This was a hard week. It’s been a week I have been dreading for months. A week which I kept hoping and praying wouldn’t happen. A week where I learned that grief really does come in waves!
This is the week that our IVF babies would have been due. It’s also the week that I turned 39. It’s also the week that the Fertility Clinic messed up.
Grieving for something that never was is weird. I’ve known since Christmas that our IVF hadn’t worked. So I knew there wouldn’t be a September baby. But one of the hardest things about grieving for something that never was is that you actually have nothing or no-one to grieve for. Most people don’t know that you are grieving. You feel stupid for even being upset, let alone sobbing on the bedroom floor! It’s a loss that I felt so acutely but I couldn’t articulate why.
It first hit me at church last Sunday morning. Whenever a baby is born they put a flower at the front of church, with a blue or pink ribbon. We’re a family and we celebrate new life together. But as I saw a flower this Sunday I had to pinch myself hard to stop the sobs coming. I knew that if I started to cry I wouldn’t be able to stop. I couldn’t sing or worship as I didn’t trust myself. And I felt so mean! But it wasn’t that I resented this new baby … it was just that I had wanted there to be a flower there this week for our baby. I had wanted that so much and there wasn’t. Maybe there never will be. And it hurt. But I couldn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to open the flood gates on my tears.
Then there was my birthday! In the end, turning 39 wasn’t that bad! I actually had a really nice day. It was the days leading up to it that I found so hard. Again, getting older is part of life. But there’s something about approaching the big 4-0 when you are trying for kids that terrifies me. We haven’t exactly had success in our 30s so how on earth will I conceive as statistically it starts to get even harder? I had just hoped so much that by this birthday I would be pregnant. Some hope to cling to. Some good news in this challenging journey. The only birthday present I have really wanted for these last 3 years.
Before any of this happened, but as I was dreading this week, the Fertility Clinic messed up. They’ve been amazing so far, but this week, when I really wanted some hope, and didn’t have the emotional strength for disappointment, they fell short. To get on the IVF list I needed to have some tests, so I called up on my Day 1 and left a message. But they hadn’t received the Doctor’s orders so couldn’t do anything till the Monday. So I called back on the Monday and then again on the Tuesday. I knew these tests were time sensitive and I couldn’t go on Wednesday. They knew that as I’d told them on each voicemail! So when was I scheduled for the tests? On Wednesday. So I couldn’t go. And by Thursday it was too late. “Just do it next month” they kindly said … they didn’t understand, not only is that delaying everything by another month, but I’m in Toronto next month. It’s all sorted now, but when I got that call I felt like all my hope was flooding away. Grief, it comes in waves!
If you’re grieving the loss of a dream, or disappointment, then it’s OK to grieve. It’s OK to sob uncontrollably on the bedroom floor. It’s OK to shout at God, to ask him why, or to be too upset to even speak to Him. It’s also good to talk about this grief and share it. Most of the time I couldn’t, as I was scared of where that would take me, but when I spoke to my family and a close friend it really helped. They didn’t think I was silly for grieving something I had never had. They understood. Because it’s not silly – it is grief. It is a loss. It does hurt. And grief does come in waves – it’s not something you get over and then forget about.
I found this video and this picture really helpful in understanding how and why I felt as I do. And when I say it comes in waves, the good news is that waves also go back! As I write this, at the end of the week, the pain and the grief feel distant and OK. I’m smiling. I can look forward to the future with hope and joy.