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Friday, October 07, 2005

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Liz, if all people took life (joys and sorrows) as seriously as you do, the world would be a better place. I encourage you to NOT lighten up. I love you, girl.

Arwen,

There is something very deep and true in this post...I wish I could capture it and elucidate. I've been struggling with it myself - what is the meaning of suffering? How can you ever express the good that comes from embracing your suffering, the joy in that?
I've read encyclicals that talked about the mystery of suffering and the joy of the cross, but I have to admit that I only have the sketchiest intuition of what that means. God bless you for being unafraid to explore it.

Oh no she DIDn't - she told you to relax! When anyone who knows anything about IF should know that that's like the #1 thing NOT to say. I can't tell you how many people have said to me, when I told them our possible adoption news, "Well, you KNOW what will happen now, don't you?"

Tertia just posted a list of the things NOT to say to someone who is IF or who has just suffered a miscarriage - we should pass this along to The Queen and others who need a little help understanding. Be sure to read the comments, too!:

http://tertia.typepad.com/so_close/2005/10/5_worst_things.html

I haven't struggled with infertility, but I so needed to read what you wrote today. It's been seven months since our daughter died, and I'm still struggling pretty hard with it all. The daily grind of grieving is really difficult. And I too have heard, "lighten up" or "get over it" or "hey, at least you can have more", which is all true. But I can never have Sarah again. Not ever. And as hard as I might try to feel better or lighten up, this grief is necessary, and something that the Lord will use in some way. And as long as I keep my eye on Him, I will come through it. Just not yet.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I remember once, during difficult years in my life, I was told that part of reason I was suffering so intensely was because of the choices I had made to be sensitive: sensitive to God's leading, sensitive to the true needs of others, sensitive to what was happening within myself. I was also told that I could lessen the intensity of the suffering by choosing to be less sensitive, but the price would be that I would become less compassionate. I remember deciding that the pain was worth it, and asking for the strength to bear the pain in order to retain and grow in compassion. I can't say I've perfectly succeeded, but it is a goal for wihch I strive. I pray that you, too, will be given that strength, and remain who you are.

I had to check that the referenced comment was to the same post I commented "woo-hoo".
Huh. That you don't hit the delete button is a testament to your maturity and strength.

You are so much stronger than I could be. Callouses are not strength - I know, I have many.

I know exactly how you're feeling. Month after month as I continue to get bad news, I try so hard to keep my faith. I keep thinking, "God must be giving me another lesson in patience." Won't giving me children give Him PLENTY of opportunity to teach me about patience. I get sad and angry, but I try not to direct it at anyone. I just continue praying for a miracle. It is not possible to relax when you're struggling with infertility. No matter how much I try, I just can't get my mind off it.

You know, I have not even remotely had to deal with or struggle with infertility in my life or in the lives of my friends. So I read you and see it as a looking glass into another's perspective, and I think God has me do that to learn something from you. I don't necessarily think I have been sent to read your blog to tell you how to handle your situation, and unfortunately I think that is what lot of people do. They read someone else's experience and transfer their sentiments/personalities onto that person.

If I had blogged one day about the struggles of being a mother and how overwhelmed I felt or how scared I was to be pregnant again and worried I wouldn't be a good mom to my next child, and someone came and commented how I need to "lighten up", at least I could have kids, or whatever, I would honestly think, "You know, maybe they have a point, but how does that help me deal with MY feelings that I feel in MY life RIGHT NOW?" Well, it probably wouldn't help me in the least, just like what the one commenter said to you not only wasn't helpful, but also incited anger.

I appreciate reading your blog as you work through your struggles, and I see it as me learning from you, especially since I have no one in my life teaching me the lessons you have to offer. And what I have learned is to never take my fertility for granted, to treasure my children, and to strive to be the mom that all the infertile mothers out there would want me to be, as a way of thanking God for the gift I have. And I have learned that by listening to you and absorbing your words, not by jumping into your blog ready to change you or make you conform to what I want you to feel.

I have been reading your blog for a while now and my sense of who you are is far from just serious, struggling and in need of "lightening up". I see you as a joyful person with overflowing gratitude for the good things God has given you. I see you as passionate and someone who breathes in deeply all your life experiences. I think your post was right on. You are extremely wise not to ignore the pain. That is what a lot of us do and it is emotionally crippling. Just because we ignore our negative emotions doesn't mean they go away. In my life the result of stuffing all my pain was the inability to feel at all -- good or bad. I lost a lot of the joy I see so clearly in your life. Keep doing what you are doing and thanks for being a good model for me. I guess this ability of yours to embrace all your emotions is one of the things that has drawn me to your blog.

Unexplained - I think I noticed "meant to be" in there somewhere. We all should really put together an Infertility Bingo game or something similar :). And Arwen, you're exactly right - I think of it as destroying a nerve which is giving you pain. So you won't feel the pain anymore, but you won't be able to do a single thing with it either.

I'm glad I reread that post, because at first I thought you might be overly kind in suggesting the poster was trying to be helpful and supportive, but no, you are right. You may have felt like you were defending yourself, or your writing choices, but you didn't sound defensive at all. I think you wrote beautifully and truthfully on this subject; it's important to embrace the gifts our pain can bring us, and emotionally dishonest to refuse to feel that pain. (This reminds me a little of a movie in which one character, looking at a friend's painting of a tiger mauling a woman, tells him it disturbs her, but chiefly because the woman doesn't seem to mind being mauled. "Shouldn't one feel something - even if it's teeth?") There is definitely something difficult, though, in spilling one's most private pain online; not because it's wrong, but because it can give a lopsided view of the inside of your head to strangers who then form value judgements about you based on what is of course very specific and incomplete information. Just a necessary evil of the form, I think. It's a bit like complaining to your friends about your boyfriend when you're mad at him and then being stuck with them disliking him long after you've forgiven him. (Not at all an exact analogy but something like - you can't take those words back, and you can't choose how they affect the people you speak to is my general point.)
So I'm sure The Queen didn't realize what a loaded term "lighten up" is to an infertile. It certainly is possible to take oneself too seriously, but there's just as much wrong with not taking your own life seriously. There's absurdity in believing that you don't have the right to feel your own pain. Having faith in God's plan for your life doesn't mean that you can stop caring about what happens to you, and ultimately the only person who can really decide how well you are doing balancing emotional honesty with faith is you. (Though for the record I like most of your readers think you do well at that balance.) I'm not telling you that you shouldn't be affected by the post. I suspect you wouldn't be you if you weren't. The anniversary of starting your blog is a good time to reflect on what you've done - choosing to put a diary online where people can support and ignore and berate you for your most intimate thoughts and feelings. It's brave, and honest, and sometimes that scares people, but that doesn't mean there isn't great value in it nonetheless.

You are so so right. Sometimes I sit on pain because I'm scared of where it will take me if I let it out, but what is the point of that? It'll get me one day whatever I do. It is best to 'speak with' your pain on your own terms.

You are very wise! How did you get so wise?!

It is a shame that some people are not empathetic. And that some perople think a critical comment tossed off in five minutes and posted on a blog could be helpful! I mean, really!

I do hope the person who advised you to "lighten up" meant that kindly, rather than otherwise. But I believe you've already located the source of all the light you need: The light shines in darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it.

And this particular darkness will not overcome it. You will be a mother, and a wonderful one. I wish the journey to that place did not have to be so painful, and I pray it will not be too long. But it is your journey, and you are right to take everything you can from it, because it has been given to you for a reason.

I wish I had been as wise as you when I was your age. Heck, I wish I was as wise as you at MY age.

I just found out that ANOTHER of my close friends is pregnant. My husband continues his mantra, "think positive, think positive, think positive," while I am somehow sensing that I need to work through the despair, rather than chanting it away through affirmations.

So I do a search on blogs + infertility. After clicking down the list (only to find that the majority of these infertility blogs have now become pregnancy blogs) and your post is where I have ended up and it is exactly what I needed to read at this moment.

THANK YOU!

I read this when you first posted, and this line still remains with me:
" If this is the suffering God has sent me that is meant to mold me into something he means me to be, and I refuse to suffer and let that happen, then what might he send me to replace this? "

Very wise. I've seen the fruits of running from legitimate suffering in my own life, and the replacement lesson is never easier to bear.

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