Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Spectre at the feast

One of the problems with having been around the block in the IF world is knowing too much of what can go wrong. When I think back to when I was starting out on investigations all those years ago I was this total innocent convinced that everything would be all fine: if we needed IVF it would work; pregnancy would be a doddle; birth super; and child rearing no hassle at all. I soon learnt that things just weren't so. Trouble is I still keep up with a fertility related message board I joined somewhere after child one, miscarriage one and just before failed cycle one. It is, as is the way of these things, awash with babydust, belief in general woo of all sorts - except when it comes to the further reaches of "immune" treatment when it becomes all super (but generally pretty pseudo)-sciencey, lucky 7s and the power of positive thinking. It is also very supportive in its way and I have a great affection for some of the people I have linked up with through it. It was also tangentially my link in the world of IF blogs.

Anyway - back to topic - I still, for reasons which are still not particularly clear to me, keep up with various boards on this website including that of my old clinic and that is where I feel like the spectre at the feast. Time after time I read about all the people hoping for twins to create their instant sibling group and all the people thrilled to discover they are having twins. I am pleased for them when they get what they dreamed of but part of me (which thankfully and unusually for me stays silent) thinks "be careful what you wish for" as I remember all the people whose blogs I have read or who post on different zones of the MB who have lost one or both twins or who have had hideous and difficult pregnancies and premature births. The same thing happens when I read the posts about any number of other scenarios. I hate that I am like this. I want to be that innocent convinced everything would be fine again. I don't want the stuff that can go wrong to be the first things I think of. I also feel a fraud for feeling like this - in the scheme of things I haven't had much bad happen to me so I should be able to be one of the sunny positive mental attitude cheerleaders rather than the person conspicuously not joining in with the cheer. I wonder if this will ever change? Perhaps I should just stop visiting that board?

22 comments:

DD said...

I don't know of anyone who hasn't spent time blogging who doesn't have those thoughts. The message boards are bunny farts and butterflies.

I remember having those thoughts about wishing for twins...and then I read several blogs of those women who lost one, both, or premature and sick babies. I've actually only read one blog in the past couple of years of someone pregnant with twins that made it to healthy term. And I read a lot of blogs.

Queenie. . . said...

I feel the same way you do. I like to think of us as more aware of reality than the average bear. I also sort of think that by thinking about and preparing for the worst, I make myself better able to deal with it. Some may call that cynical, but I think it's my way of coping.

Wordgirl said...

I've found my way here through NaComLeavMo -- I have to second the observation about message boards -- I'm also rather skeptical about too much intimacy too soon which those message boards seem to foster.

I find that blog reading is both a boon and a curse -- it makes me feel connected -- but as one prone to worry it gives me more to worry about -- at 36 I am concerned about having twins -- it's one of the many reasons I'm hesitant, even after years of trying, to do IVF.

I'm thrilled to have found your blog -- I love the name of it. I hope I find my way back -- my brain is spinning from NCLM!

Pam

Baby Step said...

Hi there, I am visiting from NCLM. It is SO hard to stay positive after everything you have been through. I find myself being negative almost every day - it is a side effect of IF, I think. The message boards drive me nuts but I keep going back for more.

wish.wait.hope.pray said...

Hi I'm here from NCLM as well... I'm not sure about the boards... seemed to be a very false sense of real community and a good way to torture yourself after the fact...

Phoebe said...

Thanks for the observation on the whole twin thing. Not a happy topic for me. Every mother of twins I talked to told me how haaard it was. That's always the first thing they said before saying they loved their kids.

KimboSue said...

Message boards are for the birds. Blogs are for us! Good luck to you. NCLM

Aunt Becky said...

I deliberately avoid all message boards. I stumbled across some when I was having my first (of two!) miscarriages these past 2 months, and while I didn't post a thing, I was consistently amazed by ho many completely stupid people there are in the world.

MsPrufrock said...

Messageboards are what drove me to blogging. I really struggled to fit in with the baby dusters, et voila, I started to blog. I much preferred the control I had from blogging rather than being at the mercy of assorted god botherers and cheesy blinking banners.

I always feel like the spectre at the feast (great title to a post by the way) when it comes to "normal" people and their pregnancies. With each early-announced pregnancy I think, "Oh, a lot can happen! MISCARRIAGE! MISCARRIAGE!" It's all horribly cynical and morbid, but I can't help myself. I know what happens, I read blogs, see?

~Jess said...

I think it's pretty common. Naïveté is one of the things I wish I could get back. After 2.5 years of IF, I know there are no guarantees and it's all a crap shoot. Even once, if, we hold our baby...there are no guarantees of anything.
I suppose that's life to some degree, but most people are lucky enough not to realize it.

niobe said...

I always feel a little sorry for those naive people, since, even way back when, I was never *that* clueless. And then there are those people who've had very bad stuff happen, but still seem to be in complete denial, apparently believing that they're somehow magically protected against future heartbreak.

I never say anything, but I always hope that they'll never have to learn how truly cruel the universe can be.

tryingin2007 said...

I found some amazing support (during 4 back to back IVFs) on a few IF message boards. from those sites a few lovely relationships have developed -- with actual people.

when you struggle with IF and those around you just "don't get it" the boards and blogs can really make a difference. all I can say is (and I'm not religious) thank god for my mac and the internet.

NCLM

nutsinmay said...

I still hang around, silently, at one particular board - the first one I found when I first came off the pill, two-and-quite-a-large-chunk years ago. I go less and less often though. Baby-dust gives me a rash. I never had a chance to be naive and optimistic, my body has always been pretty rubbish at girl-stuff - but I think that even if I had been a naive hopeful, I don't think I could have ever really found a sense of community in among the rainbows and bunny-buns and twinkle-sprinkles. I have no idea why grown women even begin to think like that, let alone write it down. And yet, I still go back every few weeks to check up on people. Madness.

(Here via NCLM)

E_Sharp said...

I kind of prefer to know about what can go wrong. That way you're never blindsided. A bit cynical? Yes, but I figure, hope for the best, but expect the worst.I actually need to try and eradicate hope at this point. It does me more harm than good.

Kim said...

I know. My re sees anything over a singleton a "failure". They are very conservative though. I did conceive twins on my 3rd IVF with ttc#3. I lost one at 18weeks. I spent the next 21 weeks a complete mess and much of the time as waiting for something to happen to the surviving babyI am still sad for the loss and the baby just turned a year! So many times during the pg I wish I didn't know so much and had a hard time reading blogs. Now I have a hard time because I understand so many of the feelings and I hurt so much for those experiencing IF and/or loss. And to top it all off I feel guilty to have come thru the other side with 3 boys. yet, the reading and commenting continue on! Here from NCLM.

Kymberli said...

I know that I have had many similar thoughts. It's hard not to see the possibilities of the unfortunate angles.

Here from NCLM.

Jendeis said...

Here from NCLM. I'm still so new at the whole treatment thing, but have already lost my innocence. Would that I could be back there.

DC said...

I think anyone who has gone through infertility struggles with a sort of PTSD that will never go away. I'm sorry to hear about your loss.

Thalia said...

You know I read the same board and it drives me bananas. Occasionally I post something attempting to get a bit closer to the truth (although usually not the twin one) and usually I get shouted down despite having science on my side. I find the same problem with new fertility blogs, I don't want to be the 'spectre at the feast' as you so ably put it, but someone has to say something, don't they?

It's a hard one. The cowards way out, I feel, is to just ignore those posts and figure they'll learn eventually, but oh boy it's hard. What would you have wanted when you started out.

Thalia said...

Oh, and I learnt early on in the infertile blogsphere that babydust is what you get when you stake baby vampires. Hah. Always makes me feel a tiny bit better.

Julia said...

See, I don't think it says anything bad about you. I think it says that you actually hear what people are saying, that you listen. People who can go on being happy and shiny in the face of knowing about other's misfortune in the same arena actually astound me with their obliviousness, their belief in their own specialness and entitlement to the good outcome. Hey, but maybe I am taking this a bit personally because what I hear in those happy shiny people's words is that they are sure they can't be me, that they are better than me, more deserving than me.

Nit said...

Hola! Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

I go thru these same "thought processes"! We are gearing up for our first IVF & one minute I am perfectly happy & planning for 9 months from now. Then the next, reality hits & I start realizing all of the terrible things that could happen...such as it could NOT work.

Sometimes I have to veer away from message boards & blogs, they get my mind racing at a speed that I can't keep up with. And it just sucks.