This morning I checked Facebook and found a blog link from an acquaintance who leads the women’s running group in town. I briefly ran with this group before my first pregnancy and subsequent loss. I have not run with them since because I’m ashamed, embarrassed and burdened. I eagerly clicked the link – I love finding new blogs, especially blogs by people I know. I love seeing how people use this virtual space to share, express themselves and, so often, heal.
I had suspected that this woman might be “one of us” after seeing her at the Tomorrow’s Children* 5k but I had no way of knowing for sure. As open as I am about my struggle, there really is no tactful way to delve into someone else’s. “Hey! So how many strange men have peered up your hoo-haw during treatment?” is not a great icebreaker. Instead I shyly smiled and said hello, taking a moment to let a small prayer pass that she be one of the “lucky” ones.
Her blog is a diary of daily photos for which she is thankful. I knew, instantly, why she started this. I don’t know how. Maybe it is because every step we take, every word we write and every photo we snap has some strange undercurrent that nothing else does? Maybe it was just random coincidence. Whatever it was, I clicked the “Why I’m thankful?” link and found these words:
“We had a miscarriage that left me broken and bitter and resentful. I finally got tired of feeling like that. I decided that if anything was going to change my attitude, it was going to be me. Who else?”
Big, hot tears ran down my cheeks as I read about her continuing journey to heal from loss several years ago. I felt such sadness for her and her husband. I felt such guilt for not saying more when I saw her at the 5k. I felt such anger towards whatever causes so much hurt in this community. It is just so fucking unfair.
This 3 minutes of my morning has left me so shaken. It is painful enough to connect with complete strangers who struggle through infertility. It can be excruciating to connect with people you know. Every time a friend or acquaintance comes froward with their story I feel like someone has punched me in the gut. Repeatedly. Despite filling this space with thousands, perhaps millions, of words about my journey, I find myself so lost with others that all I can do is cry.
*Tomorrow’s Children is an infertility support group that I am a member of and donate my marketing services to. You can read more about this amazing organization and the work we do here.