I had my first counseling session this afternoon. I sat down with her and basically said, look, I’ve been through ten years of counseling. I feel like I should be able to counsel myself at this point. Maybe that’s combative. But again, it’s not really a bad thing to have someone’s undivided attention for an hour. Yes, I have to pay her for it, but whatever.
I reached out to a few counselors who listed “infertility” on their website. One woman called me back, and she was nice, but she left this long message about how she wasn’t taking new patients, but she had someone else in mind, someone else in her office, and this person deals specifically with couples going through infertility and adoption. She specifically mentioned adoption, and I don’t know why, but that didn’t sit well with me. The woman I saw today told me over the phone she personally experienced infertility. That made up my mind. Talking to a counselor to sort out your shit is one thing. Talking to a counselor who has personal experience with IF is another. I feel like unless you have been through it, you don’t get it. You don’t know. You can be supportive and amazing, but you just don’t GET IT. I need someone who gets it.
I didn’t ask her about her story, and she didn’t offer it. I said I had an issue with a former counselor who used to tell me too much about her life (but it was crazy stuff, like, locking herself in a bathroom at a family gathering and staying holed up in a cabin for a weekend eating nothing but bananas because she needed the B vitamins). My counselor said that she does occasionally share information about IF, but only because it pertains to the situations. I am ok with that.
For the first 30 minutes, I just spilled my guts about the last two years. The divorce. The job loss. The moving four times. Even the kiddo and his mother and my insecurities about that. She didn’t interrupt me at all, but when I would break to breathe, she would say things like, “When you said this, I feel like some extra tension was attached to it so let’s go back for a moment.”
We talked about how the medical community treats IF. Obviously, they have the same goals as us, but we see the doctor and the doctor says a, b, or c isn’t working, and we leave broken. We are told we are physically broken in some capacity. Even in the dreaded unexplained realm. You are broken, and we don’t know why.
We talked about my jealousy about N and Kiddo’s mother and how he says they had a shitty relationship but how in my head I’ve made it into this magical, beautiful thing with their special tender moments. She said that was my grief about what I imagine having a baby with him would be like. We talked about how I spent a long time even coming to terms with the fact that I wanted to be a mother. My family is super broken, and I didn’t want a kid involved in that. She asked me how I feel now and why I’ve changed my mind, and I couldn’t answer the question. I do feel like I have some lingering issues with actually having a child. I don’t doubt my desire to have a baby, but for some people, it seems so easy for them to want to be a mother. Like, it was a Day 1 desire. Mine was more like a Day 900. I don’t want to drag a kid through a broken home, which of course assumes I would have a broken home. It doesn’t assume that I might find a good relationship and not get divorced again. She didn’t say any of that. I just thought about it later.
She asked me if I’d written a letter to my baby. Um, the idea of that is terrifying. Paralyzing. No, I said. I hadn’t.
She talked about finding the quiet space, and maybe that is something that would come out in a letter. She said she didn’t know where my quiet space is. I don’t think she meant meditation or yoga or whatever. She meant looking for a place or finding a way to let go. She clarified and didn’t say to let go of the goal of becoming a mother (and we did talk about that distinction, this roller coaster ride of just getting pregnant versus the next 50 + years of having a child), but rather let go of what I can’t control or fix. It sounds obvious, and rationally I know I hold on because I don’t want to let go of control, but honestly I haven’t been in control for a long time. I have no idea what’s going on in my body. None. I think I know, but I don’t know.
I think if I truly let go, and let things unfold the way they’re going to unfold, then that means I have to begin to embrace the idea of not ever having children. Because letting it go means letting it happen the way it’s going to happen and the way it’s going to happen is I might not get pregnant. That is a hard pill to swallow.
I also think I’ve spent the last two years feeling like no time has passed. In my head, my boyfriend and I going on our first date. Then again, I also feel weird to be almost 18 years out of high school. Holy shit, right? Going to counseling today kind of made me realize that I might have finally accepted my infertility. That sounds kind of crazy because I know I’m infertile. I’m seeing a doctor and taking drugs. But I also think I’ve been in denial about it.
I’m the kind of person who overthinks my overthinking, but I feel very out of control. Like, the crying in front of strangers and in the bathroom and in the car and sometimes at work and often at home when I’m by myself and when I talk to people about IF needs to stop. The horrible crying must end. The grief spill needs to end. I’m hoping this is the first step to making that happen. I can talk and write and on and on but I need someone to help me sort it all out. I need someone to say stop, let’s go back to what you just said and work through that part of it.