(This is partly in response to egghunt’s post, which is so true and real. She has been so wonderfully supportive of me over the past few months, and I hope that what follows isn’t inappropriate.)
I have never had a miscarriage because I have never been pregnant. I have never done IUI or IVF. I am an infertility lightweight. But I am not very strong.
With most of my self I want to get rid of my pain. I want to be the girl who spent the night naked on the beach with a bunch of friends,* not the girl who is suddenly shy about undressing in front of my husband because of the big fucking scar on my belly. I want to be the girl reciting Yeats in Loud Drunk Voice, not the girl who stays in bed all weekend. I want to be the girl who can hold her infant niece without that sinking, paralyzing feeling of failure.
But (and this is the dirty secret) there is a tiny, perverse part of me that cherishes the pain. It’s the part of me that whispers “worthless” and “useless” and “failure;” the part of me that knows (knows) I was wasting my time in grad school, and if only we hadn’t waited so long I wouldn’t be here; the part of me that wonders if it would really be possible to crawl into bed and never come out. That same perverse part of me is sure that there is nothing left of me but pain–and wonders what I would be without it. So I hold it close, I look for validation, I tot up all the reasons why it’s understandable for me to feel like falling-apart every. goddamn. minute.
And around it goes. It’s a trap, of course. The logic goes like this:
- Given: I experience my pain.
- Either it is real and valid, or I am making it up.
- I am not making it up.
- If my pain is real and valid, it is understandable that I continue to feel it.
- (and this one is the kicker) If I stop feeling the pain, on some level I will be denying its reality and validity. After all, if I can stop it, it must not have been so bad.
- I will never get out.
I know this sounds totally insane, and I get that the logic train is far, far off the rails here, but it’s where I am and it’s where I always get to when I start thinking about objective measures for pain. My score on the pain test is not high. If there’s a Pain Olympics I wouldn’t even be invited to the tryout. I have met people who have dealt with real adversity. Some of the people who comment on this blog have made it through miscarriages, failed IVFs, lost opportunities for adoption, and so much more. What I have been living for the past two years is nothing compared to that. So how do I prove my pain is real, other than by continuing to feel it?
Like I said, it’s a trap.
*Hey, it was college.