Thursday, November 20, 2008

A ceasefire during Thanksgiving

As we approach one of America's quintessential holidays, I can't help but reflect on where I was last year. Right about now I was finding out that my 2nd pregnancy was beginning to fail. The beta wasn't doubling and the ultrasound was about to confirm a blighted ovum that would bleed out as I sat with my whole family eating turkey on Thanksgiving day. So in a year from that rather thankless day, am I thankful for anything? 

The whole idea of appreciating what I have verses griping about what I don't have has been an uphill battle. The life that unfolded after that Thanksgiving loss didn't get prettier. The months ahead would bring another pregnancy loss - a 2nd ectopic to pour salt on the wound -and then a blur of a summer to conclude with my 4th pregnancy loss. So round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows. I feel like I've been my own battleground, spitting fire and declaring injustice at every turn for the losses I've endured, and keeping poised on the defense for infertility's potential attacks. So today I'm trying to quiet my war cries for a brief detente with the enemy. I'm not going to dwell on the thankless moments, I'm going to try to talk about the thankful moments: 

1) I've found wonderful women on bulletin boards, blogs, and in New York City who have provided me the support and comradry I've so desperately needed. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

2) My husband still loves me despite me being a pile of negative whiny bitchiness a lot of the time. Oh yeah, and despite that I'm barren.

3) I'm not going to miscarry while eating Turkey this year.

4) After a drawn out mess with bad plumbers and contractors, my two bathroom showers will finally be fully renovated this week.

5) I live in a great space in a great city.

6) Infertility has made me write again. 

7) I've found a fabulous surrogate and we are reviewing our contract with her now. Hope to have it signed by Thanksgiving - that would truly be something to be thankful for. 

In this time of giving thanks, I can't help but also think about forgiveness. In Chris Rock's recent stand up routine "Kill the Messenger," he has this monologue about how the less shit you have, the more shit you can talk and the more shit you have, you can't talk shit. For example, he says "fat girls" are allowed to bitch and rage at the "skinny girls," but if the "skinny girls" say nasty things about "fat girls" then "That's just mean." He's playing on the permission of those in shittier situations to talk shit about those who have it better. Well, in a prior post I talked some shit about a very close friend who got pregnant at the same time as my first pregnancy loss. Knowing full well that I was recovering from an ectopic pregnancy and agonizing over this tremendous blow, she chose to tell me of her pregnancy with zero acknowledgement of my loss. She went the total "I will pretend nothing is wrong" approach which as you all know failed miserably. 

Even though I was honest with her about this major blunder and I wanted to forgive her at the time, truthfully I never have. She's been trying ever since to get back in touch with me and dancing around in her emails to get some info on where I am. I've basically shut her out and I have come to see that I've been subconsciously trying to punish her. In the end, probably no matter how she told me she was pregnant I would have been pissed, depressed, and angry with her for adding to my pain. I know her well enough to know that it probably kills her that she's hurt me and fears that I hate her. And I've kept the wall up - if you have more shit than me than you don't get to hear the gory details of my much shittier life. What could I really say to her? Here she is with a new baby born the same time I would have had my first baby and she's got all these joyous moments to savor. How can I in good faith ask her about her life when I don't want to hear any of it? So I couldn't risk it. I know that there was a bit of revenge and entitlement in the mix too. I felt like I lost a piece of my heart with that first pregnancy loss. Irrationally, I feel like she was part of stealing that pregnancy away from me with her healthy pregnancy.  So I realize the very vengeful side of me has felt like if I have to endure this horrendous loss then she has to endure losing me. It's an ugly feeling, but every time I have tried to let it go the anger wells up in me again.  

I don't want to be, the highly offensive expression, an "Indian giver." I don't want to give and then take it back. I've been struggling this whole time with wanting to give her my friendship, but then also wanting to take it back when I am feeling miserable, spiteful, and bitchy remembering the pain she caused. She recently emailed again and I finally decided to throw her bone last week and open up a chance for her to express herself. She said how bad she still feels about the way she communicated her pregnancy and hopes I don't hate her. I could have walked away and left her hanging again, but I felt really bad and wrote her today assuring her that I know she didn't want to cause pain and that the devastation of the combined ectopic pregnancy and her pregnancy basically put an inevitable barrier between us. I think it was good to get that out again and to let her know that it will just take time to heal. I'm trying really hard to let go.

So I am thankful that I've been able to look beyond my bitterness. No, I didn't disclose details she been wanting to hear because in the end, those are still private. I still feel like it's a story I need to tell her when it's all over. But it was a reminder that the whole concept of the first Thanksgiving dinner was that Native Americans sat side by side to break bread with Pilgrims, the very people who shed blood on and took over their sacred land. So I think I've made my first step, albeit small, toward forgiveness. Though she's still going have to stay on the sidelines until my nightmare is over, I've given my dear old friend a raincheck that one day we will sit down, side by side, infertile next to fertile, and break bread. 


luna said...

I love your list of things to be thankful for, and the idea of truce to break bread. but what I really identify with is your honesty in dealing with your friend. so many times I've never asked how someone was doing because I couldn't bear to hear the response.

glad to hear the bitterness has lifted a bit.

alicia said...

What a great idea, listing the things to be thankful for, even when you are not feeling so thankful. You have some great things there. I realy hope you get everything signed with the surrogate before thanksgiving.

wow what a hard thing to be going through with a friend, I am proud of you for writting her back, even though it must have hurt and frustrated you for sure! I hope one day soon you will be able to break bread with her:)

Ms Heathen said...

I really admire your honesty in dealing with your friend, tabi.

I am so glad that, even after all you've been through, you have found so many things to be thankful for, and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Duck said...

Happy Thanksgiving. I'm glad that everything is working out and it even looks like you and I maybe lining up for dual surrogacy transfers (I know I know i need to blog,and I'm aching to write... Just afraid to start until the contract is signed).
I;m glad your thankful, a fabulous list, I too have something similiar.
Take care

Duck said...

Hope you had a great thanksgiving.
I've started a new blog...

take care

Jennifly Sparks said...

Your blog is very honest and forthcoming, I see that you are based in NYC. Have you looked into complimentary reproductive medicine? like Acupuncture, fertility massage?
My friend Dr. Berkley has a clinic in Mid town east
hope this is helpful.