Thursday, April 29, 2010

What IF I can never just be happy with what I have...

...and I can't stop being angry, bitter, and sad about what I don't have?

This was another What IF question that I decided to write about.  I think this is a real thing that those of us with infertility face.  Infertility can really bring out the anger, bitterness, and sadness in a person.  It's not a pretty site.  And it has brought that out in me many times.

These were my thoughts as I considered my answer to this question:

I am a generally happy person, but like most people, I compare myself to others.  Unfortunately, when I do this, I tend to assume the people I am comparing myself to are better, smarter, and funnier, etc than I am and that gets me down.

Then throw the whole mess of infertility into the mix and suddenly everyone can do something you can’t—procreate.  They do this by accident.  They do this without even thinking or planning for the future.  They do this when they are ready to start a family.  Teenagers, people your age, family members, perfect strangers.  When you are infertile, suddenly everyone around you is fertile.  I had taken my fertility for granted, I assumed I had it, when I didn't.  I had looked forward to and dreamed of having little ones to love and take care of.  And now it seemed like everyone but me was doing just that. 

"Practice makes perfect" they say.  RELAX.  Buy a 2 seater.   Adopt.   Eat pomegranates.  Maybe try taking birth control.  I've heard it all.   And often all it does is make me more angry, bitter, and sad. 

So how do I combat the anger, bitterness, and sadness?  Well, I have a long list of things I’ve tried

For the immediate bitterness that can occur when talking to people or just seeing their pregnant belly on Facebook--sometimes I still struggle with that..  But I either try to ignore them, change the subject, make a joke tell the flat out truth and watch them squirm. ask them an equally nosy and uncomfortable question, or on a good day, just be happy for them, or don’t get upset with them for asking me a difficult family planning question. 

But, I digress…the main topic was how can I be happy?  I will always encounter pregnant people.  Sometimes nothing that is or isn’t said by a fertile person will help.  The change has needed and still needs to come from within.

It is a battle, one that some days I feel I am fighting pretty well, other times, I feel like I am miles back from where I started.  But I know my ultimate goal—Be Happy, Find Joy.   And do it NOW.

I remember one time after receiving a negative result from a treatment I received the wonderful news that another person I knew was pregnant.  It always happens that way, doesn’t it?  Any how, I was sad and bitter.   I was supposed to be the one that was pregnant.  Not her.  She had always said she wouldn't have kids.  Oh, the unfairness of life sometimes.  

I had recently purchased a sewing machine and my friend was going to teach me how to make a  baby blanket.  I had hoped I would be making this blanket for me, but I decided to make it for her.  As I made it, I felt some of the bitterness subside.  But even after it was made, I wondered if I should keep it for me, for my future child that would surely come.  But, ultimately, I decided to send it to her, and I was glad I did.  It was really remarkable.  My bitterness towards her left, and I was able to have more love for her and feel more happiness and joy in my life.  (And I didn’t have to hang onto what would now be a very dusty blanket shoved in the corner of my closet reminding me of my selfishness and bitterness.)  

This experience has stayed with me, so as hard as some pregnancy announcements and celebrations are, I try to focus on the person and realize that this is another opportunity where my relationship with them can improve and a little bit more of the sadness I feel for myself can dissipate.

I also try to focus on counting the things I actually have instead of the things I don’t.   I have just found that if I focus on what I don’t have, nothing but depression and sadness comes from it.  But on the flip side, I feel happy, blessed and joyful when I focus on what I do have. 

It kind of makes me feel like Count Dracula when I do this little exercise…Because once I start, the easier and faster I can count the things I have.  I have included this you tube video of him singing his counting song.  It brought back some fun memories.  But it true, either way, if you count what you don’t have, you can go on forever, if you count what you have, same thing, and you will be better off for it. 

So since the number of the day is 5, I’ll count 5 things that I have, (in no particular order)

One. (in a count dracula voice)—I have an awesome husband.  He is so funny.  I just wish you could all meet him.  He is so random and is always making me laugh.  He is so genuine and really cares about people.  I can’t believe I married such an amazing guy

Two.—Myself.  I am a kind, beautiful person.  I work hard.  I care about other people.

Three.—My family.  Immediate, extended, in-laws, etc.  They are all unique and good people.  I glad they are a part of my life.

Four.---My home.  After being on the road in small hotel rooms and apartments, my house seemed huge when I got home.  I am so blessed to live in such a nice home.  It is so beautiful and comfortable to live in.

Five.—My faith and my religion.  The gospel has brought such happiness into my life.  I am so grateful for the Savior Jesus Christ and His love for me.  I am also grateful for God and His love for me. 

How do I feel after counting?  Happy.  Grateful.  At peace.  It works every time.

Just call me Count JRS.  (I did have fanged teeth I was younger—thank goodness I got them pulled.)

So here is my new What IF question,  What IF I focus on what I have and find joy now?  What IF I keep on counting my blessings?

Check out or to join in Part 2 of Project IF for National Infertility Awareness Week (4/24-5/1)


  1. Great post. I ask myself this "what if" far too often, and count my blessings not nearly as much as I should.

  2. LOVE IT!! What a GREAT post!! Thanks for always re-focusing us!!! (((hugs))) to you for your honesty & postivitiy! you make me smile!

  3. Here through the What IF project.
    I loved your post. It's true that we could be sad for a long time if we think about what we don't have (goodness knows I was) but when we choose to embrace happiness , to see our lives in a new light, in a new space...well wonderful things can happen.

    I think you're an amazing person and I am praying that your dream of a baby(ies) comes true soon.

  4. I agree, being grateful for what you do have is key. Lately my exercise has been to think of new things to be grateful for every day without repeating.

    I'm wishing for even more blessings to come your way!

  5. Hi, dropping by here...LOVE the post. :-D

    One thing I've done as well to help me let go is by asking my friends to pray for me the Serenity Prayer - and I also say that prayer a lot ever since I experienced my darkest moment in facing IF...and God has given me a steady stream of serenity.

    My IF blog: