Displaced

When we were first trying to get pregnant, I suffered what I now know to be a chemical pregnancy. I suspected that I was pregnant because of a few signs (take pity, it was early on before I knew anything!) but the next day there was cramping, worse than normal, and tissue. (TMI, I know, but…just keep reading. It’s not all like this I promise. ) When we got back home from my parents’ house, I jumped online to do some research about miscarriages…which is how I found out about chemical pregnancies. At any rate, during the course of my research, I found the boards at WebMD. These boards would become my home for a year and a half, and I met a lot of friends through there…people that I am STILL in contact with, 7 years later. These are people who understand my worries and fears.

And yet? And yet, I left those boards. I was on the JSO (just starting out) boards for almost a year, helping other people and passing on the information I had learned. By the time a year had rolled around I could no longer stand the “OMG we’ve been trying for 2 months and I’m never going to get pregnant!” and “we’ve been trying for 2 weeks and nothing!” people. I just…couldn’t. Their shiny made me want to slap them. I left and I moved over to the “6 months, still trying” boards. These were women who had been trying longer than I had and who had tons of knowledge. They also had tons of bitterness, which I can understand. Some were doing treatments, some weren’t. I was the latter, because I was refusing to go see an RE. Then I started treatments, and I relied on them for information on that front. We were given a 13% chance of success…and we failed. Meanwhile someone else on the boards who had been given a 3% chance had succeeded…and I couldn’t handle it. I just couldn’t. I left, because I wasn’t going to be doing more treatments and I couldn’t handle all the bitterness and successes.

I actually started this blog while I was on the 6 month boards. It seems so long ago…and it was, really. We’re talking April 2006…and we’d been trying for a year at that point. And by trying, I mean unprotected sex. It wasn’t until I started on the boards that I started tracking information. Here’s the thing, though: I feel as if I never really fit in on any of the boards, or the blogging community, or as a parent. On the JSO boards, I became the person other people turned to for information…which was great, because I like being helpful, but it made me feel really old. I didn’t fit in on the 6+ board because I wasn’t doing treatments and I didn’t have as much information as the other people and I wanted to slap the really really bitter people. Mind not that I am one of the jaded people now, this was then! And then…then I left the boards, because so many of my friends did due to drama, and I lost touch with some of the others, and my blog became my home. It has always been my one safe place – the place no family knows about, the place my RL friends don’t know about, the place where I could just be me. And for the longest time, I was me. I was blogging all the time…and it gradually slowed…and got slower when I wasn’t getting comments, because while I was writing this to get things out of my head, I needed to be heard and if I wasn’t being heard, what was the point in talking? I didn’t fit in in the blogosphere – I wasn’t pregnant, I wasn’t parenting, I wasn’t doing treatments, I wasn’t “technically” infertile because I am fine on paper. When the only person who commented for the longest time was doing so because she was assigned by Mel to my category on the blogroll…I didn’t feel like I fit. Like I was an impostor.

Then, miracle of miracles, we got pregnant somehow. I still blame my mother, but happily. We were an anomaly, one of those infertile couples who got pregnant naturally. Once again, I didn’t fit into the blogosphere. I was an anomaly. I was one of those that infertile/childless-but-not-by-choice couples alternately hate and love. I spent my time talking on FB, to mixed comments. Supportive from my IF friends, “you worry too much” from those who are blissfully unaware of all the things that can and do go wrong. That includes my RL friends, mind you, who have known me for at least a decade at this point, people who should have known better. I’ve never been quiet about my reproductive status or things I’ve learned, people I’ve met who have experienced things gone wrong. So now I got moved into a different area of the blogosphere, but I still didn’t feel like I fit.

When the Boy was born, he was taken to the NICU. His blood sugars were way way down and he wouldn’t (couldn’t!) eat and they took him to find out why. I knew why, I told them, but it was hours before they figured it out. So now, AHA!, I can identify with NICU parents, yeah? I saw the children in the NICU, children born 4 1/2 months too early, with tubes and wires going every which way. Children in isolettes, whose parents are only able to reach through the arm holes to touch them. This was not my child, this was not my world. We were able to hold the Boy, feed him, touch him. I can see how terrifying it must be to have a child in the NICU. I mean, you know that your child is in good, capable hands that will do what is necessary for your child (hopefully, because I know they don’t always)…but then, your child is in the NICU, which means something is WRONG and that’s scary. Even when it was something small, like the Boy, it’s scary. Recently one of our own in the bloggy world gave birth early. Watching the story unfold made me realize that no, I do not belong in the world that is “NICU parenting”. I’m an impostor in that world too.

Ah, but then! Then we have speech problems, hearing problems, eating problems. I could probably classify as a mild special needs parent, but I don’t WANT to. Admitting that my child needs help is like admitting that I needed help, that I was broken and probably couldn’t do it on my own. Yes, I am getting him help…but just how far do I want to delve into that world? Every time I have a meeting with the lady from the School for the Deaf & Blind, I feel guilty. We’re having a meeting on Tuesday with a sign language mentor and I feel slightly guilty, like I’m trying to take resources away from someone who REALLY needs them. My kid has a hearing aid, but I don’t feel like I belong in the deaf world. My kid is in speech therapy so he can learn how to talk, because he’s not going to do it on his own…but I feel like I’m wasting her time, because he WILL learn eventually (or so I tell myself). I don’t belong, but it’s where I’ve been placed. I’m trying to convince myself that all of this is good for the Boy – IESDB, speech therapy, sign language (which isn’t a given yet) – that I need to do these things because they are best for him…but are they? Would he be better off if I just let him be and let him develop on his own? He learns speech from hearing it around him. He mimics us, the TV, words in a book…but is it because of speech therapy or in spite of it? The hearing aids are a godsend. Those I KNOW work, because his speech has increased quite a bit since he got them. Will learning sign hinder him? I know it doesn’t usually in a “normal” kid, but I’ve a kid who doesn’t talk much – will sign cause him to fall back on that and get lazy with his speech? Will immersing him in the “deaf and hard of hearing” world and introducing him to other kids who are on the hearing/lack of hearing spectrum cause him to feel different? Part of me wants to call off speech therapy…but then I fear that I will be holding him back or will get him taken away for refusing to comply and helping him. That, I think, is one of my biggest fears – that someone will decide I’m not doing ENOUGH and take him away.

As far as eating goes, I’ve several friends (you know who you are!) who have had my back the entire time we’ve been struggling with this child, who have given me idea after idea and listened to me panic without telling me I worry too much or to shut the hell up. Thank you. The eating part has been a lot easier, knowing that there ARE people in my life who understand this and can help. It’s the one area where I don’t feel adrift.

I wish I knew the answers. I feel lost sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time. I feel like I’m spinning. And when I spin, I turn here, to try and get my thoughts down…even if I do ramble.

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5 Comments

  1. I hear you. I’m that one in the other lonely boat waving to you from afar. Never quite fitting in anywhere. If I had the answers, I would share.

    Reply
  2. A few thoughts here.

    You’re not an imposter. Yes, there will always be others who have it worse. Yes, as an individual with a unique situation, you will never be in exactly the same situation as the rest of the group. (The same is true for everyone else.) But that’s not the point. You have certain problems and challenges. Things that most people don’t face. And you need support for that. That’s what those groups are for. You’re not an imposter.

    I do entirely sympathize. What you describe sounds a lot like what I felt when I applied for my handicapped parking tag. I hate stamping that label on myself. I hate admitting that it fits. And it STILL feels vaguely wrong to have that tag in my car knowing that most days I don’t need it and really I just walk with a cane and technically I can walk without it (it just hurts more). It’s not like I’m REALLY handicapped. I don’t need a wheelchair. I’m not at risk of falling over. I just have pain and fatigue. Do I really belong in this “handicapped” category?

    Yes, yes I do. I do need special accommodations. Heck, there are days when I can barely stand, let alone walk across the room. Much fewer than they used to be, but they still happen. I may not be in as bad a shape as you typically think of when you think of someone “handicapped,” but my body does not function like a normal person’s, and I need some help.

    You and your son are in the same situation. There are people worse off. Be glad you’re not among them. But you’re dealing with things most people don’t have to. You have needs and challenges that they don’t. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, whatever the voices say. And you deserve help and support for that from people who are dealing with similar problems.

    I hope you find a space that fits you. But try not to talk yourself out of fitting in. Try not to succumb to Imposter Syndrome.

    As for sign language: We used signs and gestures with my niece when she was too young to talk. It gave her a way to express herself and to communicate. It also helped her brain learn to put concepts into words. She couldn’t say the phrase “all done,” but she knew that wiping her hands MEANT “all done.” The gesture was associated with the phrase and the phrase had a specific meaning.

    My sister was worried that doing all that would teach her to speak in signs and that she wouldn’t be driven to talk. In fact, the reverse was true. She started speaking sooner than any of the other grandkids. She spoke more. She spoke more clearly. She developed faster. Real words and phrases. When you think about it, it makes sense. Developing the language center of the brain will help it function better and sooner, whether you’re using words or gestures. She even started reading sooner than the other kids.

    And, too, it was good for her to be able to express herself. To tell us what she wanted and needed and didn’t want and so on. For your Boy, who has had more trouble and frustration with that then most, I’m sure it’s especially rewarding.

    Reply
  3. You are not an imposter: we are all just people fitting in our person-shaped space. You are Tigger, and you fit in your Tigger-shaped space. And everyone you love and all the situations you find yourself in shape that.

    Reply
  4. I was led here by Mel’s blog and love this! If only we could get around the labels and the need to compare degrees of suffering…

    Reply
  5. I get this and feel the exact same way for many of the same reasons. I wonder what it feels like not to have those doubts and not feeling lost.

    Reply

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