April is a CNY Fertility Center patient and has been on her journey to fertility for approximately three years. April will share candid stories and a unique perspective on the fertility challenges many women and couples face. CNY Fertility Center has locations in Syracuse, Albany and Rochester, NY.
Week 74: The Second Set of Holidays: Mother’s Day & Father’s Day
My original plan was to write about adoption this week, but then Mother’s Day came around and we were simultaneously immersed in the donor cycle (still are.) Now, Father’s Day is quickly approaching. I would like to say my family is aware of our sensitivity to these holidays, yet I still have to explain to them the same feelings I have had for over four years now: Mother’s Day is a reminder of the fact that I am not able to conceive, that if we do conceive it will truly be a miracle, and even then, I will have to be closely monitored for months. I already know that child labor will involve a C-section because I have had previous surgery. The sacrifices that we are making right now are downright frightening; I have postponed more aggressively treating a progressive disease because that is how badly I want to be pregnant and to have a baby. Somehow though, my struggles – our struggles – become negated by my family’s expectations that their needs should be acknowledged at all costs.
When I said to my mother, “If I had a daughter who had been trying to conceive for four years, I might not have high expectations of her on mother’s day. In fact, I might tell her to do something fun for herself. I might tell her to save her money because I know so much of it is going toward various medical expenses.” Her reply was disheartening. Instead of providing the understanding and empathy a mother might instinctively offer, she reminded me that I had ignored her last Mother’s Day, that she raised me, and that she thought I should know my sister was taking her to brunch on Sunday. Of course, these comments provoked an outburst as I recalled a number of recent, hurtful actions on my parents’ part.
To make matters worse, I was at work during this phone call. I hung up in tears and went down the hall to talk to one of my friends and simply said, “If I wasn’t broken enough already, I am pretty sure I am close to falling completely apart right now.” And then I did just that. I cried for all of the expectations others have of me that I simply cannot meet because my emotional capacity is spent on trying to manage my fertility treatment and on managing my Multiple Sclerosis. I cried because my parents will never meet my expectations, and I cried because all I want is what so many others simply get: a young healthy family in which both the parents and children are healthy and happy. And I cried just because sometimes it is not your family who makes the difference when you need them, but it is your friends who see you are literally falling apart in front of them and then help you to pick up the pieces.
Although I am thankful for my friends, I am disappointed about my family’s inability to consistently express the understanding and empathy I, their daughter, need. And I am tired of acting like everything is okay when my life clearly has emptiness and pain. The last four years have been a struggle on many, many counts. Since my emotional capacity is limited, I know I need to acknowledge when too much is simply too much. Therefore, if I need to sit out one holiday or all of the holidays in order to maintain my mental stability, then so be it. And if my family is not able to understand my needs, then that truly is their issue. I plan to spend Sunday with my husband, who is my number one supporter and who will make an exceptional father – hopefully soon!
In acknowledgement of my true feelings,
April all Year