Monday, June 04, 2007

Book Tour #4 Waiting for Daisy

To be very honest, I never got to finish the book. I know, I am a bad book club member. I don't know what I was thinking signing up at the very end of the school year. BUT I did read and skim through most of the book. It was interesting reading the journey of Peggy Orenstein. Our journeys are different but infertility is the bottom line. Here are my thoughts on some of the questions given.

I was really touched by the visit to the Jizo garden for Peggy to honor the baby she lost. What ritual helped you in the healing process after you experienced a loss?

This may sound crazy but right after my miscarriage the major part of my healing process was taking baths with 'crying' music. I needed an outlet to cry and grieve in private. I was so hurt and wasn't sure anyone could understand. I didn't want to be seen crying. I would weep in my bath.

I then began to take early morning walks to cry out before God or just flat out cry and be angry before I went to work. It was the only way I could get myself in the right frame of mind to be 'normal' at work. As the weeks went on I was able to turn that energy towards praying for all of my pregnant friends. It was like I was able to let go.

Finally I would talk to my little angel. I would talk to others who were going through it. I didn't want to just think, "Well I was pregnant once." I wanted to remember my little one and how I felt while I carried 'her'. I also would repeat the due date over and over again in my mind so that I would never forget 'her' day.

So my rituals were very different than Peggy's. I had all these grand plans of lighting candles or what not but I could only do what came natural to me. Ways of surviving.

Peggy Orenstein says, 'The descent into the world of infertility is incremental. Those early steps seem innocuous, even quaint; IUI was hardly more complex than a turkey baster. You're not aware of how subtly alienated you become from your body, how inured to its medicalization. You don't notice your motivation distorting, how conception rather than parenthood becomes the goal, how invested you become in its 'achievement'." Does this accurately describe your experience? Would you say you have become alienated from your body while struggling with infertility?

I don't see my journey like the way Peggy described it. I poured myself into researching and finding answers to my questions. I studied procedures, tests and medications. I wanted to be very aware of what would happen, what was happening, and what would happen in the end. I would visualize everything as it was taking place. It has never felt quaint. In fact, it has felt haunting. Almost as if I am standing over myself watching at times.

Now I do agree with Peggy about the distortion that takes place. I don't know how it can be any different if you have been on this long for a long time. You forget what you are doing. You just do what you have to do to receive your goal. I have tried to remind myself why I am here and doing all of these crazy things but after awhile it just becomes routine.

On p. 233, Orenstein describes what infertility cost her: "Becoming a parent can't give me back the time ... obliterated by obsession. It doesn't compensate for the inattention to my career, for my self-inflicted torment, for trashing my marriage." How is your experience with infertility and the toll it has taken on your life similar or different from Orenstein's?

I am not at the end of my journey. I don't know how I will be when I finally do end it with or without a child. BUT I do know that I will not let it ruin me or create bitterness. When I hear words like torment or trashing I think bitterness. I have to look at the time I have been on this journey as a growing period. I am tired of growing but yet I am still changing for the better. It has tested friendships and love. But part of purifying and growth is all about testing. Testing hurts. Because of my journey I can put myself into other's shoes and try to understand better where they are and where they have come from. Without my hardships I couldn't truly be compassionate and understand. YES I would much rather have a little one in my arms right now but truly I am thankful for what I have learned and gained. I never want to look back on this time as a loss.

Now that you read my thoughts on the book ... Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: The Kid by Dan Savage.


Bea said...

Thanks for sharing your m/c coping stategies. It's worth having ideas to try.

And I also agree with the distortion aspect. When you focus on the end goal, it's overwhelming. So you learn to focus on interim goals - growing follicles, getting to transfer, getting a positive beta. And somewhere in there, it's too easy to forget your main objective.


Stacie said...

Peggy writes about how infertility stole so much. I wondered why she didnt try to look at it with "grace" the word I'm looking for? She seems to have made a choice to be as embittered by her travels towards parenthood as possible rather than, as you write about doing, letting the wretched journey be a growing time.

Ellen K. said...

Your coping strategy is a good one; I'm sorry you had to develop it. I found that my crying jags often came while I was in the shower...perhaps there's something about water or the act of immersion that permits that response.

Erin said...

Sunny, I think your crying music and walks sound anything BUT crazy. I think crying can be so cathartic and however you want to do it, it obviously helps you. When I get news (either bad from my RE, or good from a newly pg friend) I tend to hold it all in until I'm home with my husband and as soon as I see him, I become a sobbing, blubbery mess. I don't know if it's being with him or the crying that help me, but so often I've been able to have that ritual, and then wake up the next morning with a much improved attitude.

I also have to agree with your thoughts on Peggy's bitterness. I know that having a baby for us infertiles is such a huge struggle, and that we make tons of sacrifices, but I don't know how she can say that having Daisy doesn't compensate for her career, marriage, etc. I guess I'm just worried for Daisy's sake that Peggy's not able to distinguish between the baby and the baby-making process and not blame Daisy for her effed up marriage.

Like you, I'm not at the end of my journey yet, but I hope I'm able to keep some perspective about the process vs. the end goal.

Thanks for your great post!

Deb said...

Wow, your answer to #3 really resonates with me. That is something that I need to work on as I fear that I have become bitter among other things. Thanks for sharing!

The Town Criers said...

I loved this line so much with your first answer: I had all these grand plans of lighting candles or what not but I could only do what came natural to me.

I'm glad you listened to yourself.

I wish we did have more of an outlet in society--just so people could have the public or the private grief and mourn as they need to mourn.

Samantha said...

I also have had "crying music". While I haven't had a miscarriage, after BFNs or my chemical pregnancy, I have listened to couple of pieces of music that start the waterworks.

After my last IVF cycle, I didnt' do the transfer because of OHSS and my embryos were frozen. I had no "crying music" for this cycle, since technically I didn't lose any embryos, but I think in the end not having that ritual has left me feeling more unsettled. Creating your own space to greive, and your own rituals is very important.

BestLight said...

I, too, did baths with crying music. I thought I was the only one. THe warm water pouring on you as the warm tears pour from you is very powerful.

Sunny, I just wish you all the best on your journey towards your little miracle. I'll check back!

millie said...

I think I'm more like you and really researched everything early on. I suppose it helped that I had a diagnosis (High FSH) but it is a pretty bleak one and I wanted to find as much information as I could. I live in her area and we have a plethora of options of doctors/clinics/etc/.

I also think from the very beginning I focused on parenthood not just conception. It can be a difficult thing to do when dealing with ART or just TTC but I really want a child, someone that will be part of my life for the rest of my life, not just a pregnancy or a baby. That's one of the things that helps me keep going on.

Thanks for sharing.

Rachel said...

Thanks for answering my question (the first one). Your ideas and ways you reacted seem helpful to me. I like what you said about having grand plans. I really want to do something special for the baby I lost but I haven't yet.

Kristen said...

You have a great outlook on things. I'm glad you have decided not to be bitter, regardless of the outcome of your journey. How inspiring.

When I suffered my loss, I cried constantly for a good 6 months. Everyday. I didn't want anyone to see me so I would lock myself in my room or bathroom. Or I would turn away and let a tear or two fall before going into plain sight again. I was so tired of explaining myself over and over. I just needed to heal in my own time.

Good luck and big hugs to you!

GLouise said...

Aww, I loved your answers. Especially about trying not to become bitter. It's really really hard.