Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On Full Disclosure

I wish that I could write here and say that journeying through grief is an ever upward march toward healing, or that each day brings you closer to happy, or that it is possible to put things you have felt, seen and experienced behind you, but I can't - it would be a lie. Along the way there are many unexpected dips, turns, and blockades that rob you of your breath, instill anger, or throw you back a few steps in your healing. This is what happened to me last week. 

I know that the tone of my last post may have upset some of you, and I really wanted to address all those who took the time to offer me advice, share stories, and post comments from various belief systems, as a means of reaching out to me regarding my current struggle. The vast majority of messages left here or emailed to me were supportive, insightful, and understanding, and for that I am grateful. 

My story is not a clean one. Hearing about infertility on top of loss makes some people uncomfortable, tired, or frustrated. On a few sad occasions, it even compels them to send a note passing judgement on how long I should be grieving, or how wrongly they think I am handling my infertility. Sometimes I wonder if in telling me that I have done something to contribute to or perpetuate my loss, it makes them feel that they can put distance between their situation, and mine. If they can feel a sense of security, looking down at me from their high perch, and actually convince themselves that they are untouchable. I assume pointing a finger is easier for some, than having to accept the ugly reality that you can do everything right, and still have things go so incredibly wrong.

Most of the people who read this blog can, for the most part, understand. Most of the readers of this blog are dealing with their own losses, or struggling with their own fertility, and it is because of these shared experiences that they have found this page. It is because of these readers that I cannot apologize to the few who have reached out to tell me that I should be somewhere else in my grief. It would be a disservice to myself, to this process, and to those who come here for a sense of validation and understanding. 

I have always prided myself on being truthful here, even when my truth isn't what people necessarily want to hear from me. This blog is not a "life after loss and infertility is all rainbows and sunshine" type blog, simply because that is not where my life is right now. I of course see nothing wrong with those blogs (I hope to get there myself one day) but right now, in the thick of it, saying anything along those lines would just be lying.

There are days on this blog where I share what I feel to be some semblence of beauty revealed to me by this journey. There are days where I can feel myself doing some healing, or looking to the future feeling hopeful and optimistic. On those days, that is my truth, and therefore I write about it. On days like this past Monday, where I felt kicked down once again, where I wondered how much a person was expected to take and felt at my wits end, that is when you get posts like "Oh God."

It may surprise some of you to know that messages on both sides of the faith fence brought healing to my heart these last few days. Messages from those who have no faith, those who are strong in their faith, and those who have been tested in their faith, have felt this level of anger at God, and have come through. 

Messages like Kelly's: "The bottom line is...I'd rather walk through it with Him than without Him." 
Or Deb's: "Don't listen to me or the next person or God. Listen to you. And don't feel guilty or less of a person ever." 
Quotations like Elizabeth's:"For now, let your rage flow. And above all, as the poet said, rage, rage, against the dying of the light ( I take this to mean hope.)"
Or insights like Fran's: "People don't know what God's intentions are no more than you or i do. You have every right to feel betrayed by a God who should have been there." 

Each of these was sent by women standing at completely different corners of the faith spectrum, and each was sent with one goal in mind - to let me know I am not alone.

In the words of these women, and so many others, I felt validated in my feeling things that, if not shared, would have just left me to feel isolated. For the most part, even those who couldn't agree with what I had said, still expressed an understanding of where I was coming from. I received notes on FB, comments here, and via email, and with the exception of a few that stung to read, felt incredibly blessed for the uplifting openness of this community.

If there is one truth in all of this, it is that once you have lost a child (or your dreams of a child) regardless of how long you had them with you, a part of you dies. That doesn't mean you stop living or that you don't appreciate what you have. It doesn't mean you never see the beauty in life around you, or that you refuse to go on to spite the world. It means just what it means, that a part of you dies, and as that part dies off, other parts of you are born, and somewhere along the way you try to mesh the two and find your new place in a world that you never wanted to know existed, and that is not something that you can do according to anyone else's timetable. That is what I try to do here... to give a truthful account of my journey, even on the days when my account is not pretty or clean.

I am open here even when I know that what I say may make one reader roll her eyes, or another tell me to get over it. I am open, even when I know that in doing so, someone may use my words against me, or imply that any of this is a choice. I have to be truthful here, if not for me, than for the next person stumbling across this page, walking in the same lousy pair of shoes, looking for comfort and validation that while their feelings may not be something that their friends, family, or co-workers understand, under these incredibly abnormal circumstances, are understandable.

That is why I think we need to have full disclosure here. We need to be truthful, even when it can result in someone sending you a comment or an email that hurts to read. When we have been dealt the blows that we have, when we face questions and conflicts that the average person is lucky enough not to need to understand, that is when we must be the most open. How sad it would be, if in looking for validation and understanding, someone reading these blogs only found more of the same... a message that they need to brush these feelings aside, or heal according to the standards or time frame that someone else has deemed convenient.


  1. I think you are wonderful.

    There is no other place that your grief should be than the place that it is right now. It is your grief and your journey and no one else knows or has the right to tell you where or when you should be along this awful, rocky, twisty, potholed road.

    And your tag, "infertility after losing your baby is utter shit" sums it up heartbreakingly perfectly.


  2. I couldn't have said it better! Thank you for sharing with us. For those of us who are still on this journey, it is nice to hear, and we need to hear, where other women are in this journey. To give us hope, to cry with, to scream with, and to know, most of all, that we are not alone in our feelings. And that goes for your feelings on being abandoned by God. It is what you (and I) are feeling, and no one has the right to judge. Even if they have been through something similar, everyone's situation is different, and everyone deserves the right to grieve the way they need to and on the time table they need to. Thank you for being so honest with us!

  3. Well said, well said. This is a beautiful post, and I commend your strength and honesty. This is your journey, and your space. There is no need for apology, this is who you are and where you are.

    This part really struck a chord with me, you put into words, what I have been trying to for years now:

    "If there is one truth in all of this, it is that once you have lost a child (or your dreams of a child) regardless of how long you had them with you, a part of you dies. That doesn't mean you stop living or that you don't appreciate what you have. It doesn't mean you never see the beauty in life around you, or that you refuse to go on to spite the world. It means just what it means, that a part of you dies, and as that part dies off, other parts of you are born, and somewhere along the way you try to mesh the two and find your new place in a world that you never wanted to know existed, and that is not something that you can do according to anyone else's timetable. "

    Thank you for sharing. While I hate that we have to go through this, it helps so much to not feel alone in loss.

  4. Glad to see you letting it all flow out in TRUTH. As a BLM.. As an infertility family... a blogger...I am glad to read Truth in others journey's... that is just it your journey and we choose to read here.. I Enjoy you and one day.... I hope blog friends will meet IRL. with babies IRL... and angels in our hearts.. always.

  5. The last paragraph in your post means a lot to me. My son passed away five months ago and I really don't know where I would be without blogs like yours. I had no idea this community existed and since I found it, I have clung to it knowing that these people so honest and truthful are people that unfortunately feel what I am feeling. I am not alone becuase of blogs like yours and I thank you for speaking the truth even if it hurts some to read.

  6. Well stated. And I'm glad for your truthfulness, and your ability to push through despite those hurtful statements. It gives hope to me.

  7. Thank you for being honest. It means a lot to me and the other readers. If people weren't honest in these spaces then I'd feel even more alone.

  8. My heart just hurts for yours so much because it reminds me of mine and I KNOW how much this is all killing me.

    And how I am struggling.
    And how I wish that God would send me the comfort that everyone swears is going to come.
    And how not feeling God when you need Him the most is very, very lonely. The loneliest thing in the world, I think.

    So I am so glad you are being honest and forthright. I try to do the same for the same reason--I don't ever want to be a stumbling block to anyone's faith, but I can't just act like this is something that I'm thanking God for because it's my opportunity to show my faith remains strong.

    Maybe that IS what it is, but I'm not there yet. And I don't know of very many people who are there that started there immediately.

    So I just cling to what I know. There IS a God. He works miracles. I look at pictures of my baby and your baby and the babies of so, so many other women and KNOW that those precious lives are nothing short of the Hand of God in flesh.

    And if He gave me that...then there is NO doubt that He loves me. And you.

    And I'm sorry, but in reading the comments, I cannot BELIEVE someone told you that you need to let go and move on. That you aren't ready for another child with this anger in your heart. I certainly don't want to be judgmental, but REALLY? REALLY--tell a woman who is obviously in so much pain to get over it, move on, and essentially the reason she isn't pregnant again is because she is too venomous inside?

    Just incensed by that.

    Praying for you to be wrapped up in His arms.

  9. i'm really sorry that you were made to feel,, by a cruel idiot obviously that you needed to validate where you are with your grief. i have a cruel idiot in my life too, who tells me i should be over it by now..... my sons father !
    if they are so uncomfortable with where we, as grieving mothers are at, then they should vanish into the vapor . they don't have to be around us, they don't have to read our blogs, warm hugs xxx anne

  10. You can never be anywhere except where you are. And I think being authentic about that place is way more healing than faking it. I applaud your honesty. We can listen, love, and support people who aren't in the exact place as us, or who don't believe the exact same things as us. Keep writing, keep talking, keep walking this journey as best as you know how...

  11. I cannot believe people are telling you where to be in your grief! How dare they!

    Your anger and pain is honest. I don't come here for fairytales and giggles. I come here for honesty. People are just so threatened by that and I don't get it, really I don't.

    Keep being honest Kristen. The people who want you to lie need to take a good look at themselves.


  12. All I can do is send you big((HUGS)). You are so brave - truly, selflessly brave and someone to aspire to be more like. It's so easy for some to judge a mother of a loss - to put a time limit on the "how" and "how long" of grieving.
    I'm truly grateful for those people. Grateful that they can sit and be judgmental from the outside, never having to truly feel the torment, anguish, guilt, and horrible grief that goes along with losing a child. I'm grateful for each little comment someone says to me, because that means that there is one more living child in this world and one less grieving parent.
    Thank you for inspiring others to come together with the telling of your (and Peyton's) story. The only ones who truly understand are those of us who have walked this road - and we all need each other.

  13. Well said, dear Kristin...beautifully, honestly well said.

    So grateful that you felt less alone as you read the comments. Because you are not alone...

    Love and continued prayers...

  14. Part 1 :I have been reading your blog for a little while. I am amazed at your strength. I have been on this journey of grief for a long time. My first loss was in 1999 and no one really acknowledged it. We lost a daughter in 2006 (I carried her for 22 weeks). I never really grieved our daughter because everyone moved on and I felt I had to....was I wrong. When our son died after 6 days in the NICU, I thought I had to move on because that is what I felt I had to do....was I wrong. 5 months after I lost our son, I was in bad shape. Life was so hard, I couldn't believe what had happened. It was moving forward, but I was stuck, so stuck. I did find a support group that saved me. I realize know I needed to deal with this grief or I would be in even worse shape. I have been going for almost two years and I can finally say I have had 4 really good months. I feel like I am finally living and not just existing. Every woman that comes to our group has the same feelings as you, you are completely normal. Do not let anyone make you feel bad, you lost a beautiful daughter, life will not be the same. Everything you feel is ok, you should be mad, your faith should be shattered, all of this really sucks. I applaud you for your strength- you have opened your heart to strangers, but remember only those moms who have lost a child, can really understand what this pain feels like and how hard grief is. It is a full time job. Our hearts are missing a piece or two or three because as you said when your child (children) have died, they took a piece of it with them.

    I have finally come to a point where I realize, I will see my children again someday. I truly believe this....but it has taken awhile. (I totally respect those who think I am off my rocker, but this has helped me. And remember we all need to do what helps us get through our grief) I believe I need to do everything here to make sure I get there to see them. I know they are safe. I ask them to pray for me. I tell them to pray for me so I have the strength to get through the day. I ask them to put in a good word to all of their little friends to say an extra prayer to help me when life is hard.

    Sorry this is so long... Jennifer

  15. Part 2: Your post about the cocoon was amazing. My heart broke when I heard about everything not working this past week. I felt so sad to hear your post yesterday, but I understood and you should be angry, life sucks- no one deserves to have to deal with all of this. I prayed for you last night and when I read your post was beautifully written. You are honest, it is all from the heart. I have tried really hard to ignore the comments or attitudes of those around me who feel my time of grief should be over.... it will never be over. How can people just think that...their lives go on….it is not their heart that aches or has a hole, it is yours. No one will ever understand what YOU have been through, but a lot of us have suffered such a pain that we do get it. I am a little further in my journey and I get that. IT has taken a long time to get here and who knows how I will feel tomorrow but I will take the good days when I can. It is a hard one, I have had 4 good months (the previous 4 really sucked!) I totally realize that at some point I hit a wall and get down again, but I have to try so hard to pick my self up. Is it hard.... yes.... do the people around you make it worse sometimes.... absolutely. The people I thought would be there for me have not been, but at the same time I have been amazed at some of the women I have met through this journey who really do care about me and my story. I am surprised at some of the new people in my life who have been supportive. I need to focus on all of those people. I am sorry there are people who feel the need to rush your grief. Stay in your cocoon. You are already a beautiful butterfly, but that cocoon will protect you from harm. You need to be kept safe because life is so overwhelming right now. Hang in there, you will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. You are such a special person to open your heart to all of us. I admire your honesty. Stay true to yourself.


  16. It's so weird. It's been said that I, and you, and others who have suffered tremendous bouts of loss, should express compassion towards those who have yet to understand our pain. Because how could someone who hasn't been through a similar experience possibly understand, right?

    But then I remember my mom. And I remember how she used to tell me to show respect, to exhibit compassion for others, even if I could not relate. The elderly serve as an example. I wasn't old or frail when I was a kid, and yet I understood the challenges of our elderly neighbors, handling their grocery shopping for them and lugging pounds upon pounds of food items to their apartments and even bringing them food that my mother cooked (because she cooked for our neighbors for as long as she could remain standing in a kitchen).

    And all of this makes me wonder. How in the heck can we even muster up the cojones to tell someone how to grieve or for how long a time? Even if we haven't worn the same shoes, we absolutely owe each other respect and space and even a tiny bit of understanding. And just because some others may not have experienced overwhelming loss, it doesn't mean that they're immune to it. Loss is inevitable.

    One day, I might be elderly. And I will only hope that a kid will help me purchase and carry my groceries into my home.

    Finally, I need to commend you. I AM commending you because what you have just written here is so clear, truthful, insightful, REAL and deserving of respect. Not to mention that I could never write something similar without involving a string of curse words and heavy sarcasm.

  17. I love your raw honesty, I love this blog. You are entitled to be angry, don't let anyone tell you how you feel or grieve. I am a strong person of faith but I would be lying if I said I wasn't angry at God. You have been through so much, I can't believe it. It doesn't seem fair that such a beautiful person like you has to go through this. I hurt so much for you. I prayed and will continue to pray. I am here for you, I am just an email away, ((HUGS)).

  18. A good blog stirs up emotions, I think your attitude towards it is great. Some people get really angry when they get a negative comment, I love that you are focussing more on the comments that feed you and not the ones that hurt you.

    Few people can ever understand the pain of infertility, my friend said to me the other day that she cannot in her wildest dreams imagine what it must be like. And yes it's true, for many people, the easiest way not to have to think about it is to push it away from themselves and tell you to get over it.

    Their problem, not yours!

  19. Kristin, I cannot BELIEVE that anyone could be so cold hearted or cruel as to look at what you've been through, at the shocking and devastating loss of your Peyton and then the unfairness of your infertility and subsequent failed IVF and think that they have ANY RIGHT to pass judement on how you are coping and grieiving. How utterly insensitive!
    You keep doing whatever it is that you need to do to get by.
    There's an expression, a rather crass expression, but it says it all:
    F*ck the people I AM the people!

  20. Oh Kristin, I am so sorry to hear that people have anything less than empathy and compassion for you. This is your space and you should feel free to write down the things you need to get out of your head. Without doing this it is so easy to keep everything bottled up inside and hold on to all those feelings, which is not healthy for anyone. I don't understand why people keep reading if they don't agree...maybe they were never told, "If you don't have anything nice to say (or write) don't say anything at all." Thinking of you. xx

  21. I hope that my comment was not one that stung to read. It was not meant to hurt you. Being new to grief I'm still learning what to say or not to say and how to be there. I know the pain of losing a child so I just wanted to try and lift you up. I should have just said that I'm sorry you were having a hard time and left it at that. You are entitled to feel the way you do and of course we all handle our grief in different ways. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. I really hope I haven't offended you in any way, for that is not my intention. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Some people are afraid to put out raw truth and you are not and I think by doing that you are helping others. It is ok to feel the way you do and for others as well. I don't think there is any healing from our losses. I think the paragraph about how even though we have suffered this loss it doesn't mean that we can't still function. It just means it is what it is and that's what I try to tell people who have already told me to move on (Lilly passed away 2/28/10). First of all no one has the right to tell any person grieving how to do it or what to do or how to feel or its wrong or right. There is no right or wrong way, no one should judge. I apologize for the length of my comment.

    love and prayers

  22. Dear Kristin

    This awful crucible of your grief is forging something quite remarkable. Your writing just keeps getting better and better and better. The power and dignity of your last post was truly inspiring. I know this is so small a thing, when faced with the enormity of your losses, but a small thing is better than nothing.

    The world is full of the crass, as well as the wise. Fortunately in communities such as this, the latter far outweigh the former. And through your blog, through your perception and honesty and clarity of thought, you are making a profound contribution on the enlightening and compassionate side of that spectrum.

    All emotion is authentic and we all walk ( and stumble blindly) on our own paths, at our own pace, through and around (and around) it.

    Holding you in my thoughts. The quote was from Dylan Thomas.


  23. I can't say it better than Elizabeth already has. I'm glad you are here, articulating the thoughts that I couldn't even begin to. x

  24. Here's the Griefshare email I got today... I signed up to get one email a day for the next 365 days... thought I'd share today's with you:

    Fear, depression, anger, loneliness, despair—these emotions come and go with dizzying unpredictability. Your life is like a roller-coaster ride that you can't get off.

    Stay on the ride. You cannot hurry the grieving process. Each time one of these emotions comes flooding back, it is a sign that you are recovering.

    "All the feelings, thoughts, and emotions rush back into my life. It's uncontrollable," says Dr. Norman Peart.

    But God is always in control. He is a solid rock, unmoving and unchanging. Build your life's foundation on Him.

    "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock" (Matthew 7:24-25).

    Lord, I am hanging on for the endurance of the ride. You are a constant presence through my ups and downs