MicroblogMondays: Cold-Hearted

Microblog_Mondays

A coworker caught me in the hallway and asked if I wanted to come to my former coworker’s “baby shower”.  I wrote about this former coworker here.  Her pregnancy announcement caught me by surprise as I knew that she was in the process of adoption after trying for a baby for a while.  I am not close to her, I was happy for her, but I did block her on Fac.ebook as she showed more and more of her baby bump photos.  Anyhow, the “baby shower” was actually going to consist of a dim sum lunch and then a Sk.ype session with the pregnant lady because she lives in another part of California.

This coworker does not know the exact details of our struggles, and I have never shared with her about our effort of making a baby.  But people in my office are nosy.  The year after we got married, I was repeatedly teased at work about having babies.  Since we have nothing to show for, nobody mentions about it anymore.  I am sure that it is a silent knowledge that we probably are struggling.  My response to my coworker was  “I don’t go to baby showers anymore”, to which she said, “I figured, but still wanted to extend the invitation so you would be included.”  She suggested that I could go to dim sum only and skip out on the Sk.ype session.  I declined by thanked her for thinking of me.

It is nice to have a say in declining a baby shower invitation because I was actually invited.  I think that many people think that since infertile people don’t often go to baby showers, they don’t want to be invited.  I don’t know about you, but I think it makes infertile people feel even more isolated.  It is nice to have the choice to decide if one wants to go.

I don’t think the baby shower will take place any time soon.  The following week after the baby shower invitation, another coworker shared with me that this former coworker, who was at the time 31-week pregnant, was having some problems and might give birth soon.  This coworker was feeling very bad for the pregnant lady.

Here comes the part where you may find me cold-hearted.  I did not feel bad for her.  My first reaction was that they would all survive, even if she had to give birth 31 weeks.  She will have her take-home baby. I sound cold.  And I was surprised by my lack of feelings.  For an acquaintance that had struggled with making a baby and finally got pregnant, I felt that I should have more feelings for her.  But I searched my heart, and I don’t.  I have been exposed to this world of infertility and have read over and over again other people who gave birth early and their struggles in the NICU.  I feel like I have spent all my energy on my infertile friends that I don’t have enough compassion and empathy to go around for other people that are remotely related to me.  Can one be desensitized about bad news in the baby world?  I think so.  I do not minimize the potential difficulties that my former coworker may face because from reading about my other friends, I know that her road to going home could be long.    But, again, I don’t feel bad for her.  Other coworkers do feel bad probably because they simply have not had as much exposure as I have for these kinds of things.  Nevertheless, it doesn’t make me feel good that I feel so cold-hearted.

The next day, former coworker did give birth to her baby at 31 weeks.  I was told that the baby is doing well as her weight is right where she should be and she breathed on her own for a little.  I am not a prophet, but I have confidence that this baby is going to be fine.

As for me, I have to release myself from this guilt of not feeling bad for my former coworker.  But I do know that being infertile for so long has changed my perspective on things in this world of making babies.  I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing.  Maybe you just can’t classify it as such.  This is my reality now.  Maybe I just have to let myself be.

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17 thoughts on “MicroblogMondays: Cold-Hearted

  1. These aren’t your friends or family. These are your co-workers.

    Your office sounds like it has a lot of unprofessional chatter, but that doesn’t mean you have to participate in it. Granted, I work with mostly men, but I don’t see why you don’t have to use your time at work to chat about baby struggles or pregnancy.

    You are beating yourself up over something at work that has nothing to do with your job or work. It’s OK to set boundaries, especially after what you have been through. You are at work. It is not your job to carry the emotional burden of someone that one of your bosses happened to hire.

    You are getting your job done and being kind to yourself and trying to hold it together in a difficult situation for yourself. That doesn’t mean you lack compassion, it means you are just trying to work at work.

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  2. From what you describe, it doesn’t sound cold hearted. Just an honest acknowledgement that no-one can feel everything for everyone. Think how emotionally drained everyone would be. Your emotional energy reserves have taken far bigger hits than most of these ladies.

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  3. First, I bet you know more about prospects for survival than most pregnant women and it was a rational consideration on your part. I don’t think that’s cold hearted. 24 weeks you probably would have felt some degree of “that sucks and is scary, I hope things turn out okay”. Just knowing you. And of you didn’t that would be okay too. You first. Especially right now. Your plate has been beyond full for a very long time, girl.

    Second, it isn’t cold-hearted in my view to keep a distance from the misfortune of essentially strangers who have encountered a fortune (a sustainable pregnancy) we have to date not been able to experience ourselves. Like I said, you first. Especially right now. Sometimes I curse my weeping over every stranger’s baby or child related tragedy. I don’t have spare energy or emotional capacity to shed on strangers. Yet it happens just the same and I’m working at reigning it in.

    Isabelle you are the antithesis of cold-hearted. Trust me on this. Please.

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  4. You are not cold hearted, just realistic and know more now about babies and fertility than you ever wanted to. I am going to borrow “I don’t go to baby showers anymore”, thank you.

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  5. I don’t think you’re cold hearted either but I do think you need to pray for God’s love to flow through you again. Your posts over the last year have seemed to slip from talking about how God has sustained you to being ok with your feelings. I’m obviously getting the smallest, tiniest glimpse into your life, but I am getting concerned for your spiritual and emotional health. Pray for God’s feelings to flow through you, for HIS love for others instead of yours. And be concerned for that tiny helpless baby who may be battling for its life right now (past viability or not, you know that it will be a rough road and possibly a deadly one) and its mother who will be painfully kept on the sidelines, powerless from helping her child, just as you’ve been kept on the sidelines from helping the child you desire to have.

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    • I’m not sure this sort of preaching helps when Isabelle already admits to feeling guilty and desensitized by so much personal and vicarious experience with trauma. No need for blog readers to exacerbate the guilt.

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      • Preaching is the last thing I intended, though I guess it may have come across that way. I’m trying to avoid more unintended preaching in my response but I still believe she needs to pray for God’s love, for herself but also for others through her.
        Isabelle, if you’re reading this, I’m very truly sorry for any pain I caused.

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        • Hey girl. I thought about not responding. But here I am. I don’t disagree with you that for this one particular incident, I maybe should have prayed for God’s love for this person. I didn’t. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t pray for God’s love for others, am slipping away from God’s love, and am being okay with my feelings. I was simply making an observation about my reaction and was surprised by it. And I was being honest about my feelings. I could have chosen not to write about it, but I chose to be honest. I also thank you for your honesty in being concerned about my spiritual wellbeing, but your original comment made me feel judged and defensive. It took me a whole day and discussing with my close believer friends to finally not feel bothered by it. Like you said, you as a blog reader are really getting the tiniest glimpse of my life. You don’t know me personally, so you don’t really know what is going on in my life. The kind of daily struggles that I have. The kind of daily prayers that I do. I can tell you that I have not slipped away from knowing and feeling how God has sustained me. I may not always write about it, but I know that without God’s strength, I will not be here still functioning daily. Anyways, I promised myself that I won’t defend myself too much, but seems like I did. Ha. I know that you support me and whatever you said was out of love. So we’re good here. No worries about it.

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          • And this is why I have a hard time talking to people in person. It kills me when I hurt someone, and I did that yesterday. I’m so glad you realize that I meant it out of love (I did) and I am truly sorry that it hurt you. I realize now that I should have just prayed for you instead of admonishing you. I’m sorry. I’m so glad to hear that your faith remains strong through these trials.

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  6. If I had to be honest it is a bit cold…I am infertile and got pregnant luckily on a FET after my IVF failed and lost my daughter to IC at almost 24 weeks I was able to carry again and take home a baby but still I can empathize with those that struggle a little or a lot in any way to take home a baby. I was also jaded for the years it took us to finally have a baby but I would never take for granted that a baby born any time before 40 weeks is guaranteed. My good friend lost her daughter at 40 weeks in utero so nothing in life is guaranteed. You could also lost a perfectly healthy child to SIDS or any number of things after birth. Maybe its the fact that you are not close to this co-worker makes you feel distant. Infertility changes you as a person forever no matter if you are able to have children eventually but again it should not change your ability to empathize in a person’s struggles albiet not the same as yours. You may not be able to sympathize but at least have compassion for this other human being.

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    • I appreciate your honesty, and I appreciate you expressing it. Like I said in the post, I did find myself cold, so I agree with you. I do not discount anyone’s struggles. My point is, I was surprised by my reaction, and I think it has a lot to do with me being in this world for so long. Someone later on told me that it’s called compassion fatigue. I didn’t know this term. Anyhow, I know I *should* have compassion. But on that day in that moment, I didn’t. It doesn’t mean that I won’t for other people. I just found myself being there at that point and I was surprised by it.

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      • Infertility takes a toll on our souls and personalities that sometimes we will never be the person we were before infertility. I know you have compassion but in that moment you didn’t. I am glad you posted your honest feelings since there are others who probably feel the same way. I know with infertility I expect to feel the unexpected.

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  7. I appreciate your honesty. The fact that you were surprised and later felt guilt about your reaction proves that you are not cold-hearted. It’s funny that you mentioned compassion fatigue in your response to a comment because the infertility psychologist we consulted while we were cycling did mention that to me. At one point (after almost 3 years of cumulated disappointments) she asked me how I was doing. I told her “is it bad that I just don’t seem to care about people anymore?” and she did mention that term “compassion fatigue”. The truth is you are the only one who truly understands the struggles you are dealing with. Even someone who struggles or has struggled with infertility may not always understand you because each one of us have different realities and therefor react differently to unfortunate events. I’m going to keep you in my thoughts and wholeheartedly hope that you get to have your take-home baby soon.

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  8. Isabelle, can I just extend some grace your way? Because seriously, some of the comments above were pretty quick to rush into judgment. I don’t think you are cold-hearted at all. Yes, it would be lovely if we could always feel sympathy for others that are struggling, but this world is just too big and the daily burdens that we ourselves face sometimes cause us to grow weary. If you took a look into my heart during some dark seasons in my life, it’s not a pretty picture and yet I’m loved and forgiven by our amazing Savior who extends more and more grace to help us in our time of need. You could have just ignored your feelings and not shared it here on the blog, but it took bravery to admit your struggle and I know you will help others who might be dealing with guilt as they walk through the same kind of struggles. This does not mean that you are not faithful or struggling in your relationship with God or lacking love – this just means you are a human being, flawed with sin like all the rest of us, walking with God and doing the best you can during a very painful and difficult season of your life. It’s really hard to share the darker moments of this journey in the blog world, but I hope you’ll continue to be open and feel confident that God is going to use it all for good. Sometimes it’s hard for me to look back on an old blog post where I was venting and showing the ugly side of this journey, but I’m glad I did share those parts of this journey because I know someone else out there needs to know they aren’t the only one feeling this way. And the other positive side of that, is seeing how God redeems the struggle and helps me to walk through it to a place of healing and redemption. I’m blabbing now, but I just wanted to send some encouragement your way. Hugs!

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