Today I will have a dreaded talk with my MIL (mother-in-law).
Let me back up. About two weeks ago, I received a text from MIL in regards to my oldest SIL (sister-in-law)'s baby shower.
This is not the type of pregnancy a Catholic woman would want to celebrate under normal conditions. Add to it the incessant pain of infertility and childlessness, and it becomes the last place on earth that Catholic woman would want to be.
So, when I received the text message, I already knew in my heart that this shower would be approaching and that my personal decision was to try to go, as long as on that day, I felt up to going. I am not looking for a way out. I could come up with a million excuses, not to mention, I may in fact have to work that day... this is not the point. I don't need an "out." I need understanding.
But I am far from having it.
The text at first glance appeared to be loving and considerate. It asked for days in late January and through February when I would be away, so that when they set the date for the shower, I could be there. I'm sure I was reading a bit too much into it, but when I thought about it more... I got a little angry. You see, when it comes to an infertile family member, what is REAL consideration? Asking them for dates when they will be around, so that when you have a baby shower, they will have no excuse not to be there??
This MIL is the one who read an entire book on Infertility (a gift from her sister for her birthday last year) and passed it along to me afterwards, telling me she understood so much better now what we were going through.
But does she?
I responded simply for her not to plan the party date around me, and that while I would certainly try to attend, I never know on any given weekend if I will be working until the day before (the truth). She left the matter alone.
But then my other SIL began texting, asking if such-and-such date worked for me, and if I received the invitation on email, etc. etc. I ignored those texts when I realized I first have to speak with my MIL.
I've realized, as I spoke to my Mom on the phone a couple weeks ago, that I do not let ANYONE see how infertility affects me. I write about it here, yes. I don't hold anything back when it comes to by blog. But the beauty of a blog is that it is anonymous. Oh, I don't mean that no one knows who I "really" am, because at this point, I think most of my readers have seen me, met me, and know me in real life. What I mean is that I am writing my emotions here... I am not showing them in the flesh. And maybe it's the Choleric in me that feels it is a weakness to show my emotions to the outside world, really show them. Rationally, I also understand that I cannot truly FEEL how I feel physically and simultaneously function from day to day at my job, at my home, and anywhere else.
This is the face I show to the world. I do not break down and cry with my infertility Creighton Model clients. I do not break down and cry during an ultrasound when the patient's ovulation was less-than-ideal. I do not break down and cry when a couple believes they are pregnant after years and years of trying, only to find out the labs show otherwise.
But while I stay strong outwardly, I am dying inwardly.
I think I have made such a resolve to staying strong (again, for self-preservation) that no one, my own mother included, is aware of how much pain I am in.
And now getting back to my MIL and the dreaded talk.
I've come to the conclusion that, no matter what happens with the shower (if I go, if I leave early, if I cannot go)... MIL needs to be "let in" to see how infertility actually affects me.
Let me tell you... I am TRULY not looking forward to this, but I know I have to do it.
Generally when I speak about infertility, even my own, I do it very matter-of-factly. "Each month that I get my period is like a miscarriage of hope, faith, and peace. I mourn the loss of what might have been my child, had God only granted the desires of my heart... but I also mourn the loss of heaven because I begin to doubt that I will ever get there knowing I wouldn't even be a mommy there."
I could say those words to any size group of people, and educate them about what infertility feels like. I would do it stoically, and at the end of the day, audience members may even wonder if I myself am infertile or if I'm just the "spokeswoman" for infertility.
But this afternoon... will not be that kind of talk.
I will need to feel the words I say. I will need to speak from my heart, not my head. It will be the same words, but a totally different conversation.
I'd better bring some tissues.