Hi. How are you? I realize I probably haven’t asked you that in quite a while. But I’ve noticed that you’re still here. And I want you to know that it means everything to me.
And I’m so very sorry.
I admit, I’ve been pretty self-absorbed the last few months, and that’s not fair to you. It’s probably felt downright awful sometimes to be you around me. See, what I didn’t completely forget, but subconsciously ignored, is that your life has continued, even while mine has felt like it stopped. When you leave my house/hang up the phone/send the email/end the text, your life and all its ups and downs are still there. And although I’ve asked you about them from time to time when I briefly came up for air from my own issues, I probably didn’t give them the attention they deserve; the attention you deserve. It’s not that I don’t care. I do. I always have. It’s that infertility forces you to wear blinders - not to hurt others, but to keep yourself from getting hurt.
It’s not you, it’s me. And I’m sorry.
I hate excuses, but here’s mine anyway: infertility is all-encompassing. It turns your life upside-down and into a series of steps and to-dos, all so pivotal and significant to the outcome, each so delicately balanced and hinged upon the next. It’s like walking a tightrope, but not the kind that stretches in a straight line from point A to point B. No, it’s full of twists, and turns, and ups, and downs, and you never know if you’ll make it across or if you’ll have the world ripped out from underneath you. And as soon as you traverse one span, there’s another. There’s no rest; there’s never any rest. Life becomes a never-ending parade of tests and appointments and medications and injections and procedures and rigorous schedules and lengthy checklists and dos and don’ts and can-yous and will-yous and have-yous. Your most private thoughts and worries and concerns and body parts are no longer yours alone and you feel naked and isolated and unable to catch your breath. And there are so many casualties along the way, and you have been one of them.
I’m so sorry.
That time I backed out of our dinner plans at the last minute? I had just taken another negative pregnancy test and couldn’t bear the thought of enduring the everything’s-ok charade. When you texted me about your promotion at work and I didn’t respond for days? I had just found out that it was a near impossibility that we would ever conceive naturally and was too busy mourning the loss of my most sacred dream to notice. Your phone call that went unanswered and unacknowledged? We were elbow-deep in trying to come to terms with the fact that we may never have children. When you shared your pregnancy announcement and I could barely muster more than a weak congratulations? I was trying not to fall apart and crumble into a heaving, sobbing mess, all while being sincerely happy for you. I could lie and tell you that I wasn’t behaving as selfishly as it seemed, but I was. It was never my intention, but sometimes intention and action are distant cousins at best.
You have always been important to me, even if I didn’t always show it. And for that, I’m eternally sorry.
One day not too long ago, I told Bobby, “I can’t wait until the day that I’m not thinking about something.” I’ve forgotten what it feels like not to be completely consumed by one thing, to have a moment where my brain can rest, when my mind can catch up with itself and take stock of what’s going on and how I feel about it. This thing has taken over every fiber of my being, with barely enough space left for my responsibilities to my husband, pets, job, and home, and unfortunately, that’s left no room for you. But you have your own thing that consumes you, your own mountain to climb, only it’s something else. And I’ve been delinquent in my emotional availability and in telling you that even if it doesn’t seem like it, I’m here for you, too.
Did I tell you that I’m sorry?
But you’re still here. You never left. And even when I feel the most alone, you’re there. You’re there in your thoughts and your well wishes, your prayers and your silent hopes. You’re there in phone calls and emails and text messages and visits. You’re there when I need you, and even when I don’t want you to be there but most desperately need you anyway. You’re there when I’m angry and sad, and when I’m optimistic and upbeat. You’ve never wavered in your support and love, even when I was at my most unlovable.
So how are you? Are you still listening? Of course you are. I’m here now. I’m sorry about before, but now I’m here. I’m still consumed. I’m still overwhelmed. I’m still struggling. But I’m aware now, and I’m here, and I know all the I’m sorrys can’t make up for how I’ve been, but I have to start somewhere.
You’re still here, and I’m so very grateful.