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March Photo Challenge: Day 7

03/07/2012

Belle

Prompt: Purple

About this photo: You would think that since I put together this challenge I would have picked prompts that would easy. Not so much, it turns out. I’m not really sure how I decided on the color purple, but regretted it this morning when I took out my camera and started to look for inspiration – I’m not a huge fan of the color. I thought about walking to my neighbor’s yard and photographing their crocuses, but nothing about this really inspired introspection.

While doing my makeup I pulled out my Urban Decay palette to decide what I wanted to do today and it hit me – not only is the palette purple, it addresses a topic that I have not really discussed.

Being told that you can’t have a child without the help of science is devastating. Not only does it mean that building a family will be costly, painful and difficult, but also that your body is incapable of doing the one thing that really sets women apart from men. For me, this was more painful than the injections, the retrieval, the heavy price-tag. The day the doctor said I-V-F I felt a portion of my womanhood die.

Today I struggle to feel good about myself and it is having a direct effect on my marriage: Mr. Husband’s and my romantic life is damn near dead. I look in the mirror and feel barren and unattractive. I run from a camera. I edit my self portraits obsessively, trying to photo shop in the part of me that has been cast out.

Gradually new beauty products have crept into my life. I read several fashion blogs and I started to look at these  beautiful and fertile women, trying to figure out how I could look like them. How can I paint fertility on my body?

This Urban Decay palette was my first purchase and, I’m ashamed to say, was far from my last. I ordered makeup from MAC, I started getting my hair professionally colored and purchased an entire Aveda skin care line. I began buying expensive clothing again. It was a gradual buildup to a full-fledged problem. My morning routine used to take 45 minutes from entering the bathroom to stepping out the front door. Now it takes 60. The last credit card bill was horrific due 100% to my quest to find my womanhood.

This morning I looked at myself and thought “After all this work, I don’t feel better about myself.” Lotions, potions, layers upon layers of meticulously blended eye shadows and you know what? I still feel infertile. I still feel empty. I still do not want Mr. Husband to touch me. To look at me. I wish I knew how to fix this. How can I repair the hole that infertility has eaten into my womanly being? I desperately want to enjoy the fact that I am still young, I am pretty and by gosh, Mr. Husband does find me attractive even though my ovaries don’t work. But I don’t know how.

The March Photo Challenge participants as of Wednesday at 2 p.m. are:

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29 Comments

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  1. Bon #
    March 7, 2012

    Just wanted to leave you some love….

    xx

  2. Peg #
    March 7, 2012

    You sound like you’ve been in my head. I have all those same thoughts and feelings. I even nearly took a picture of my purple pallette of eyeshadow this morning.

  3. March 7, 2012

    Oh Belle, I can understand where you are coming from. Romance dies with infertility. Somehow it is just not sexy to announce to your husband that “we have to have sex right now! And probably for the next couple of days…” How unromantic can you get?

    But that will fade with time. Eventually we will all come out of this rut one way or another and you have a husband who loves you. You ARE beautiful and you should never question why someone wants to love you.

    Big hugs!

  4. March 7, 2012

    Belle, this is good stuff right here. I absolutely feel that as the diagnoses added up, I lost more and more of my self confidence and womanhood. I constantly feel like a fraud of a woman, and even know being pregnant I feel like I somehow don’t deserve this. My body is unworthy.

    I hope Trisha is right and that we someday grow out of it and move on. Common thread we have in this community…. hope.

  5. March 7, 2012

    You continue to inspire me with your inner and outer beauty.(and today I wondered how someone so smart could think so silly) have a hot date at home with Mr. husband.

    • March 8, 2012

      Thank you Mary! You are too sweet. I hope we can find time for a date this weekend.

  6. March 7, 2012

    Only 15 minutes longer? That’s not too bad. 😛

    We’re in similar boats right now. I have started to feel like my shampoo isn’t good enough, my skin cream, my clothes — it goes on and on. I have been a lot more aware of my appearance, worrying about every little thing, and have started noticed signs that I’m “getting older”. Where did these grey hairs come from? And WHY do I suddenly have lines on my forehead?! For me, being told that my infertility is “unexplained” has been a total mind fuck. At least if I knew what was wrong I could deal with it an move on. Infertility is making me old, and I’m not old.

    Like you I don’t know what to do, exactly, to help make myself feel better. Running helps, yoga helps… but I have days for sure where I can do those things and still feel helpless, unattractive and undesirable.

    You are not alone, I guess, is what I’m trying to say. I’ll stop rambling, but I want you to know that you are beautiful, inside and out. These feelings will pass. I’ve decided to get back to basics, in other words, keep it simple — you know, au naturel… it’s working, so far — a lot less pressure to be someone I’m not, and celebrate the woman I am!

    Bye for now. I hope you have a lovely day.

    D x

  7. Jen #
    March 7, 2012

    Who knew that purple eye shadow would make me cry?

    I’m at the beginning stages of what you’re feeling. Unfeminine, unwomanly, unattractive. I used to take great pains with my appearance and made a huge effort to stay fit and healthy. But now I see all of that slipping away from me, along with my dreams of becoming a mother. I just don’t care anymore. Go for a run? Meh. Maybe another day. Wash the makeup off my face before bed? Feh. Why bother? And my hair doesn’t need to be washed every day, does it? When my husband tells me I’m beautiful, I think he’s lying to me, just trying to make me feel better. So I scoff at his compliments and end up hurting him. This is not good.

    If you find the secret to feeling good about yourself again, will you please share it with me?

  8. Edie #
    March 7, 2012

    Belle! I know these feelings run so deep that something as simple as a compliment from a friend can’t help much. But you are such a beautiful person — inside and out. Anyone who knows you can see that. And I am so glad Mr. Husband can see that too! Listen to what he says and will yourself to believe him. With his help and support you will get through this crisis — together.

  9. March 7, 2012

    Do you even realize how many things you do EXCEPTIONALLY PERFECT?? (taking photos, matching clothes, MAKING cool stuff, cooking amazing food, running great races, creating a wonderful home, applying flawless makeup!! I mean..COME ON!! How do you do this stuff??) And making a baby will be one of those things..On another note: you have never been one to do anything “traditionally” so this will be the same thing. In the end, a PERFECT baby will come to a PERFECT family.
    P.S. I can’t relate to the unwomanly unfertile thing but I can relate to being a married woman for fifteen years. We all go through times in our lives when we feel “less than.” Husbands do to. We will all be feeling better with SUNSHINE AND SPRING..maybe someday I will wear a bra again and get out of my sweats..but for now..who do I have to impress?? The answer should be ME!!

    Feel good for yourself….and noone else
    HUGS!

  10. March 7, 2012

    I just wanted to let you know, coming from the other side, where our problem is my husband that I don’t view him any differently. That I am still crazy about him in every way (and always have been) and have never ever once blamed him for our problems, our inability to have a baby on our own is OURS not his. I still view him as every bit attractive as I always did and I know that while life without him might get me a baby…..it would be life without him. I am positive (as hard as it is to see right now) that your husband is over the moon crazy about you and attracted to you disfunctional ovaries and all.

    • March 8, 2012

      This is an excellent perspective that I never thought of. I wonder if men feel the same inadequacy as women do? I wonder how they are able to see past it if so. Thank you for sharing this.

      • March 8, 2012

        Jon and I have talked about this a lot. While I don’t know that it has killed his sex drive there was more than one occassion where the pressure certainly got to him and he was unable to “perform”. I know he had many worries about me leaving him and broke down on more than one occassion worried that we would never get pregnant and that he’d never be able to give me children. It broke my heart. Especially as he is my everything. I think men are different from women in that they feel the need to provide….and if they can’t provide what we want most it breaks them. While they may not feel that they are unmanly, I think they do have the same “can’t do what I was put here to do” (take care of us!) feeling.

  11. March 7, 2012

    What an amazing post. And you are beautiful. That’s all I’m gonna say.

  12. March 7, 2012

    Honey, you are beautiful. I wish there was something I could say or do to make you feel it.
    That is the big thing in my head. We can’t do what sets us apart. You don’t feel like a woman or sexy anymore. I was in the place you are months ago. The romance was gone and even though the issues were both of us I felt super unattractive from it. I talked to my Hubby about it and he made sure he showed how much he was attracted to me a little more. It really helped. Maybe do a little reminiscing with each other and do something romantic together you used to do.

    • March 8, 2012

      I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to know that other couples have experienced it, and found a way through it. Sometimes I worry it is the beginning of the end of our marriage. I hope this weekend we can find some spark again. Corny as this sounds, maybe Mr. Husband can help me feel like a woman again 😉

  13. Laura #
    March 7, 2012

    just wanted to drop in and repeat the love that all your other readers have sent your way. You are SO beautiful and I can say with ZERO doubt that Mr Husband loves you dearly and finds you every bit as beautiful and sexy now as he always has…I’ve seen it in his eyes and the way he looks at you and snuggles up to you.

  14. March 7, 2012

    I feel the same way sometimes. I’ve gotten better, but for a while the only thing I could think to make me feel better about myself was to get a nice haircut and highlights. Then go to the mall for some retail therapy…

    like maybe if I look better I would feel better. Its a good temporary boost but never permanent. I’m starting to get over it. I will just be happy if we are able to have a baby with science. I will be grateful for that, even if sex with my husband never gets me pregnant. As long as I can get pregnant somehow.

    • March 8, 2012

      I have a cut and highlight appointment next week 🙂 You read my mind! Yes, the ultimate goal is a baby no matter what it takes. But in the meantime, it sure would be nice to feel like enough of a woman. If I figure out the secret, I’ll let you all know!

  15. March 7, 2012

    Belle, I’ve been thinking about you all day. This post really stuck with me, I think because I’ve been feeling the same way, but I hadn’t put my finger on it. A few days ago, I was fine when my husband kissed the back of my neck. Next thing I knew, I there were tears welling in my eyes. All I wanted to do was crawl under the covers and hide.

    I try do my best to recognize that, while there are real issues to be sad and stressed about, our feelings, or lack of them, are also exacerbated by all of the hormone fluctuations involved in IF treatments. Then we do our best to laugh as much as we can. And I do my best to remember that they love us despite it all.

    IF, regardless of the cause, is unfair in that the burden is born so disproportionately by the woman. It makes us feel inadequate. It makes us bruised and fat. It makes us tired and cranky. You’re doing something to fight those feelings. Maybe that’s a good thing, even if it doesn’t always work.

    • March 8, 2012

      Thank you for the kind words. Infertility does make us feel inadequate. My goal for the weekend is to find a way that makes me feel adequate so Mr. Husband and I can have a proper date night. I don’t know what that is yet, but really hope I can figure it out.

      • March 8, 2012

        We are hoping to have a date night this weekend too. I’m thinking some wine will help, and maybe just having the time to DO things unrelated to IF – a museum, a movie, a walk.

        Or, maybe a massage? There have been so many times over the past month where I’ve wanted to take a bath – and I’m not usually a bath person – but we only have a shower. I think some of these feelings (at least for me) are stress related. I had my first ever facial yesterday and it was wonderful, but too short.

  16. 35life #
    March 7, 2012

    Beautiful post! I totally know exactly what you are describing and I keep finding myself using retail therapy hoping to feel better. I’m not gonna lie, some days are like this, but not all of them. Hugs!

  17. March 8, 2012

    You are pretty. Nuff said. I know you may not feel it, but I just wanted to say it.

  18. March 8, 2012

    This is one issue that DH and I have gone back and forth about over and over again. As women, we pften take IF as a personal failure. But DH swears he sees it as any other health issue, and therefore it does not make him view me ANY differently. Actually it does. It makes him more sensitive and sympathetic and he views me as a stronger woman than he did previously. But, that doesn’t change my feelings of inadequacy. So, instead of dealing with a problem that exists in reality, I almost manufacture one from my insecurity. Does that make sense?

    Honestly, this is why I see a therapist. I don’t want to be the one who drives him away because of this. He won’t ever leave me because he is as crazy about me as I am about him. But if I continue to force the issue, I def am not helping our relationship. Therapy has really helped me to deal with IF as a health issue and not a personal failure. I’m not saying I don’t have really bad moments, but overall I am finding a way to maintain my sense of self for my own sake, and for the sake of my marriage.

    I am sending you so much love and support. You are a beautiful, wonderful woman who has been dealt a shitty hand. Try to love yourself a little today.

  19. steph #
    March 19, 2012

    this is EXACTLY how I feel. it sucks that IF makes me feel less attractive, but then add the disgusting acne and weight gain from 4 rounds of evil clomid and how am i supposed to DTD now?!? unfortunately for DH (who likes to “see” me) it’s always lights off. i have been working on focusing on the inner beauty to make me feel beautiful again, but the feelings of a loss of my womanhood even makes that too difficult. 😦 thanks for sharing this. as if i wasn’t feeling lonely enough on this journey, losing me sense of womanhood and feeling unattractive really made me feel more alone.

    xoxo!!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. March Photo Challenge Day 7 « Where Do We Go From Here?
  2. A bald baby!? You better cover that up… « Scrambled Eggs

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