Lilypie - Pregnancy

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Invisible Wall

When I was younger, I was never very popular, although I always had friends. I was one of those quiet, shy kids who was uncomfortable in large groups. I would look at the popular kids and wonder why I couldn’t be one of them, what made me different. I felt like there was an invisible wall between me and them, and that everyone knew it was there.

My family moved when I was in junior high school, and I thought that it was finally my chance to start over and have a lot of friends, but still the invisible wall followed me, and again, it was like everyone knew it was there. It didn’t help that it followed me to my classes, onto the field during P.E., into the quad at lunchtime, onto the bus to go home.

The only place it didn’t follow me was into the band room, where I hung out with friends who were just like me – genuine, slightly nerdy kids who just wanted to be themselves and have a close group of friends. They were my refuge in a world where I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere else.

And then I grew up, and went to college, and a whole new world opened up to me. I learned that in the real world, people aren’t categorized so strictly as in high school. I had friends from all walks of life, and it was a great thing to know such a diversity of people. The invisible wall seemed like it was still there, lurking in the background, but almost no one could feel it, only a few people knew it was there. And I was perfectly happy to have a wall between me and those particular people.

Now the wall has been replaced with a different invisible wall, which has crept in so slowly during the past twenty months that I only started noticing it recently. It’s the wall that divides me from the fertile people. I know that I’m partly responsible for constructing this wall. I’ve built it with my anger and my frustration, my resentment and bitterness. Some of it has risen on its own, created by the unfortunate circumstances of my situation – my unexplained diagnosis, the ease with which my brother and brother-in-law have had several kids each despite their broken relationships, the money and time I’ve had to spend on fertility treatments, the secret sharps container that I have to hide in my apartment.

And some of it is erected by fertiles, who flaunt their fertility in my face everywhere I turn. At the grocery store, where I have to turn the other direction or feel tears welling in my eyes when I see a young couple with their babies. My friends and acquaintances who post pictures of their kids daily on Fac.ebo.ok. The people on the train who discuss their pregnant wives or their toddlers at home. Every day there is someone new to avoid, someone new to make excuses to, someone else whose eyes I just can't meet.

And every day the wall gets higher and thicker and I am stuck on the other side. It’s also, finally, becoming visible. The unexplained, unnoticeable gulf that divides me from everyone else is slowly becoming more obvious to others. Friends with kids are slowly drifting away, leaving me more isolated.

I despair because the wall is getting harder and harder to break down. I’m terrified that one day it will become permanent.


  1. I think this is why, if infertile women finally do get pregnant after treatments, they have such a hard time "re-entering" the normal world and acting like normal, fertile, pregnant women. That wall is still there, and may always be there.

    Very good post. Thought-provoking and well-written.

  2. Great post. I understand this too although for somewhat different reasons. I feel like I've felt the wall for quite some time as all the friends I've had have first gotten married while I stayed single and then went on to have children. Now so many my age have nearly grown (if not grown) children and are looking at grandchildren and here I am still just hoping for a child of my own. Sometimes it feels like my life passed me by.
    I hope you're able to soon find a way over or around that wall and that it doesn't hang around for good.

  3. This is such a well-written post.

    I feel this way to a certain extent, too. I am lucky, though, to have some friends--both with and without children--who "get" what I am going through, so I have been able to confide in them and maintain our relationships.

    I have definitely noticed that I have distanced myself from certain people in my life, though.

  4. This is such a wonderful post. I am not sure if that wall ever goes hasn't for me. I have always been super social, outgoing, loves to be the center of it all kind of girl. A year ago, I didn't recognize myself in the mirror. I'm starting to see more of the old me again, but, I am a different person now who will never be the same as I was before IF. No idea how you feel about this, but I did start taking zo.l.oft and it really helped me. Controversial, I know.

    I am crying, just because I know how are you feeling.

    Many hugs, my friend. I am praying for your cycle coming up.

  5. Great post. You could have been me in middle and high school. I've recently taken on the stance that I'll be more public about IF. I think that will help tear down the wall, although I still feel it there and the difference between me and others.

  6. I am standing on the side of the wall that you are.
    Unfortunately Isolation and Infertilty seem to go hand in hand. I feel further and further away from some women who have been my best friends for a long time. I feel left out of family functions, and society in general. Left behind, standing still, waiting. For me though, I think for the most part I've isolated myself from situatons to protect myself, but I've also felt left out of other situations because I know that friends of mine think they are protecting me, but that just makes me feel more alone. They can't win, I can't win. It is so hard.

    You aren't alone.

  7. Your wall image really resonates with me. The thing about walls, though, is that they can be changed. You can knock them down, rebuild them, decorate them, or even put in a door. Unfortunately, they're your walls and you have to do the work to change them, which is almost impossible when you must use all your energy to deal with the issues going on within the walls. I hope you can knock your walls down...

  8. Like BattyNurse, it was the "single" wall that really kept me separated for a long time. I'm trying not to let a "fertility" wall grow. I don't really have any advice. I hope it eases up a little once your knee surgery is done and you've started your next cycle. Moving forward seems to help me.

  9. Here from the Stirrup Queen's Friday Roundup, and holy cow -- are you my clone?? I could have written just about every word of this post, from moving in junior high and hanging out in the band room to finding a new world in college & listening to people on the commuter train. Sending you some (((hugs))) & wishing you luck with your IVF.

  10. Thank you for such an open and honest post, that is tangible to many of us. I agree with several other comments, your walls can be malleable and reformed. I also agree that once you have children after the struggle it's hard to know where to go and the walls need to shift again. And for me, I still hear comments that make me realize that those who watched us struggle and all our tears and pain never really understood it. At all. So I find myself cunstructing new sections. I hope you can find a way to remold your sections of mortar, if you feel you need to.
    Good luck with your IVF!

  11. Such a wonderful post! I know that side (your side) of the wall all too well, from all the way back to high school! You are definitely not alone. Thank you for articulating the pain that comes with the wall so well!

  12. I'm on your side of the wall too and it sucks. I feel like it probably won't completely go away even if I do end up getting pregnant down the road by some freakin' miracle. Sometimes I want to shake people and yell, "THIS IS NOT EASY AND ADOPTION DOESN'T FIX IT" in their face. *sigh* I suppose with time the wall will become less visible again.

  13. *blushing* oops, forgot to say gl with the IVF! I hope this is your cycle...

  14. What a powerful post. It captures that feeling so well.

    Wishing you the best of luck with your upcoming IVF.

  15. Here from Stirrup Queens. This post is powerful. So powerful. And like a clique that shows off I feel resentment growing, things said like "you don't know tired till you've had children" and other smug remarks... I'd rather be the kid on the outskirs of high school again.

    Good luck to you.

  16. Over the past 3 years of TTC, I avoided many friends' baby showers because I just couldn't deal. I feel terrible about it now, but I think having that distance between what I so desperately wanted (and still want) and what they so easily had was necessary for me at the time. I completely identify with the wall image, and although we have now adopted and I feel like I'm allowed into the mommy club, I still haven't gotten to experience pregnancy (past a few weeks) or giving birth or having a child who is half me, half my husband, and although I absolutely love our son, I still want those things. What those of us struggling with IF go through is so hard and so hard for those who haven't shared our struggles to understand. That's why the online IF community is so wonderful!

  17. reading your post feels so familiar & yet brings me some comfort in knowing that there are other women who are dealing with the same situation. My friends all have children, all got pregnant early, and we are the token babysitters. I hate that I burst into tears when I hear someone is pregnant instead of feeling happy for them...the jealousy burns me. I hate that every baby name my husband & I have discussed has been chosen by people before us. And, I hate hearing parents complain about their messy houses, lack of sleep, of kids behavior.....I would take all of that & be so thankful.
    So, I want to let you know that while I have no answers for you, hopefully you can find some confort in knowing there is a legion of people who feel & share your pain

  18. I've felt that wall before. Although mine was after I had Zilla. I feel so different then my friends who can get pregnant so easily. I feel so different from the women I know who've had an abortion. I feel like they are taking something for granted that it took me YEARS to get. I wish I could tell them exactly how I feel, but I can't. There just aren't any words, I think, that would make them understand.

    Sending you SO much love and positive JUJU for your surgery and your IVF cycle!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!