FLOW: Connection

This is the second installment in the FLOW series, in which I explore different facets of my life in order to nurture my overall well-being, regain a part of the “old” me, and better cope with being infertile. See my previous post for a brief description about FLOW, and visit The Infertility Voice to get a copy of the workbook.

In my last post, I identified Connection as one key area that needs a lot of work right now. I have a couple strong connections in my life (but, truth be told, even those could use some help). They are:

  • My friendship with my best friend. In some ways we are worlds apart from each other: She’s single, living in the Big City, and has no desire to have children. We both have a passion for science, literature, and art; we share a similar quirky sense of humor and love of bad movies (I’m talking bad bad, like Plan 9 From Outer Space and National Lampoon’s Last Resort bad); and we are both dealing with the ongoing fallout of some pretty shitty family drama. We’ve seen each other through the worst, and celebrated the best, and I can’t see that ever changing. Unlike most of my other friendships, which have faded over time, I can say with a great deal of certainty that this is a forever friendship. I tell my best friend things I could never share with anyone else, including my husband. She always knows the perfect thing to say, when to give advice, or when to offer to break someone’s kneecaps for me. I have never felt, nor do I ever fear, an ounce of judgement from her on anything, even when we don’t agree. We are for each other the go-to friend in times of both crisis and joy. Our friendship over the last two years has shown me that even when my world is falling apart around me, I am strong enough to be someone else’s rock when needed.
  • My job. I felt a bit disconnected from my job for a while, but recently we have made some big changes in our organization, which has given me a renewed energy and passion for what I do. More and more, I’m gaining confidence in the value of what I bring to the table. I am making a real difference in communities throughout my state and I can honestly say that I have pride in what I do. My work reminds me that even if I never have kids, I am making a significant and lasting contribution that will touch many lives.

My weak connections far outnumber the strong ones, so I will focus on just the weakest, most important ones.

  • My husband. When I think about how long we’ve known each other (4 years), it makes sense that I don’t feel a stronger connection to him. I know the marriage bond is supposed to be one of the strongest in a person’s life, which is why I’m concerned and determined to bring us closer, but I feel it’s important to acknowledge the fact that our relationship is still fairly new. We were engaged after just one year together, and married before we had known each other for 2 years. Certainly, there was a deep connection in the beginning. It’s cliché, but true: we were simply made for each other. We’re both pragmatic, reasonable people who see the world in much the same way. Since the loss of our first baby and with the subsequent infertility, it’s been difficult to nurture that connection. In fact, it’s been slowly eroding. Neither of us comfortable with or good at talking about our feelings, especially strong feelings like grief. I still don’t know how much our loss affected him. I don’t know what he thinks or feels about it. I’m afraid that asking him would force him either to expose emotion that he’s not ready for me to see (or doesn’t want me to see), or to push them down even further. To be honest, I’m afraid he’ll say he was relieved or that it didn’t bother him much at all. Our day-to-day conversations are trivial and repetitive. Our most passionate conversations are about issues and events to which we have little connection.
  • My mother. I’ve always had a great relationship with my mom. We have similar world views and we both approach life with caution and logic. We’ve rarely, if ever, clashed over anything. She never told me what to do, but rather, in her own quiet way, guided me to make good decisions. Even though we’ve had deep conversations about things like religion, belief in a higher power, and death, we’ve never really talked about ourselves. (Hmm…. I’m beginning to sense a pattern….) My mom stayed with me the day after I miscarried, and never uttered a single cliché or insensitive word. But she also never encouraged me to talk about it. She didn’t share with me the fact that her mother had two miscarriages (one of which happened when my mom was pregnant with my older sister). We’ve never really talked about my miscarriage, or my infertility. I tell her a few things now and then, but it’s mostly just updates on the treatments we’re doing and what our next steps might be.

This brings me to my blueprint. Clearly, I need to open up more, and ask that my husband and my mom open up to me. The 2 year anniversary of my loss is coming up, along with National Infertility Awareness Week, and Mothers Day. Those are all excellent opportunities to raise the topic. Not that I need one, but it will make it easier for me.

Opening up to my mom and husband will help me feel less alone on this journey. Infertility is an isolating disease. Even though I have a wonderful support system online, in my day-to-day “real” life, I feel alone most of the time. I take responsibility for most of it, in that I don’t share as much as I want to or ask for the support I need. I think just letting people know that they can ask me about it will help. This will be my goal for the week, since today begins National Infertility Awareness Week.

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23 thoughts on “FLOW: Connection

  1. My husband and I have been together for 15 years but like you two we don’t talk much about our feelings and desires on a regular basis. Around the anniversary of our loss a couple of months ago I needed to talk about it (boys just don’t seem to need to talk about things like we do) and after a lot of internal struggle I just told him that I needed to talk about it with him and hear from him about it. We had a sad but comforting conversation and I learned that he thinks about it every day just like I do but deals with it in a different way. We haven’t spoken about it since but what I learned is I need to tell him when I need to talk because he can’t read my mind and doesn’t think about things the same way I do. We also can’t focus on it or talk about it often because its upsetting and we’re trying to find happiness in our lives. I’m sure your husband is in pain like you and he may just need you to tell him what you need from him. Good Luck with these conversations.

    • That’s wonderful that you found the courage to open up. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who has trouble with that. I’m glad it was a positive experience for you.

  2. Communication issue can cause major problems in any relationship. I know that while I’m doing a medicated cycle it is really hard to communicate with my spouse and with family.

  3. Awesome post…I’m definitely going to go check out FLOW…excellent ideas. You had me cracking up! About the bad movies (um, yeah…bad) and the breakin’ knee caps. You must be on the East Coast….it’s a familiar (and, sadly, a comforting term). 🙂

    Happy ICLW (#34)

  4. I think it’s a great thing that you’re exploring these strengths and needs in your close relationships. Fertility struggles are so trying on marital relationships, and while open & honest communication is hard, I think it’s essential. Like you, I feel alone in this most of the time. I spew out whatever I’m thinking to my husband, and wonder sometimes why he doesn’t feel exactly the way I do. But, everyone handles things differently. He doesn’t have the intensity of feelings that I have, but is just as sad about our struggles. I think telling your husband (and your mom) how you’re feeling and what you need from them shows a lot of strength and thoughtfulness on your part.

  5. Hi from ICLW. Great post. I am really interested in FLOW. I hope sometime soon you both can come together and talk about your miscarriage. My husband is really difficult to get to talk about his emotions too, and it is something I struggle with. Hugs.

  6. Stopping by for ICLW. What a lovely post! You have some incredible insights into your relationships, both the strong ones and the weaker ones, and that is a great place to start. I’m hoping that you can truly find a way to open the lines of communication and heal what needs to be healed.

  7. Great post! I can recognize myself in so much of this. My husband and I also have been together for about 4 years and have been married for 1.5 years. He’s definitely one of the most important persons in my life but we also struggle to communicate about important things and especially infertility. And it’s the same with my mom: she’s always there, she’s a great support for all this infertility mess but we struggle to talk about personal stuff. For instance she’s never talked to me about her two miscarriages or how hard it was to wait for me for a long time. The little I know, I know from my dad.
    Looking forward to your next post. This seems like a very useful exercise!

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one! The more I read, the more it seems like everyone else knows what their partner feels, and has figured out the whole communication thing. I’m often left thinking “We could never have that conversation….”

  8. Hi from ICLW! FLOW seems very interesting. I’m glad that you have that strong best friend connection. I have a friend that’s similar and it’s so nice to have that rock, that person you know isn’t going anywhere, who you can always count on. Loss and infertility can definitely be hard on a marriage, so unfortunately I think that’s kind of normal. It’s good that you can see it is an issue you want to work on.

    I’ll be following along to see how the rest of the series turns out!

  9. I can completely sympathise with your feelings of disconnection – I feel very distant from my friends at the moment, except my bestie who also lives in the big smoke, isn’t interested in kids and is always awesome!
    About this time last year I felt so distant from my DH – the atmosphere between us was so charged with passive agressive friction and we just argued all the time. We are usually really good about sharing our emotions with each other but IF was even seeming to kill that. I knew we needed a break so booked a 2 week holiday (not that we could afford it!) and it was the best thing we could have done. If you can, I really recommend getting away to have your ‘discussion’. Even if just a fairly local cheapie, I really think it helped that we were away from the stresses of life, jobs, fertile friends and family etc. Good luck xx

    • We recently took a trip to Reno for a few days. That would have been a great opportunity. It’s a good idea, but I think I’m going to have to just jump right into it. I’ve been putting it off too long, waiting for the right time and place. I’m glad you and your DH were able to reconnect. It gives me hope!

  10. From ICLW (recipesforlemons.blogspot.com)

    Your very good insight into your strong and weaker relationships touched me. While it is certainly a struggle — and not one that will “cure” itself overnight — the fact that you can recognize and plan for it shows amazing strength. I wish you the best as you keep looking within yourself to deepen those relationships.

  11. Pingback: Mother’s Day Wrap Up & More FLOW | Yet Another Bitter Infertile

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