07 March 2011


Note:  I have 3 sisters, but one of them is significantly younger.  This post doesn't deal with her - and may read like there are only the three of us older girls.  This is more because the relationships between us older girls are very different that the relationship that any of us have with the youngest than because I was deliberately trying to leave her out.

Last night was a family birthday party, and it started off great...mostly.  But my sister's have a bit of a problem - they can only talk about serious emotional stuff when they're kind of drunk.  As there have been a lot of things recently that are very very emotionally difficult - so, that's what happened after pretty much everyone went home.

Is it appropriate for me to say that I hate it when that happens.  For whatever reason, although I can be reluctant to talk about stuff (we're all much more likely to shove it down and deal with the fallout later - or just not talk about it) I can talk about it, and trying to have a serious emotional conversation with someone who is drunk is very very difficult - and they don't listen - so in the long run, I'm not sure that it helps them.  It does help us to realize how much help they need.  It was uncomfortable and unhappy and I found myself yelling at one of my sisters, just trying to be heard - because she was blaming herself for things that she could not have predicted, and/or had no control over.

On a related subject- beyond that, we're all basically infertile.  The difference is that one of my sisters (Nicole) has a child - and he wasn't intended.  Until the other two of us started trying to have kids, she was happy with her one son - and really still is.  She would like to have another one, around the same age as our kids, if we have kids.  To that end - she apparently stopped preventing pregnancy a year ago. (She and her husband never prevented before my nephew was born, and he's almost 7, but those five years it was pretty much because she was a dumb teenager, not because she was trying.)  I don't know why she stopped preventing when we found out that we couldn't - Maybe because my other sister (Meg) was still trying.

part of me gets stuck there.  What if she had gotten pregnant in this last year?  What if while the other two of us were struggling with our private griefs she had gotten pregnant.  We obviously would have been very happy for her, but at the same time, I think part of me would have been devastated.  I have been very lucky throughout our infertility.  Most of our friends are past the having children part of their lives, and most of my family hasn't started yet - and we had a grace period (it's just now ending).

In any case, both because Nicole has a child, and because it doesn't seem like she cares that much if she has another one, it seems like she doesn't really understand.  I know that I can't understand exactly what Meg and her husband have gone through - recurrent loss is different that being unable to get pregnant at all, but I think I'm closer to understanding than Nicole is.

So, after all of the other emotional crap of the evening, Nicole started giving Meg advice, how if money is an issue, they should just pursue foster-adopt.  I jumped in there a little bit, because I know that my biggest problem with foster-adopt isn't that it's a bad idea - just that I don't think I could handle having a child placed with me, and then losing that child.  That foster-adopt carries really big emotional risks.  And when I told Nicole that - she just said to Meg, you could handle it, if you really want kids.

Dammit - the question isn't whether you *can* handle something.  It's whether you choose to put yourself in that situation to get that hurt. It's whether you should *have* to.

Nicole also won't accept that either Meg or I may choose to not have kids.  Yes, it's what we want, but at some point, I think, the pain of trying outweighs the joy of possibilities.  She specifically said that she was worrying about us not "following-through" and in my case she didn't mean not doing IVF - because she knows we're going ahead with that, but more that we might not keep trying  until it works if it doesn't work.  I don't all that not following through, I call that knowing my limits, and accepting that something wasn't meant to be.  I call that knowing that I can't tolerate trying for 10 more years, using all of our savings trying, not having a life, and still failing, over and over again.  At some point, if it doesn't work - I have to let go.

I don't think that she sees that at some point not trying anymore is better and healthier that beating our heads against a brick wall.  Just don't tell me I'm not following through - there are no guarantees, and I not going to make myself keep trying long after I feel like it just hurts to damn much.  I don't know where that line is - but I'm pretty sure that it's out there somewhere.


  1. "I call that knowing my limits, and accepting that something wasn't meant to be"

    I love this statement. I think most people, especially those who have at least one child, and definitely those who didn't have to try to get that child, cannot understand the idea of "giving up." In our society, it seems that the expected thing to do is to keep fighting for whatever it is that you want. But with infertility, like you said, to keep fighting for an indefinite amount of time is more harmful to your well-being than stopping is.

    Anyway, all that is to say, that I totally agree with you, and I think most people just don't get it.

  2. Being a sister can be rough - but it is so wonderful. I have a fairly close relationship with my two sisters. Much closer with one than the other, but still. We've all had our moments, after a little too much libation, and things have gotten a little heated where there was a lot going on. It is good to know that there are these people out there who are 'there' and always going to be there, regardless.

    You know what is best for you and your family.


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