Friday, May 23, 2008

False Expectations

I've been thinking a lot about the expectations we have for ourselves and how, in dealing with infertility, we sometimes (and, for some of us, more than sometimes) have to re-evaluate and alter those expectations. But, we'll deal with that another time.

I want to talk about the expectations that other people give to you and, really, how unfair that is. I remember someone telling me recently that she went for her first RE appointment and the doctor told her "it's not IF you will have a baby, it's WHEN you will have a baby". Now she was probably 10 years younger than me, but, still, the little hairs on the back of my neck stood up, my stomach flip-flopped, and I entered "protection" mode.

I hate to hear things like that. The doctor is not G-d. The doctor, despite his or her best efforts, may not help that person succeed in having a baby. I'm not trying to be overly negative here and take hope away from anyone. Honestly, you cannot go through all that we infertiles go through and not have hope. Sitting here, on the brink of IVF #6, I still have hope. Sometimes I wonder if it's not hope, but, stupidity, but, that's a whole other story.

But, hope is quite different from false expectations. I have hope. I no longer have expectations. Did I at the onset of our first IVF? I'm sure that I did, but, it's so long ago it's hard to remember. Am I jaded? I don't know, I'd like to think that maybe I'm just more realistic. Nobody.....NOBODY going through infertility treatments can know for sure that it's going to work and to set those false expectations, to me, just seems wrong.

Similarly, I struggle every time someone who has dealt with infertility and, by the grace of G-d, successfully gotten pregnant, comes out and says something like "hey, if it happened for me, it will happen for you!". Usually statements like these are not said to me individually, but, posted on an infertility message board as "Girls, I can't believe it worked and I'm finally pregnant! I swear, if it worked for me, it will work for all of you! Just hang in there!!". Please don't take my comments here to mean that I'm not thrilled for them. I truly am. But, honestly, just because it worked for you - after 2 months on clomid, 1 IUI, or 4 IVF's - doesn't mean that it's going to work for me or anyone else. I know that these women are excited, and rightfully so! Maybe I've just reached a real bitter stage, but, statements like that actually feel more like a slap in the face now because I can no longer include myself in that group who "expects" this to work.

"Girls, I can't believe it worked and I'm finally pregnant! I swear, if it worked for me, it will work for all of, maybe not all of you....possibly not you, Lisa......but, everyone else, I swear, this will work for you!!!!"

And, the likelihood is that, yes, it will work for a lot of those women. I guess it's hard being in the hearty and tested and eternally hopeful group who may never succeed.

Interestingly, though, it was nothing online that set off this thought process today. It was actually another person (yes, there have been more than a few) in my real life who like to tell me "it took us 2 (or 3 or 4) years so, hang in there, it will happen". That's what sent me down this long and winding path.


Amy (MyColonyNJ) said...

Lisa - I really do hope it does happen for you. I think about you often.

"It it worked for me...." goes hand in hand with "You are lucky you already have a child"

I hate both of them.

Again, you are always in my prayers. I hope one day your prayers are answered.

Dagny said...

I hate that.


The number of times my mother has told me 'stories' that are supposed to make me feel better for some reason. Right.

But yeah, people don't get it. At all. And the ones that used to get it forget a lot that moment they see those two lines. They become the "if I can get pg, anyone can, how dare you be sad".

Anyway, sorry to ramble, just wanted to let you know I totally get it.


Christi said...

OMG! This was great! It's so true, unfortunately, it WON'T happen for everyone. Maybe I'm bitter too, but you really don't know if it will happen for someone so don't say it. I remember my RE told me at my first consult appt, as long as there is sperm, we can make a baby. I felt so relieved... Two fresh IVFs later and a FET, I wish I had him on tape saying that when he suggested donor sperm. He just NEVER should have said it!!

thinking about you... I wish you all the luck!!!

Anonymous said...

Aww Lisa. I am sorry. Hugs to you.

SAHW said...

Great post. I think a lot of people forget this, and it's really important to remember to keep things in perspective. One of my IRL friends who had been trying for about as long as us and is now due in a couple of months told that, you know, you have to accept that it may not happen, and you have to keep living. It was hard to hear and hard to swallow, but I appreciated her real advice much more than hearing a, if it worked for me, it'll work for you too.

HeidiM said...

Came to your blog because I saw in a comment of yours that you're going to Cornell. I'm thinking of moving from CCRM to Cornell so I'll read up on your blog later. Re: your post, yeah it's naïve and annoying for someone to say it'll work when they don't know much of anything about your situation. It's like saying to a cancer patient, you'll fully recover. We're not in high school here, we're informed adults and should realize we can't just hope or pretend something into reality. Anyhoo-nice 2 meet U.

SarahSews said...

That always drove me crazy. No one knows how it will all turn out for anyone. And to pretend that they can know is insulting. At least it was insulting for me. Lots of people (REs, docs, nurses, friends, etc) said they knew it would work. And when we weren't pg year after year? No one else had to live with that pain.

When we eventually did get pg without assistance EVERYone wanted to take credit for just knowing it would happen. I almost didn't want to share our good news because I just didn't want to give all of them the satisfaction of the happy ending.

InfertileMadWoman said...

I totally understand where you are coming from with this post, and I wholeheartedly agree!! I will hope like hell that this IVF works for you.


Here from NCLM and the blog roundup

Ellen K. said...

Well said. These are some of the many platitudes that surround IF, and they're especially grating to hear from someone who has experienced IF personally.

Best of luck to you!

Hokie said...

Amen. I'm getting to dread "I know it will happen for you". Really? Because I don't know that.

I think I'm settling into a subset of blogs. When I see IVF#3 or more I know I'll be able to relate. Because you have to give up some expectations just to make it this far.