Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Just Don't Think It's Funny

I am having a problem.

I am tired of infertility and loss. People keep telling me that I should be over and done with it. But how can I get over something that is still happening? Just because it isn't happening to me doesn't mean that it is over.

I am so mad about my sister-in-law's loss. I am so angry about it that I could just spit.

I am so infuriated about Jen's loss. It makes me want to hit something (for the record, I am not a violent person and the only thing I have ever hit is a pillow. . . so that gives you an idea of how upset it makes me).

I don't know if this is normal. I mean, to be honest, I feel as if my perspective is just a bit too far skewed lately.

Let me give you an example. Did you see that "Go the F*ck to Sleep" book that circulated around the internet last week? I received it through two separate e-mails, saw it on countless FB walls, and it came across my Twitter feed half a dozen times.

That book makes me mad. The book makes me want to tell parents to "Grow the F*ck Up." You have been blessed with a child to rock to sleep. Do you know how many women and men would kill for that honor and privilege?

One of my friends pointed out that it's easy for me to feel this way, because my kids sleep well. Well, they didn't always. My blog is a living, breathing record of Will's poor sleep, especially when he was a newborn. But even after he started sleeping well, he still is a sensitive sleeper and our bedtime routine for him is lengthy and includes stories, "rock-rock", and songs. From my "logical" brain, I know that the book is just making light of the fact that kids and their endless stream of "needs" and "wants" can drive a person a little. . . twitchy. I am not going to sit here and post that I never feel tired, frustrated, or just ready to plunk Will and Emma in their beds and head downstairs to conk out in front of the television. I'm human, I get tired, so I "get it".

But then, I think of all the women whose arms are empty, still waiting. And I think of my friend, Elizabeth. Her daughter, Peyton, was diagnosed with a terminal pediatric brain tumor in November. They are living each day at a time, knowing that days are all they have left. Days, people. Months, if they are lucky.

And Ben Towne's mommy? She would give her life - the very breath from her body - to be able to read her son a bedtime story just one more time. Or to get him a drink of water. Or whatever he wanted. She'd get it for him and thank her lucky stars, no matter the time of day or night.

But. . . I don't know if this is normal. To read this story that everyone else on the planet thinks is funny and to almost have a rage-like reaction to it? Oh, and this? This is just an example. Lately, I just feel as if my sense of humor has been misplaced. I can't see things as funny when I see so many good people hurting. This isn't to say that I never laugh or that I feel angry all of the time. But when it comes to things like this, I am decidedly "off".

What is wrong with me?


HereWeGoAJen said...

Yeah, I keep wanting to hit things too.

I think it is normal. I've had that reaction to a lot of things that people think are funny. Like when people complain about their kids in an offhand manner. That drives me crazy. (I have no problem with honest complaints, it's the offhand ones that get me. Like "hah, I couldn't wait for her to start talking and now I wish she'd shut up." Drives me crazy.) I didn't mind that book, I probably would have laughed when Elizabeth was in the horrible sleep phase, but I have that reaction a LOT to stuff that other people think is funny.

Tracy said...


I admit to being one of those parents that think that book is funny. I suppose I've become comfortable and complacent in my role as a parent. I've come to accept the fatigue and obligation (yes, that IS what it honor at the same time, but also an obligation) that comes with parenthood.

I struggled for so long with loss and infertility that now I just want to enjoy being a parent. Yes, what comes with that is the normalcy in complaining about lack of sleep, and the rest of the shenanigans that come with raising preschoolers.

I understand being sensitive to those that are struggling to be parents. GOD KNOWS I understand, but on the other hand, I just want to enjoy where I am and what I'm doing, and all that entails.

Call me insensitive, but I've been there, done that, and I'm ready to put it behind me. I feel for those still going through it, and I pray for an easier path, but that's ALL I can do without driving myself bonkers and dwelling on pain I'd rather let go.

Katie said...

Tracy, it's so funny. I saw your FB post on this last week. . . and I read the CNN story that you linked to, which did help me feel a bit better about the book. It also made me feel as if "Well, if Tracy is okay with it, I should be, too." Which I why I feel weird about feeling the way that I do.

I think a huge part of my inability to move past infertility is that I am still going through it with close friends and family members. My SIL's loss is fresh and I am grieving my nieces. And the wounds, which are so thinly scarred over, keep getting reopened with each encounter that I have. Not that I am trying to make their situations about me at all. It's just that there is no denying that the memories do come. And I use those memories and draw on them to try and help others through the murky waters, so they are beneficial, but still, it's obviously having an effect on me.

I LIKE being a resource for my friends who come after me. I LIKE feeling as if I can be of help. I don't want to stop that.

But I also yearn to feel "normal," to be okay with laughing at things that others find funny, to be able to grumble and gripe without feeling guilty, or to listen to others grumble and gripe without getting irritated by it.

But I hope this post didn't offend you, Tracy. I realize I am the one who is "off" here, not you.

Christine said...

I read the story and I laughed. My kids are good sleepers so it did not apply to me but I still thought it was funny.
I had 3 iui's/6 ivf's/ 2 mc before I had my miracle. I know what it is like to suffer from infertility.
I was blessed again with twins on my 7th ivf cycle.
I think it is ok to joke sometimes.
What else can you do?

What is not ok is this example.

My husbands cousin is 23 and has a 1 yo daughter in foster care because she is not ready to be a mom. She is 14 weeks along with her second. That makes me want to puke. How is that fair? That is not funny.

Just my opinion.

Ms. J said...

Honey, you have had something horrible happen in your family, so of course you are raw and things like this will not seem funny.

Going out on a limb here...I think humor or complaining is just a way of coping or finding commonality. I am very self-depracating in real life, and make fun of myself AND my kids' foibles and idiosyncracies. I like other people who do that, too! What annoys me is the "hearts and unicorns and lollipops" crowd. Nothing is ever allowed to be wrong or off, they never have a bad day, they never are frustrated or lash out or admit to anything less than a shiny package with a perfectly tied bow on it.

I have always had a hard time understanding why fertility challenges and/or loss negate the ability to share in admitting it's HARD being a parent sometimes. Why is that? Of course there are times when it's not appropriate, which is what is happening in your own immediate family's life.

For me, the time when the urge to vent or b*tch about anything disappears is when Lil Pumpkin has a doctor appt at the Chil.dren's Hospital. The things I have seen there, the dark corners in my mind . . . humbling.

But with my history of loss and fertility challenges and as an Adoption Mama who has been in the absolute trenches when it comes to attachment issues . . . I feel I have earned my stripes, and therefore will use some mocking and vents to blow off a little steam.

If anyone is entitled to blow off some steam, I think it's "people like us."

I want to smack people who never admit to things being tough and seemingly never struggle.

But right now, honey, it's okay that it hurts and isn't funny. Remember when 9/11 happened, and we struggled to even think of a time when it would be okay to laugh again? Slowly, humor crept back into our lives. It didn't mean we forgot or loved those in our lives any less deeply by allowing ourselves to indulge in lightheartedness again.

Be gentle with yourself. Wuv ya.

Tracy said...

Katie, you didn't make me feel bad at all...and I know your situation is unique in that you are face to face with this issue on an ongoing basis.


Joy@WhenDoesDaddyComeHome said...

This post made me cry, especially the part when you said Ben's mom would give her very breath to read to him one more time or do something as mundane and mindless as get him a glass of water. Oh how much we take for granted! People just don't realize; they just don't see the hurting people around them.

Never heard of the book but the title alone is appalling. I probably would never open it.

Mr. Thompson and Me said...

Right on!

You summed it up perfectly. People just need to be more kind. Plain and simple.