I respond less, keep more quiet, hide the awful things away- I'm sure there's even cynicism in my silence though.
I didn't ask to be this way, and I certainly don't practice it. I just am, with everything I've been through.
And I suppose that's part of the problem, isn't it? I can tell my story until I'm out of breath, until I'm winded and blue, but people still won't really get it- not unless they've been in my shoes. And I would never ask that.
Why is it so hard for some people to understand that sometimes, for some of us, it is a far better thing not to hope. I don't like hoping for things, I don't like expectations- they usually just set me up for another let down. I fall like a wilted flower, the mere wind enough to knock down my house of cards. I'd rather be surprised when things go right, it makes them all the more ecstatic because I didn't expect it. But when they don't go right, I am all the more prepared.
Is it normal to think this way? I doubt it. But trust me, it got me through all that trauma of being a neglected and abused child- and it is getting me through infertility and my losses. Yet just as when I was a child, hope has a funny way of creeping back up when you least wanted it. I would hope that my parents would remember my birthday, every year, and more often than not I was let down. I would hope that this new guy in my mother's life wouldn't be such a loser, but he would just be another abusive alcoholic, another pot head, another one who told us constantly that we were inherently bad children. I would hope that my father would love me, and he wouldn't. I bludgeoned hope to death more times than I can count, but it always tried to creep back up on me. It's no different with my current situation- except there is less hope to resurrect. Most of it died, without my willpower, with each pregnancy loss. Yet even that tiny bit that remains keeps trying to come back and haunt me.
I've come to solidify some thoughts in the past three years, the foremost being that some things are just not meant to be, and one of the hardest things in life is to realize when to keep trying and when to move on. It's a lesson I had known, but living it has driven into me an even harder clarity. And once realized? Laying hope to rest, burying it in a way it won't ever come back- I'm starting to think it's impossible. And maybe that's okay.
I've also got to say, that sometimes it is not enough to be a strong person, and having survived something doesn't mean it was ever okay or will ever be forgotten. And sometimes prodding, persistence, and encouragement from others, is actually hurtful. People constantly telling you not to "give up", telling you that they are sure it's going to happen for you, telling you they just know it will, that such and such is a good sign... while at times that can be uplifting, some days it is downright debilitating. Or maybe it's only like that after you cross a certain threshold... I feel like I am toeing the line of that threshold.
On the forums I stay silent more and more, not answering questions that I know the answers to. For many reasons. One, their naivty is so strong- and I barely remember it, but remember it I do. I miss it, but at the same time I don't. Also, often my experience with the question is less than satisfactory and I have to explain that this is not normal- I'm a rare case. I hate being such a freak show, having been through so much with so little to show. I hate not ever having a positive story, because even my positive stories are tainted with loss and bad things. I want to help the women who were as lost as I was, but sometimes it really is better to say nothing at all. When I do answer I try to keep my answers short and concise, utilizing what I've learned, read, experienced, but keeping it to the point.
I don't often post any questions I have, because with all I've been through and learned, my personal journey is too convoluted for most people to make heads or tails of, let alone find someone with similar experience to answer the questions. I see women come and go from the forums, and in the first year that was great- I hoped I would too. Now, they keep coming and going. And coming and going. And I'm still there. I see new batches of women come in and see how upbeat they are, see their excited posts, their eagerness for that elusive BFP (big fat positive), I see the posts where women get frustrated that their first Clomid cycle didn't work, or their IUI was a failure, and how they feel like they can't handle this- I say nothing, because I know how frustrated I was back then, even though now I think about it and realize I hadn't seen anything yet. To them this is new and fresh, for me it's bitter and stale.
I keep going to the forums though, to help others if I can. I go to get support from other women who have experienced losses like I have, who know that pregnancy isn't the end of the journey, who can offer me reassurances that my testing is appropriate, my results good or bad, who can relate. But I've realized I probably won't be on the forums much longer.
The cynicism doesn't end at the forums though. It takes control over my everyday life, my blog even. I can't tell anyone about my experiences with pregnancy, relate to them, because what experience have I had really? Most people would rather pretend they never happened. I can't even quip my dark humor in the real world, the other day I started writing a FB status saying "You know, if I keep having miscarriages I am going to have the absolute most beautiful yard- so far I've planted a cherry tree, a rose bush, and now a lilac bush"- but then I realized it would make people uncomfortable, so I just posted that we bought a lilac bush in memory of the third loss.
Most days I don't have a real status to post anymore, so I post something stupid. Then I wonder why I post anything at all. For the hell of saying something? Because I want to know someone is listening? They aren't. They can't hear the echo of my cries in my posts. Isn't it strange how you can be on the hardest journey of your life, have been through so much heartache that you wonder how your heart's still beating- and yet, no one even asks how you're doing? I am glad for my online support because if it wasn't for them I wouldn't ever get that.
How am I doing? Honestly- not good.
That is to say, I have a heavy heart and am filled with sadness about my losses, but everyday I feel the sunshine on my skin and smile at it's beauty. I look out on the yard and admire the thriving cherry tree, the hearty rose bush, and my heart is settled. I clean my house, cuddle my kitties, and relax on the couch- it's a good life. At night it is quiet, my husband and I watch television, play online games, surf the web- the nights are long, and heavy with everything we're missing. Every day trivial things knock me down, my car constantly throwing fits, work drama, something in the house needing replacing, a pet needing to go to the vet- and little things uplift me, a stupid video, dinner with my husband, getting the cats high on catnip, and letting the dogs frolic in the yard. But over everything is this permeating knowledge of how life could have been, should have been, otherwise.
And one day, it will. Even if it's not in the way I had originally imagined.