Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Benefits of Oversharing

I'd say I'm a pretty open person. I'm a talker. I'm an oversharer. I'm the one that leaves parties embarrassed for dominating conversations or for saying something that could be described as "TMI." This is probably why I gradually opened up online more and more in my infertility journey. I felt nervous, especially in the beginning, but I felt compelled to share despite feeling this topic was a bit taboo (why should it be?!!).

More recently, what came pretty easily for me took me by surprise when I found it took a little more courage to keep writing. I wanted to present my journey in real time, without the sugar coating or judgement of hindsight. But the contemporary nature of the postings made it more raw for me, too. It didn't help that I understood I don't always know who is reading or how what I am saying is being received. But I decided to continue despite what felt like my better judgement.

And I am so glad I did.

I have been overwhelmed by the love and support I have received along the way during this round of treatment. Honestly, I felt a little silly writing posts each day when I usually didn't feel I had much of anything to say. It seemed like a pointless little ritual I had to complete since I committed to do so and sometimes I even felt a little embarrassed about it. Maybe that is why I am so surprised how many people have been following along, many even thanking me for my words and encouraging me to continue.

Every Facebook wall post, private message, blog comment, card, or text was so appreciated. I wish I could personally thank each person who took time to write something so kind but it would take all day and begin to seem trite. So thank you, everyone! Please know that your kindness made an unmeasurable difference. Thank you old friends, new friends, good friends, mere acquaintances, and even strangers and blog stalkers. I keep finding myself in tears thinking of the kind words, of people crying and cheering along with me, prayers said on our behalf, and people sharing their own stories of infertility, loss, or encouragement with me. It made a difference. You made a difference.

And there is no way that all of those prayers did not help. God heard you and I am so grateful.

Even Abe who is a pretty private person and who may have originally preferred I not shout out across the internet rooftops each detail of this process (for example, while I am telling everyone the day we found out, he calmly went about his work day without telling a soul) said today that he thought that being so open was actually a really good thing. He said perhaps it really gave us the opportunity to follow the gospel principle of "rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn." I was glad he felt that way as this has been his story, too, and he an often unvoiced observer of the most private parts of our life together being made very public.

Along the way I have heard so many stories of loneliness and isolation from others on this journey. I have seen countless anonymous posts and comments of people afraid to share and the burdens they bear alone. I really hope that others in this situation can gain courage to open up.

There shouldn't be shame.
There shouldn't be so much loneliness.
There shouldn't be so much isolation
There shouldn't be so much embarrassment.

There are other women (and men) out there suffering through this. People who understand, who can offer love and support and even advice if needed.

And there are others in your circle who don't understand or can't understand. But I've learned overwhelmingly they still care. They may not know what to say or they may even say the wrong thing (I've posted about this before). But I think I have learned through this that as we share and open up, we can find love and understanding and comfort in each other.

Thank you for all who know the pain of infertility, who have shared their stories both of heartache and success with me. Thank you for helping me know I wasn't the only one and that I could do this.

And thank you to all who haven't had this trial, who have been so wonderful in trying to understand and to be sensitive and kind. For crying those tears of sadness with me and finally for crying again those tears of joy when you didn't have to!

Thank you everyone for making a very discouraging, isolating, frustrating, scary, lonely, sad (and so many many more feelings) process one that has brought me so much comfort, kindness, support, friendship, and love.

*If you are going through something similar, try opening up to someone. That is the only way I made it through this experience with any sanity or happiness. You can start small with even just one person. And if you need that person to be, I'm here.


Angela Johnson said...

I was really shocked when my parents (both nurses) told me that infertility affects one in four couples. Even I, with four kids, got nervous this time when it took me four times as long as normal to get pregnant. There were tears and prayers in our situation, too. I am soooo happy for you!

Erin said...

It is a common problem! I have been surprised to hear from so many going through the same things -- close friends, family members, coworkers, etc. Regardless of how common, however, it is so isolating when no one feels like they can talk about it.

I'm so happy your next little miracle is on its way as well, Angela.