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Survivor’s Guilt and the Future of This Blog

July 8th, 2014.  15w 5d.

I’ve been asked – more than once – and I’ve wondered myself for some time now what exactly will become of this blog now that I’m on my way to the “other side” of the infertility struggle.

In many ways, I just don’t know how to answer.

Yes, I want this to remain a resource for those who are struggling – and an outlet for myself, as I still struggle as well.

No, I don’t want to lose readers who just can’t bear to hear about pregnant life at this point in their journeys.

Yes, I want to continue to tell my story, the same way I always have – no holds barred, TMI ablaze.

No, I don’t want to stop writing… nor do I want to start a whole new blog at the moment.

Yes, I want to become a mommy.

No, I do not want to become a mommy blogger.

So that’s where I am.  Halfway between where I’m headed and where I’ve spent the last five-ish years.

Limbo is a sucky place to be.

I don’t want to turn away anyone who isn’t in a place to hear pregnancy updates, and I understand that some will have to back away from my posts for exactly that reason.  I do understand, truly.  I’ve had to do the same at points in my journey as well… It comes with the territory, and I can only hope that my story offers some light at the end of the tunnel for those who are still in the trenches – even if they’re not in a place to read it.

I also don’t want to stop blogging details of my life, because the infertility struggle doesn’t just stop when you become pregnant.  If anything, it can come crashing back as hardcore as it ever was in the beginning, and the need for support and an outlet is even greater than before.

An Infertile once is an Infertile always, despite success or resolution.

I do feel a large amount of survivor’s guilt as well.  I feel it when I post something on my personal Facebook, knowing that I have friends who are struggling.  I try to remain sensitive to that and not blast my news feed with ultrasound or bump pics.  I tried to be sensitive when we officially “came out” a couple of weeks back, emailing those friends I knew were struggling before posting the announcement photo.  I wanted them to have a heads-up, as I know I’ve appreciated having one in the past.

I feel badly that I am allowing myself to be happy.  I have been such a steadfast and reliably infertile confidante for so many over the years, that now when I’ve sort of crossed over, I worry that those who relied on me won’t have the same support I was able to offer before.

Part of this worry comes from being fiercely protective of my support group, and worrying that I won’t be able to carry the torch for them for much longer… at least not without an obvious and growing abdominal-area distraction which could cause discomfort for all in its presence.  I want them to continue, and to be well taken care of by whoever comes forward to take over hosting (or co-hosting) duties.  Most of all, I don’t want to be a drain on the complete openness we’ve managed to accomplish at our meetings and in our little online group.

Basically, I’m a woman stuck between two worlds.

My heart still leaps to my throat when I see a pregnancy announcement.  I feel dread and fear and jealousy before I am able to tell myself that it’s okay, and that I’m there too now.

I worry more now than I ever did in the past.  I have this precious thing now, and I feel like every time I do something that’s considered a big step in a normal pregnancy journey (like starting a baby registry… YIKES), I feel like I’m tempting fate and waiting for that other shoe to come down on my head.  Hard.  With a pile of bricks in its wake.

I have two baby name books in my possession.  My mom bought me one, and I picked up the other… I’ve wanted to have one for years, but always felt it too jinx-y to actually own one.  Now that I have them, I can’t bring myself to highlight them.  Any step like that feels like a step toward a permanence I’m terrified to look forward to.

People want to plan baby showers, and they ask me about nursery colors and bedding designs and baby names, and it’s all I do to quell that inner voice that’s screaming “OH MY GOD STOP!  THE MORE WE TALK ABOUT THIS, THE MORE I SPIRAL INTO INCAPACITATING WORRY THAT IT WILL NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPEN!!!”

Infertility is terrifying.

Miscarriage is terrifying.

Pregnancy is terrifying.

Those two pink lines do not in any way solve every problem infertility causes.  While I thank God every single day for the reason that I’m so damn terrified all the time, and while I know how unbelievably lucky I am to be here right now, I still struggle.

I think I always will.

And that’s why I need this space.  Badly.

I need to write, and I need all of you.

I want you to know that if you need to back away at this time, I completely understand.  I’ve done it, too.  It’s what you need, and that’s perfectly fine.

As for me, I will be here.  I will be sharing what I can without blasting pregnancy crap down your throats.  I will struggle and I’ll take you with me, and I will (hopefully) triumph and you’ll be there too.

So there it is.  I’m staying here.

Steadfast, terrified, confused, worried, and so happy in those small moments in between.

You can be here, too.  If you want, and when you want.

I’m here for me, but I’m here for you as well.

Stick around if you can… I get the feeling that this ride’s just getting started.

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25 comments on “Survivor’s Guilt and the Future of This Blog

  1. josfword
    July 8, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    Hi!! Great post!!! You are doing the right thing ! I too am out the otherside re having a baby but now I want nos 2 I’m back where I was before so need the support of the IF community plus also feel I cannot leave as IF has changed me so much. I’m staying out too!! Xx

    Like

  2. rainbowbabymaker
    July 8, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    I get the struggle. I have an infertility blog too but have continued to track my pregnancy progress.

    I’m riddled with fear all the time. I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m always thinking I have done or will do some thing to screw this up again & I’ll walk away with empty arms.

    You’re right, it doesn’t stop at two pink lines, it only begins all over again. It’s been extremely difficult to be excited about my pregnancy. I don’t think I have been yet. I still feel like some thing bad can happen at any moment. My heart races at every ultrasound wondering if there’s a heart beat? I can’t relax. I can’t just enjoy. And you’re right, I see pregnant women & I think “I want to be as far along as her” because that’s that many weeks closer to term, that many weeks closer to delivering a healthy baby.

    Hang in there, hope you find some time to enjoy your pregnancy & be excited. And I support the use of your blog for support throughout your pregnancy. I hope others will understand. And some will unfollow….I think that’s just how it goes.

    Like

  3. makingababyv
    July 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    I’m the same way. At 16 weeks, I’m still careful not to talk about it or get too excited out of fear that something will go wrong. We’re looking at daycares this week, and part of me still wonders.

    I wonder when we can relax and enjoy things!

    Like

  4. jconley1204
    July 8, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    It’s good to be happy and scared and real. I’m glad you’re staying. 🙂

    Like

  5. hollye7916
    July 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    I think this is a common thread among pregnant infertiles this week. I think a lot of us feel lost, kind of out floating in nowhere land, not belonging anywhere when we are so used to having a support group that GETS IT, one that understands. It’s hard, I’m glad you’re sticking around as well 🙂

    Like

  6. Jackie
    July 8, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

    I’m glad you’re staying. I think its a great way to minister to people who shoes you’ve worn. I think its a great way for others to minister to you as well. Everyone needs support and outlets. Please don’t ever stop writing. I think you should write a kindle book or something. You’re inspiring and I’ve learned so much from you. Xoxo

    Like

  7. Tyger
    July 8, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    Surviving infertility and getting your baby can be just as confusing and emotional as infertility was. I never, never stopped worrying about miscarriage until the day I delivered. I was so thrilled for our pregnancy and didn’t want to her others still struggling. My twins were conceived with the help of western medicine and I had an incredibly rough pregnancy- but I didn’t feel like I was allowed to not love being pregnant…the truth is you are entitled to every feeling band emotion you have. You deserve to be happy for you as much as you deserved to be sad, or angry or frustrated at other points of your journey. As a fellow “survivor” even though I don’t blog, I look forward to reading your updates! Good luck!

    Like

  8. B
    July 8, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    The balance I found was posting pics and a weekly pregnancy update on a separate tab and then linking to that at the end of my posts, some of which were still pregnancy related but not the total in your face here’s my bump and all the cravings I’ve had etc. type of way.
    I’m glad you’re sticking around!

    Like

    • Tracy
      July 8, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

      I thought of your method immediately when I tried to think of a way to accomplish what I wanted! I may borrow from what I thought was a very respectful way of handling pregnancy updates, if you don’t mind. 🙂

      Like

  9. Megan T
    July 8, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    Infertility is terrifying.

    Miscarriage is terrifying.

    Pregnancy is terrifying.

    Those two pink lines do not in any way solve every problem infertility causes. While I thank God every single day for the reason that I’m so damn terrified all the time, and while I know how unbelievably lucky I am to be here right now, I still struggle.

    Wow, did these lines resonate with me. They are completely true. I am 32 weeks pregnant after getting lucky on our first try with IVF (male NOA), but I am still so incredibly anxious despite good report after good report at the OB. It gets a bit easier after 20 weeks and once the baby moves regularly, but oh my goodness. I don’t think the impact of infertility will ever leave me, even after having this little person.

    Like

  10. ambivalentjourney
    July 8, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    I am glad you are sticking around. I have gone through (and am still going through) everything you wrote. Starting a baby registry was terrifying. Accepting a date for a baby shower was felt like the biggest decision of my life. Painting the nursery?! Earth shattering. We even decided that we would go with a nice beige instead of “kid colors” incase we had to turn the room into another guest room and not a nursery. At 32 weeks after several IUI’s, I will say it is easier for me. It is always still in the back of my mind – that constant worry that something, anything, will go wrong – but my days are filled more with happiness then fear most of the time. My heart is still in my throat every time the dopplar gets put on my stomach and I have just come to accept that. We have a past that “regular” people can’t even comprehend but I am glad you’re going to continue blogging and I am still oh so very happy for you!!!

    Like

  11. Connie
    July 8, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    I’m exactly where you are! After 4.5 years of infertility, I’m almost 14 weeks pregnant. I identify much more with being an infertile and feel so much guilt for finally getting pregnant via ivf. I don’t want to talk about being pregnant in order not to jinx this pregnancy or hurt my infertile friends. I just can’t celebrate and I feel bad about that. For me and my husband.
    I look forward to reading your future posts.

    Like

  12. Lisa
    July 8, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    So glad you’re staying…

    Like

  13. Heather
    July 8, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

    Keep writing! I want to hear your voice.
    You’re not the first infertile that has ‘crossed over’ and you wont be the last. It is a place of fear and limbo, but I think you’ve had your fair share of suffering and deserve a bit of happiness too.
    I wrote about this survival guilt here too: http://onestepatatime.co.za/bloggers/infertilitys-survivor-guilt/

    Like

  14. Mel @ there is a higher hope
    July 8, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    I’m not infertile, but I can say pregnancy after miscarriage has me feeling the same way. I am struggling to fully embrace my pregnancy and picture a future with this baby because I am so scared it won’t happen. I just want to relax and enjoy, but it is so difficult. Thanks for continuing to blog. I know some are going to have hard days and not be able to come on, but your story is so inspiring and gives hope to many! XO

    Like

  15. Prairie
    July 8, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    It’s such a struggle. After IF, loss & surgeries I’m 7 mo’s and have a 2 year old. I still worry that it could all go wrong. This time my mat-leave replacement (1-year in Canada) has already been hired & started. The question about what happens to her if I don’t get a take-home baby has totally crossed my mind. Impossible to shut out those thoughts. Infertility amnesia is not a thing.

    Like

  16. Liz
    July 8, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

    Tracy, great decision if you ask me! It is terrifying, when it actually happens, hoping for everything to go as it should….women understand and need this! I am at the 12 week mark and I need this. Plus, the infertility being terrifying part—I don’t forget what that’s like (good point made by Prairie), especially since I think about the ‘what if’s’ of this stage. I am trying to relax and enjoy the pregnancy too–it’s emotion overload.

    Like

  17. Elisha
    July 8, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

    so glad and thankful that you are staying and will continue to write and share your heart. xoxo

    Like

  18. Amelia
    July 9, 2014 at 12:48 am #

    I’m here to read your words no matter what. 😉

    Like

  19. A Morning Grouch
    July 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

    Parenting is terrifying – add that to your list. It will become impossible not to write about parenting once you are in that role, like you said it is you writing abput your life. I get that limbo feeling though, it is a tough one.

    Like

  20. Moni
    July 14, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    As someone who’s still in the trenches, I love reading about the successes of others. Yes, it’s painful to hear about things you’d rather be experiencing for yourself. But it’s also glorious in that if I ever make it to the other side, I know what to expect. And if I don’t, all the “gory” details from those like you help me feel like I have been there, even if just living vicariously through the blogs of others. So bring on the baby bump pictures and ultrasound and shower photos…. I can’t wait to see how this plays out for you!!!!!!

    Like

  21. newtorontomom
    July 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    isn’t it ironic that your blog’s name became a self-fulfilling prophecy? You decided to stop trying – and it happened… Weird.

    Like

  22. Michele @ A Storybook Life
    July 21, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

    New to your blog, and already I’ll echo what so many others have: thanks for continuing to write. I’m on pregnancy #5 & hoping for take-home baby #2, and the fear is still very real to me. Glad I’m not alone – & you aren’t, either.

    Like

  23. Shelley
    July 22, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    Thank god, because I love your writing and your attitude! Stay! Please stay. 🙂

    Like

  24. HB
    September 8, 2014 at 12:54 am #

    I’m new to this blog as well. I’ve struggled with infertility for 10 years, given up& then gotten pregnant with a surprise baby without trying (& amazingly while eating junk/drinking/living poorly, vs all my attempts during a detoxified/healthy body stage), and lost the perfectly healthy baby to an umbilical cord accident at 24 weeks, just 8 months ago. I’m struggling with infertility still, and if I ever do get pregnant again I expect I will worry just as much as I did the last time. I wouldn’t buy furniture or do much planning bc I believed that was jinxing myself, but in the end there was nothing I did or could do to control any of it. Please don’t feel guilty about being happy for yourself. You deserve it, you’ve earned your happiness and it is finally your time to enjoy what comes so effortlessly to most that they don’t appreciate what they have the same way we do (or will, if I’m ever there again).
    I hope you will continue to blog, as these types of testimonials (that there truly could be a light at the end of the tunnel) are the only things that keep me going. I hope all is well!

    Like

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