Saturday, April 9, 2011

Infertility Can Rip Families Apart

I usally try to make my posts light and positive. This time I have to let go and pour out my feelings. This is a long one, so go get a snack.  My next post will be about all the wonderful supports I have. So do not worry.
April is National Infertility Awareness month so I decided to post my story about how infertility destroyed the relationship I had with my sister.  I am hoping that by sharing this story, others who have similair situation know they are not alone.  I have come to realize that since she got pregnant right away without even really trying, she was able to only experience all the glory that comes with it. She has no understanding of the hell that many of us go through. Here is a link to an article about how infertility affects the whole family.

She never had to experience the  dark side of TTC: disappointment, despair, isolation, sadness, fear, mourning, stress, physical pain of treatments, raging hormones from treatments, depression, stress on my marriage, judgment by others, anger, 5 surgeries, time off from work for Dr apts, all the money I spend on treatments while I am saving to adopt, pushing yourself every day to keep going. .

My DH said that those who are able to do something with ease, really do not understand that some of us cannot. They think that the solution is obvious like, Just relax, do it more often, why don't you just adopt? etc.

I have not seen my father's side since her  baby shower. I am going down this weekend for my Grandmother's 96th birthday party, so all these feeling resurfaced. I do not  know what they even know about the situation. I do not know if my sister will even be there.

 I started TTC four years ago. I had been trying when the OBGYN found a large fibroid and said it had to come out. I had to wait four long months until I could have surgery. In January 2008 I had a laparotomy which is a major surgery similar to a c-section and not the same as a laparoscopy. My sister came to visit me for a few days and help me around the house. We spoke about children. She mentioned her DH needing to get a second job and that times were tough etc. Then she said something and slipped bc I caught the fact that she went off the pill. She down played it and said they weren't  trying yet, but she wanted to get her body ready. So I thought I had some time before she would start trying.

Then 3 months later I get a call from her. She says "we're pregnant and we're going to announce it to the whole family at Easter". I was shocked bc I did not know she was trying. Here I am at the one year IF mark and she calls me and just throws a granade at me. I started to freak out and imagine what it would be like when she makes her announcement, and then everyone turns to her older sister and says when are you having one etc.

I did not know what to say or how to feel. I just said "that's nice." She got really mad at me. She said "well shouldn't you be glad that I am not having the same problem you are?" She says "I thought you had to be off the pill for 3 months" (UGH BURN Really?) Again I was shocked. She never said anything sympathetic to my condition. It was all about her. I hung up on her because I started to cry. I called my mom to console me. I just cried and cried. I did not know what to think. I was just ambushed by emotions and feelings of betrayal by my sister. It was not the fact that she was pregnant, it was the lack of sympathy for my situation. I did the math and realized that she was already pregnant when she was at my house
When she found out that I called our mom, she got even more angry because I "ruined her surprise." Really? I cannot have what she is going to have in 9 months and she gets mad that I told our mom first. She could not see what  a gift she had. She only wanted to be up on stage and have everyone cheer for her. I was disgusted at that point. We got into a huge fight and stopped speaking for months. I even went online and found some great articles from the RESOLVE website to send her about how family and friends should handle those who are IF, basically explaining what we go through. She got mad that I sent it to her. This is a link to something similar

My mom would give me updates. When I found out she was having a boy, I started to crochet him a blanket. The summer came and it was time for her baby shower, I decided to suck it up and go. If you are suffering from infertility, you know how hard it is to even go to a baby shower  in the first place. So you know how hard it was for me to go to hers when I was so hurt by her. I said to myself, there are some things you cannot take back. I did not want to miss my sister's shower. Not only did I go, but I made it a point to get involved and run the games etc. I was up front and sincerely supportive.

In October, when the baby came, she called me and we talked. Everything seemed fine. I now had enough time to digest my feelings and deal with the whole thing. She lives 4 hours away. We spoke about me going out to visit. I could not go right away bc I was sick. When I was better I asked to visit, but her friend was coming that weekend, so we made the date. I do not drive alone long distances alone. I always take the train. The schedule online said the train was running an hour late, when I got to the station, I had missed it bc it had miracoulsy made up time. I called my sister at the station to explain.

She got really mad and said "can you come tomorrow?". I said, no I do not drive alone that far. I will come next weekend. She gets all panicky and says no. I ask why and she says she is going down to visit our mother. WOAH, really? A secret visit, bc I had no idea she was going down. Then I said, why are you going down the week before Thanksgiving. At this point, she throws me another grenade. She replies I am  not going down for Thanksgiving this year. (We always alternate holidays so we go down for Thanksgivng one year and the next Christmas but we go on the same schedule) so at this point I start to see what is going on. I said well then we won't get to see each other for both holidays this year. She said she needs to do what is best for her and her child. (I might have been able to switch if she had spoken to me earlier and given me time to plan with my DH etc, but she kept this all a secret)  I cannot believe what she is doing. What is her problem?

So we get into another fight. I send her a Christmas card and some presents. I figured that even though I was hurt, I wanted to send the message of peace. I spoke to my mother around Jan or Feb and tell her that I never even got a thank you card. I was not even sure that she got the presents. My mom starts to sound weird and named the toy I sent. So I realized that she went to visit the baby again. I asked why she went so soon after Christmas and she reluctantly tells me that she went to the baptism. WHAT???? REALLY? so she baptized the baby and never invited me. Then I find out that she asked her pregnant friend to be the Godmother. This is now just about two years of IF for me. She could have decided to make me some sort of mother and share her child. She chose to be cruel and chose her pregnant friend.

At this point I was wounded beyond repair. When she got pregnant, that was hard for me to deal with at first, but I always knew that she had a right to have a baby and be happy and it was not anything she was doing against me even if she was insensitive. This time, she did something on purpose to hurt me. You cannot take this back. You cannot undo the fact that she made the conscience decision to hurt me. She also made it clear that she does not want me to be involved in his life. (I can't remember when, but at some point she sent me a not stating that this would never be resovled and she wants me to stop sending him Christmas presents.)

The next year was really awkward. If we saw each other at family events, we stayed away from each other. We never spoke etc. Finally in November of 2009 my Grandmother died. I thought that maybe at the funeral she would realize that life is short and have some compassion towards me, but nothing. Then two months later in January, my mother had a stroke. I went down to visit. I thought again that my sister would realize how she is behaving is wrong. I put out the olive branch and I spoke to her son. I played with him etc. I even posed for  a picture with him. I made a huge effort to show that  I was willing to move on. She never spoke to me.

Then while my mother, my sister and I were in the living room. Something came up from when my sister was in HS. Then she made some nasty remark to me. This was the first time she spoke to me in a long time and that is what she chose to say. I got up packed my bags and went to the train station. My train was not due to leave for hours. I did not care. I sat in the station crying. I could not believe how heartless she was. Two months later, I had another laparotomy. This was a four hour  major surgery.  I was in the hospital for a few days. I was out of work for 4 weeks. My father told me that he called her to tell her and she did not care.

At this point, I am not sure if this will ever be resolved between us. My mother keeps telling me that when I get pregnant this will go away. That offends me bc it makes it seem like it is okay for my sister to act the way she does and that it is all my fault for being IF. 

I work in a school and someone has been pregnant every year since I started working there. My co-workers who aware of my IF, will come  to me and say a variation of the following, "I know what you have been going through, I am sorry about it. I have to tell you something and I don't want to hurt you" It is amazing that they get it and my sister cannot.


  1. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so sorry for the hurt you've experienced. I think I would feel the same way as you do. IF causes so many rifts and divisions.

    For me, it's between my mother and I. She is like your understanding or sympathy, hurtful and inappropriate comments, no desire to understand, etc. I haven't spoken to her in months because she can't get past the fact that I haven't made her a grandmother if it's my choice. And the hard part about rifts in a family is family doesn't go away like a bad friend could.

    Prayers for you and your relationship with family members!

  2. This is so sad :( But it sounds like your sister needs a lot of prayer. She is obviously lacking compassion. I will pray for you too, that this will one day be resolved. And not just because you will have a child someday. That's horrible!

  3. I am so sorry for your recent loss. So horrible! IF is really so hard and nasty!! I hate that your sister can not be there for you and understand all the pain and heartache that you are feeling. I hope one day she will see this and reconnect. Sometimes, we just need to allow time and space for healing and clarity. I do feel your pain.

    My mom is mostly ok, but she makes remarks that feel like sniper attacks, "instead of buying a house, why dont you just adopt". Yes, I feel like saying to my mother, I will live in a 674square foot apartment with my DH and adopted baby! Like, I can not have a house and a child! O, and remarks "via text messages" from a friend recently just sent me batty! I decided I can not talk with her anymore...just too painful!

    My thoughts and prayers are with you!!

  4. Thank you for your kind words. It is hard to deal with if alone and then family members can make it worse. I know that many people have issues with their mom. Thankfully my sister did not show up at the party so I was able to relax. Nobody at the party even asked me about my IF except my grandmother. She told me to eat lots of pasta and turn the TV off at night. Then she said "I hope you don't think I am being fresh" I love her =)


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