It’s all my fault
I could have prevented this from happening
This is something I can control
I am to blame
I know many of you reading this right now are wondering what I’m saying. My IF sisters are probably yelling “It’s not your fault!” at their computer screens right now, but I’m guessing have also felt this way at one point or another. Since you know my story, you’re probably wondering if I could actually be referring to our miscarriages. You might be thinking, does she actually think this is her fault?? Well, guess what?
But here’s the thing. I only think those devastating thoughts sometimes. Deep down I know it’s not my fault and I honestly believe it’s not. I would tell anyone experiencing infertility or a miscarriage that it’s not their fault. And do you know what? I would say it with 100% certainty. It is not your fault. I know this is beyond my control. I know I’m not to blame.
I do feel this way sometimes though. Do you know when I feel this way? When I’m asked if I’ve tried relaxing. When I’m asked if my doctor has prescribed a vacation (no seriously, this happened to me last week). When I’m asked if I cut stress in my life.
When someone says, “Have you tried relaxing?” I actually hear, “You wouldn’t have lost your babies if you would have relaxed. This is your fault. You had control over the outcome and you didn’t relax.”
While that may not be anyone’s intention and as Tony said, maybe they just mean that I need to be patient, and I reminded him that I’ve always been understanding when it comes to what others say. I don’t ever think people intend to be hurtful (which I know shouldn’t give them an excuse to say hurtful things, but I just don’t believe that’s their intention). I always try to believe the best in people.
I know that this is hard to talk about and it’s rarely ever discussed. I understand, nor do I want everyone walking on egg shells around me either. In fact, when I get text messages with suggestions, I’m glad they’re trying to help and thought of me. When I get asked questions I don’t necessarily want to answer, I’m glad they want to understand and are thankful they are trying. And even when someone tells me about a friend who went through IF and now has a little one, I look at it as a sign of hope.
But I find ‘just relax’ is different. I just don’t think it’s helpful. Is it really even a kind thing to say? To completely dismiss doctors and medical conditions.
There is no amount of relaxing that would have kept my babies alive and by saying that, it’s insinuating that my stress caused my miscarriages. Two simple words, ‘just relax’ places blame. If I hadn’t stressed, I would have my babies. I can’t tell you how much that stings. A medical diagnosis, chromosomal abnormalities, and why it actually happened are irrelevant. If only I had relaxed.
I often wonder if people can even relate? When you feel like the death of your baby is caused by something you’ve done or haven’t done. And let me tell you, that is guilt that weighs so heavily on you. It’s an immense weight to carry; that blame. The feeling that it’s your fault and somehow was within your control to change… but you just didn’t do enough.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that by just saying ‘just relax’ to someone struggling with infertility is hurtful. It’s like saying my Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) knows nothing and this is just my fault. That’s an awfully big burden to place on someone’s shoulders, isn’t it?