Saturday, January 3, 2009

Learning About Grief

I learned a lot about grief through infertility. I became acutely aware of it, actually. I have always been an empathetic person- sympathetic to a fault at times. I remember when I was around five years of age I was watching a t.v. show about the starving families in Africa. They were asking to sponsor a family so they could eat and get medication. I had tears streaming down my face for these people; I will never forget how sad I was for them. I called my dad into the room and begged him to help them.
I have always been a great feeler of other people's pain. I carry it with me for some reason. Believe me I am not trying to say I am the most selfless person in the world and never think of myself. It's just that for some reason I always wanted to rescue people. I always felt like the mother figure to many of my friends and especially my brother. He was four years older, but I felt I needed to protect him.
Anyway, grief is something I didn't have much experience with because I have been very fortunate in terms of not losing loved ones. My grandfather passed at 82 and then my Pop passed at 89. I have both my grandmothers and my family is in generally good health. I am very fortunate. I do appreciate this fact and enjoy living in the moment with friends and family because life takes very unexpected turns.
The grief I felt due to IF was and still is very profound. Grief is about loss, and we lost so much trying to conceive a child. We lost control of our lives, the ability to conceive privately and intimately, and it seems like the ability to conceive at all. Having to admit that we could not have biological children was unbearable. But, we did it because we needed to do something to take our lives back. Our decision to adopt allowed us the ability to control at least some of our destiny.
The pain I felt while in the throes of infertility made me understand a little bit of what it must be like to mourn a loved one. It must be like a dull ache in your gut, the tugging of your heart on a daily basis. IF was something that nagged at me in some way every day.Some days were better than others, but the feeling of loss sat on my shoulders- pushing down.
I realize that I may never bear a child. But, I also know that female endocrinology is so complicated that my body just might kick in at some point. There is not much I can do about that outcome. I feel sad when I hear the news of pregnancies. It's hard to hear about how much this baby looks like her dad or mom or grandparent. But, things are so much better for me than they were.
I am a mom, plain and simple. I am living the life of motherhood I always dreamed; it just looks a little different. But, different is not bad it's just different- as they say.

I recently read, "An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination" by Elizabeth McCracken. It is about the still birth of her son. Gut wrenching. She so eloquently explained her grief that I was able to relate. I have never experienced something so profound, but I have been around the block. Everyone can appreciate how she tells her story of losing her child and trying to regain her life. It's a wonderful memoir. It will help many people.
http://www.elizabethmccracken.com

2 comments:

Lisa DG said...

I am hysterically crying as I read this. It pains my heart so much to relive the loss and pain every month when my period arrives. I am obessed- my life has been on hold for almost 4 years. I feel like I have a small life and my heart feels cracked open. How did you decide when to adopt? what made you choose adoption over DE?

Lori said...

I think another thing grief can teach you is how resilient you really are. You can't see it when you're in the throes of grief, but you can as you move through it.

Lisa DG asked some good questions.

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