Monday, October 10, 2011

MY experience = mine.

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It needs to be said- for my sanity, and to offer support to every other woman who has a similar experience to mine.

Let me start by reminding the masses that if you know me at all, you know that I am a true friend to many adoptive couples and hopeful adoptive couples. I host an annual adoptive couples retreat just because I love them so much. I would think it is even safe to say that 95 percent of my friends struggle with infertility and/or are hopeful adoptive couples.

I know first hand the struggles of infertility. I have experienced it. I survived the loss of two precious babies in first and second trimester, and the partial loss of my reproductive organs. It was devastating. It broke my heart. I was angry, sad, bitter, hurt, and stressed. I was even told the chances of me birthing children in the future weren't that great. After surviving all that, the Lord has blessed me with the ability to carry a child and I am beyond thankful everyday for that chance. My gratitude is between the Lord and I. I do not need to prove that gratitude to anybody else = my facebook friends, my blog followers, acquaintances, etc.

Here is why I'm upset. 
Every. single. time. that I have made mention of any of my current pregnancy symptoms and difficulties 
- both medically diagnosed and emotional, 
without fail 
at least one person who suffers from infertility has told me to "be quiet and be thankful". 
These passive aggressive reminders have been sent both in private messages and in public comments on my personal blog and facebook page. 

I will admit, it too annoys me when women endlessly complain in public about every. little. last. uncomfortable. ailment. regarding their pregnancy.
I will admit I have indeed complained at times about the effects of this pregnancy on my health, my body and my emotions.

Let the record be noted, being pregnant can really suck sometimes. 
Especially for me. 
(I know I am not alone in this truth.) 

I will offer an unnecessary brief background for those that are not familiar with my health issues... I lost 35 pounds in a matter of weeks due to constant vomiting and was diagnosed with severe hyperemesis gravidarum . I literally couldn't even walk into my own kitchen or open my fridge without vomiting. My only option for basic nutritional support was to be hooked up to an IV every day for a few hours. Even this was difficult, as my veins collapsed too many times to count and left the nurses with few options. No medication has eased this medical problem, neither has 'time'.  I have crippling migraines that have left me in the ER.  During my first pregnancy, I had to have my appendix removed. The list goes on, but I will not bore you with it, nor is it any of your business.
I have every right to complain about these things. You have NO right to tell me that I don't.
This is MY experience.

The majority of my posts on my personal blog and facebook have been happily sharing how excited I am to receive this new life into my home.  Yet I am still told to stop complaining, be thankful, etc.  Maybe I should feel sorry that it offends you that I am complaining a little about the fact that I haven't eaten real food in months...but tough luck. I am gonna complain. If you don't want to hear/read it, don't.

I do not need to remind you that I am also a birthmother.
I too went through something tremendous. In fact, I still have hard days...ESPECIALLY while I am pregnant-  I can't avoid all the time I have to simply sit here and think of all those moments I missed with Josie. Do you hear me spouting off and telling other birthmothers to 'be thankful' because even though they are struggling post placement, they got to hold their children first? no! Instead, I tell them how happy I am for them, that they got to have that birth experience. My adoption experience was mine, and theirs is, theirs- I respect that.

"... be thankful that I can bear children..." UGH!! so many times a day I am on my knees crying, thanking Him that I get to be responsible for this child! I shouldn't have to tell you that! I shouldn't have to defend myself! 

To my friends suffering infertility....you just can NOT expect the world to sensor what they say to make YOU feel better.  The choice to be offended is yours alone.
I choose to not take offense, nor can I expect people to say the politically correct or most emotionally sensitive thing ALL OF THE TIME about placing a baby. I don't want people to stop sharing their experiences nor do I want them to censor their experiences out of fear of what others might think!

This post is not meant to be mean or purposefully insensitive nor is it directed at any one individual; if you choose to not follow my blog or be my facebook friend anymore because of this post, I will respect that.  However, it is important to me that you all know that it really hurts when I am deliberately told that I am not being grateful enough for this beautiful baby girl. It hurts when I am told I do not have the right to be annoyed or upset about things while I am pregnant. 

We can all use the reminder "You never know what someone else is going through." Infertility is NOT the only issue. Placing a baby for adoption is NOT the only issue. Being adopted is NOT the only issue. Different people go through different/similar trials at different times. Each of our experiences are our own and are unique, even though they may be similar- this is a gift, for ourselves and each other.

I feel a strong love for every person/couple that struggles with infertility issues. Truly if I could find a way to bring every single one of you a baby into your home, I would. I say that with all the sincerity and love in my heart. But please don't make myself, and others like me, feel guilty about being pregnant and about sharing our pregnancy struggles.

And to my birthmother sisters- I hope you know that 
I have a strong love for every. one. of. you. 
(even if i don't know you IRL) I wish I could talk to you all, everyday, and give you a hug if you needed it. But please don't make those of us who are in a different part of life's journey (fertile, infertile, single parenting, etc) feel guilty about being pregnant [again].

luvs to you all, Jessa
Thank you muchas to birthMOM for helping me organize my emotions by editing/co-authoring this post.

still smiling!


Crystal Renee said...

Hi Jessa. Don't let it bother you, which I am sure you won't. You look great! When are you due by the way? And thanks for sharing. I love this blog!!

Katelyn Krum Shaw said...

we are so similar in so many ways! I believe we were destined to be friends. xoxo

DaNelle said...

I COMPLETELY agree with you. I had 2 children and experienced horrible sick pregnancies. 6 years later I now have unexplained infertility which is why we are now hoping to adopt and currently searching for our birthmother.
Just because I can't have children of my own now doesn't mean I don't allow others to go through their OWN experiences.
COMPLAINING about it & TALKING about it are two different things.
I don't think you are complaining at all in fact I think you are amazing for being so positive through it all. Being so incredibly sick for that long just cannot be understood unless a person experiences it. People need to be less judging and offended and become more understanding.
Everybody is fighting a hard battle and we just can't compare.

Telling someone to "not complain because they should be happy they're pregnant" is like saying to "not complain about infertility because at least they won't get stretch marks". Every situation is hard and we should support each other.

Good luck with your pregnancy, YOU CAN DO THIS! Celebrate small milestones and you'll get through it!

Elizabeth said...

Wow, you (both) worded this perfectly! Every individual's experience is just that - THEIR experience, no two are the same and even if they were, each persons emotions would still impact the situation differently. I agree with you completely!

Sterling Bo said...

I have been sooooo nervous about even telling people I am pregnant and excited... I feel guilty about it. I'm so glad you wrote about your feelings. Now I know I'm not the only one annoyed by having to sensor everything. (I know I don't have to, it's just that stupid "guilt" thing... ugh!)
I appreciate it, Jessa. Thank you!!!

Unknown said...

Beautifully and thoughtfully
written Jessa!

Mostly Jessica said...

That's like if someone told me I can't talk about the parts of parenthood that are difficult because I should just be positive ALL THE TIME. Thanks for sticking up for YOUR experience! The good and the not so good.

DisabilityDiva said...

Love you! You are always real and that's why I love you!

Alli said...

Jessa, jessa I love you.

This post is amazing. I've had some of these same feelings.

Keep writing, you're the best!

C and T & Co. said...

Thanks for sharing Jessa. Sorry you've had so many people whining about our happiness! I am so very happy & excited for you! Everyone does have their OWN struggles & challenges and no one needs to tell others what to say or how to feel. Nothing you have said has made me feel uncomfortable. You always make me smile! ~Carlie

Lechelle said...

I'm sorry you've had to deal with that. I'm Facebook friends with you and I've seen your status updates. I never ever felt like you have been anything but grateful for this pregnancy with your darling girl. Sure you've talked about some complaints, but not excessively like some whiney insensitive nit-wit. I think you've been great! I'm sorry you've been so sick. :(

I have to say, we had fertility issues, adopted our first, and then just gave birth to our second. During this last pregnancy that survived we had all sorts of issues and it was touch and go for most of it. And through it all it was my infertile adoptive parent friends who were the most supportive, I love them a thousand times more because of it.

Lindsey from The R House said...

Shame on anyone who said those things to you. Love ya.

LeMira said...


Whitney said...

SUCH a good post, my friend! So insightful! It is interesting that even though each of us has such unique experiences, human emotions are so universal. I wish people would be more willing to connect and support one another through trials, instead of comparing them to their own. Sometimes life can be hard, and it isn't healthy or fair to pretend the difficulties you are facing don't exist. I think you're awesome, just had to say :).

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