1. i think that is exactly it. or at least that's how it was for me when i was in the position of listening and not knowing what to say.. and i would reply with an advice on what they could or should be doing. now i know to just say "i'm sorry, i'm listening, tell me and i'll try to understand.." :)

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  17. When going through any difficulty, people always want to give advice. Sometimes, we just want to tell our story and want them to listen. And NOT offer advice. I'm praying for you and your situation. May God bless both of you, because you're such a lovely family.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. thank you kim xx :) it means a lot!

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  18. Sending you lots of love and hugs, Jane.

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  19. Dearest Jane, I feel your pain and I'm from the bottom of my heart hoping your wishes and hopes will have soon that expected answer. We should never feel dumb for having hope :) A big hug for both of you guys!

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  20. I don't have the words but I do have the ears and shoulders, in case you ever need them.

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  21. As I've been a bit out of touch with the Internet recently, I'm sorry to only read this now. But I'm actually really happy I did read it still. I really appreciate your honesty here. And I might even more appreciate the way you're going with the listening-things you said. I still find it sad, but so - SO true.

    I know you came from your own place, so I appreciate your openness on the topic. And I have never dealt with anyone talking about infertility so I won't tell you anything about it, but I want you to know that I really hope you to be happy and alright. :)

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