Monday, April 5, 2010

Stories We Tell Ourselves

One thing I have learned over the years is that even though a twin pregnancy is considered high-risk, it is more likely to be a healthy pregnancy if you have a healthy attitude and a healthy outlook on life.  That mind set is something I hope to encourage through this blog.  I wrote this post below a few years ago, before our kids were born.  I think many of us who have multiples have been through a struggle with infertility and with the desperation that diagnosis brings, so I thought I would post this here in the hopes of showing you that life changes and what seems like tragedy today may become triumph tomorrow. 

Life doesn’t always turn out the way you think it will. As a young girl I definitely had my ideas about what my life would be like when I “grew up”.  I would, of course, be married. I would have my first child by 24. I would be a fabulously successful fashion designer. I would live in New York with my equally successful husband. Perhaps he was an architect. Yes, I had plans. 

I did get married. And I did become a fashion designer in New York. 24 came and went. But I wasn’t ready anyway I told myself. By 28 I was starting to notice all the children in the neighborhood and getting that “feeling”. So we started trying. We joked that we were so busy that we didn’t have sex often enough to get pregnant. But we tried for a year and a half before I started to think something might be wrong. It was 1997. We had been married for 4 years. 

Eventually I somehow found my way to a Reproductive Endocrinologist.  Don’t ask me how, because I was so embarrassed about not being able to get pregnant that I told almost no one. I got furious with my mother for mentioning it to her friend. I hid it from my boss, my coworkers. I took hours out of my hectic work schedule every week to get blood work done, receive ultrasounds and have invasive testing done; all without sharing my struggle, stress, depression and fears with anyone. 

My husband never went to the doctor with me. He never offered to help with my injections. We hardly ever were intimate except when the doctor told us to do so because I was ovulating. In retrospect, I should have noticed that his lack of interest not only in me, but also in the process of trying to build a family, was a sign of something wrong. Every time my period came I was distraught.  I felt so alone, so unloved, so unlovable. I felt broken. After three unsuccessful cycles I needed a break.  

That’s when everything started to end. Or maybe it’s when everything started to begin. When dreaming of my future as a child I certainly didn’t include that 1 week after our 5th anniversary my husband would tell me that he was leaving me and that he had never even loved me. And I didn’t include in the plan that he would have been having an affair while I had been injecting myself full of drugs and crying over the failure of each cycle. I hadn’t planned on being childless and divorced at age 30. No, this was definitely NOT what I had planned on. But life had a different plan. And this most awful experience turned out to be an immense blessing I never could have planned.

Now I sit here, 10 years after my initial diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” with so much learning and experience behind me. I am remarried to a most wonderful, involved, caring man. I switched coasts and live in Los Angeles. I switched careers and, after much training and hard work, am now a practicing Holistic Healer. My husband and I are going through fertility treatments right now. We’re in the so-called 2-week wait after our first IVF cycle. Even after a year of trying again and three failed IUIs I feel none of the shame, depression, or desperation I felt all those years ago. Yes, some of it has to do with having a supportive partner. But even more of it has to do with who I have become, how I deal with stress and how I see the world as a whole.

In my old life (because that’s how I see it….like a movie with someone else playing the lead role), my disappointments took on enormous proportions.  I felt that I was personally a failure for not being able to conceive or for having a failed marriage. Each let down seemed like the end of the world.  I would think: “If only I could have this one thing, my whole life would be better”!  Never realizing that even when I would get that wish fulfilled it was the same old me who was receiving it! Eventually I learned how to have a different view.  I began to realize that we can’t always know what life has in store for us. 

When I got divorced it initially felt like the worst thing that could have happened to me. Now I see that it was the greatest gift I could have received. 10 years ago I saw my infertility as a curse. Now I realize that had I been able to get pregnant easily I would have had children with a man who didn’t love me. 

Our experiences are what we make of them. It is our tendency to link old pain, fear, and distorted stories to new events in our lives that make us suffer. All these years of studying the healing arts have helped me to see that what happened is all there is. The rest of it is just the story I’ve made up about it.  And it’s the story that makes me suffer. 

So I gave up the stories.
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3 Great Comments Made By Clicking Here!:

Christina Simon said...

What a great blog! I don't have twins, but I think it will be useful for lots of moms. I'll share with moms I think will be interested.


Alison said...

wow I just read this... I just found your blog and I am going through from the beginning. I just gave birth to boy/girl twins about 3 months ago. I love this line:

"what happened is all there is. The rest of it is just the story I’ve made up about it. And it’s the story that makes me suffer. So I gave up the stories."

I can't tell how how this resonates with me. Thanks!

The Twin Coach said...

Hi Alison, I'm so glad to have you reading my blog! And congratulations on your new babies. :) I hope you find a lot that's useful and that resonates for you. Please let me know if there's anything I can help with. I look forward to hearing more from you!

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