what to do when you don’t know what to do with anger

I’ve been grappling with anger lately.

Over the last year I’ve noticed that I spend more and more time agitated and disappointed and feeling hurt by others. I often harbor feelings of anger that seep into my chest and seize me and can’t be shaken off. I find myself awake at night, with a loop of angry thoughts in my head, having imaginary fights. My heart rate increases, the pit in my stomach makes me nauseous. I want them to know, how they’ve let me down, how poorly they’ve behaved. I want them to know how much I hurt. But I don’t tell them, I just lay awake, angry and agitated.

None of this makes me feel good. I don’t feel like a good person or my best self sheltering those feelings. It doesn’t make me feel like the person I want to be. It doesn’t make me proud. It weighs me down, cripples me, impeding my path to lightness and balance.

I’ve always been sensitive, easily hurt, and often disappointed, but this feels new. This level of heaviness and fervor. It feels like too much, and more than I want to carry.

I want to release it all.

So I brought it to my therapist. After my rants, I pleaded with her. How do I let this all go? How do I stop being so affected by others? How do I stop caring what they do and what they don’t do? How do I forgive?

As we broke it down, I realized the anger I was feeling was only directed towards people that know about our struggles of the last two years, know about our losses, and know about the profound effect it’s had on us. But they are the ones that didn’t come through.

The ones that didn’t provide the right kind of comfort, never said the right things, and left us alone in our pain, grief, and isolation.They are the ones that don’t understand how deep this goes. They are the ones that act like life just goes on. They are the ones that said thoughtless things.

I don’t want to have to feel bad about being pregnant around you. Just relax, that’s what I did, look at all my kids! You miscarried because you are too skinny. You miscarried because you are too stressed. Don’t be upset about your miscarriage, it’ll happen, just stop thinking about it.

And then there are the ones that stayed quiet. And continue to stay quiet.

I feel angry at them because I have been hurt by them.

But my therapist and I started to dissect further. Why was it affecting me so much? I have such a huge network of love and support. I have so many people that never let me down. That listen, and try to understand even if they haven’t been through it. That never forget that no matter my smile, no matter my laugh, I’m always carrying a bit of pain inside. And I know, that this kind of loss is not easy to understand if you’ve never experienced it. I know that there’s really no way to understand. 

But eventually I realized the paradox. I have all this anger because I’ve never allowed myself to be angry about our actual miscarriages.

I’ve felt sadness, pain, grief, and loss, but never anger. Subconsciously, I didn’t think I was allowed to be angry. If I get angry at the universe, and start screaming, why me, that means I’m just throwing a pity party for myself. That means I’m not grateful for everything I have. If I get angry that I continue to have to fight so hard for everything I want in life, I’m ignoring all the things that I’ve been given easily.  If I get angry that means I think my struggle is worse than someone else’s struggle. If I allow myself to be angry, what will that do, besides create a pattern of negative, bitter thinking?

Underneath the surface, this is what I thought. And there is truth to it, if you hold on to the anger for too long, you will allow it to permeate, fester, and grip you, making it harder and harder to release and move on. Making bitterness and cynicism a default.

But when something happens to you that sucks, something that’s not your fault, that’s random and throws your world upside down, it’s ok to be angry. My therapist let me know I can be angry about one thing, while still grateful for all the other things. I can be angry without discounting all that I’ve been given. They can co-exist.

I’m a gentle soul with a soft personality, and exploding with anger does not come easily to me. Expressing anger does not come easily to me.

But harboring anger does.

So instead of expressing my anger over our losses, I found targets to direct my anger at, silently and secretly. Easy targets, since I already felt let down by them. But I allowed the anger to grow out of proportion to the slights. I let my anger towards them consume me. I let it dictate my day, my emotional balance, my wellness.

So now I need to go backwards. I need to go back to our two losses, the sweet angel we lost in July 2013, and the sweet angel sibling we lost in December 2013, and I need to allow myself to get mad. It’s not easy for me, when I try to access that I anger I get blocked, like I’m in a dense forest that I can’t get through, and the only thing I can find is the anger I feel at those that didn’t understand, who left us alone. It jumps in front and impedes the true reason for my anger.

But I need to keep trying. I need to get mad.

Get mad so that I can release it, and let it go.

Get mad so that I can feel forgiveness and compassion towards those who have let me down.

Get mad so that I can feel gratitude for all of my loved ones who have chosen empathy, who felt my pain with me so that I wouldn’t have to feel it alone.

So here it goes.

I’m angry.

I’m angry that I lost two babies, two babies that I loved so dearly and wanted more than anything to watch grow up and love and cherish the person they would become.

I’m angry that I have had this joyous rite of passage to motherhood ripped from me, trampled on, and gutted so that it will never resemble what I felt so briefly after that first positive test.

I’m angry that two of the closest women in my life shared my due dates and are now mothers to beautiful babies, while my womb and arms are still empty.

I’m angry that my miscarriages have made me feel like I am not deserving of motherhood.

I’m angry that my miscarriages have taken a toll on my self-esteem, my self-worth, and my confidence.

I’m angry that our once easy and innocent marriage has had to undergo strain, and that now we have to work so hard to stay united and not let the stress of this struggle destroy us.

I’m angry that I have to feel pain with every pregnancy announcement.

I’m angry that we are pressured to stay quiet about our losses. That so many don’t perceive them as real loss.

I’m angry that miscarriage and infertility have controlled our life for almost two years. Causing my career to suffer. Forcing us to always live with uncertainty.

I’m angry that my miscarriages have caused a tear in some of my friendships. The friends that are moms who don’t know what to say. Who look at me with pity and discomfort.

I’m angry that I have to carry this pain, day after day.

I’m angry that my miscarriages have caused so much suffering, for me, for my husband, for my family.

I’m angry for all the other women out there that suffer in this way too.

It’s time for me to work through this anger, the real reason for my anger, and the real reason for my suffering. When I get fixated on how much I’ve been hurt by people, I can remember, it’s not about them. I haven’t been hurt by people, I’ve been hurt by miscarriage. And even though I haven’t completely healed, I am getting there, little by little. And soon, I can release. Pain, hurt, anger. Because this too, shall pass.

please be kind to me, 34

I turned 34 yesterday.

Starting about a month ago, I couldn’t think about my birthday without crying. My feelings of failure around my lack of a baby got punctuated and emphasized by my impending birthday. Turning 34 meant I officially failed to reproduce at 33. And turning 34 meant there were no more birthdays between me and 35.

So I spent last week in misery. I dwelled in every negative thought, I gave in to every self-indulgent bitter emotion. I didn’t feel like smiling or laughing. I let myself feel agitated and unhappy. I had a hard time relating to everyone around me, including my husband. And I gave up even trying to pull myself out of it.

But I actually needed a week like that. I needed to let go of my constant pep-talk-positive-cheerleading that keeps me going day after day for a short while. I needed to get out as much negativity as I could.

Because better to leave it all with 33.

Because then I was ready to have a fabulous weekend turning 34.

My brother and his wife hosted a beautiful birthday for me on Friday night. My cousin and his wife came, and they created a fabulous spread of hors d’oeuvres, with bacon-wrapped pears, sausages, fancy cheeses, and caprese skewers.  For dinner we ordered from a trendy Venice restaurant, and ate salad with Tuscan kale, shaved fennel, radish, and ricotta, and feasted on braised pork meatballs and pizzas with chorizo and lamb sausage.

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beautiful table setting and beautiful food!

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guess what i wished for?!

On Saturday, my mom flew in from Austin and we went straight to Disneyland! My brother, sister-in-law, and nephew joined us along with my good friend, my godmother and her boyfriend. We spent a crazy day trying to navigate the park with half the group only wanting to go on mellow rides, and the other half (myself included!) wanting to do only fast ones. All in all it was a beautiful day, full of silliness and fun.

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never too old for a mickey cake!

On Sunday morning, my husband and I got up early and drove to Long Beach to do the Walk of Hope, hosted by RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. We were able to raise over $1100 and were the third highest fundraising team. I received a special thank you from the Director for our fund-raising efforts. It was a beautiful morning, and I felt overwhelmed with emotions to be in this group of people who understood this pain so well. It felt fitting to be a part of this event on the last day of my 33rd year, a year so wrought with struggle, and I hope symbolically it breathes positivity and a new outlook to 34.

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representing my blog and my angels.

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the beautiful 1 mile walk through the beach.

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they gave out free pregnancy tests!

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On Monday, my actual birthday, my mom and I spent the day together. We did a little window shopping and then indulged in a long, leisurely lunch at a gorgeous West Hollywood restuarant. The lunch was one of the most enjoyable meals I’ve ever had, and the day was one of the more special days I’ve had in a while.

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loving the time spent with my mom.

And then of course when my husband got home from work he spoiled me with gifts and took me out to dinner. We drank a bottle of wine, took our time, ate a ton of food, and talked about every fun thing we could think of.

My birthday this year was one of more perfect birthdays I’ve had. I know my family put extra effort into it, knowing the year I just faced. I needed the fun and the distraction to remember how lucky I am in life. I needed such a busy whirlwind weekend to snap me out of a deep funk that I had slipped into. I needed a fun birthday weekend to make myself feel like everything is going to be ok.

But I still will plead….please be kind to me, 34.

cyst check and next steps

My cyst was smaller, but not small enough. We were told to continue sitting this cycle out, and I was instructed to remain on pelvic rest.

Disappointing, but I’m ok. I’m back on my feet.

Sometimes it takes me a few days. I need a few days to crash, and cry, and embrace all my despair in the form of dramatic sobs and refusing to get out from under the covers. My helpless husband stays by my side, trying to cheer me up by enticing me with fro-yo or by bringing me surprise bouquets of flowers. But he knows. Once I’ve had my monthly tantrum, I always find it a little easier to pick myself up, accept reality, and move on.

And so I’m moving on. But since I’m always a girl with a plan, I had to come up with something new to keep myself calm and help me believe that this next cycle will be The One. As my therapist has pointed out, so much of my hope is attached to action. When I’m forced out of action, and I have to just sit and wait and lessen my control grips, I start to spiral downward. Downward to that negative place that eats hope and smacks down positivity. Which is why this cyst and sitting out this cycle hit me so hard.

And although my therapist continually encourages me to make peace with sitting and waiting and acknowledging that I have no control, I tend to resist it.

My next action item is to do an HSG, which I requested today. I’ve had every single infertility test out there, except this one. Because I’ve gotten pregnant, and an HSG checks for blockages in the fallopian tubes that would prevent a pregnancy from even occurring in the first place, my doctors have brushed it aside and told me I didn’t need it. Which is probably true. But I was also told I didn’t need a saline ultrasound, which is the procedure that led us to discover that I had a large uterine septum and likely the cause of my losses.

After two miscarriages, a D&C, and a hysteroscopy I need some reassurance that every bit of my reproductive track looks pristine. I tend to lie awake at night wondering, has any scar tissue developed from the hysteroscopy I had 5 months ago? Is there some weird thing going on in my tubes, that’s going to now prevent me from getting pregnant again? Has the chaos of the last two years destroyed anything or broken anything in there? I know this last bit makes no sense, but still, I lay, and I worry.

The HSG will answer these questions and hopefully give me some serenity and confidence to continue moving forward. And as an added bonus, I wouldn’t mind the extra fertility boost that the HSG is known to give, as that lovely dye paves the way for a smooth ride for that sperm and that egg.

I know there are horror stories out there about the HSG, and it probably seems a little crazy to beg for this unpleasant procedure. But I am a worrier. I love to fret. I develop irrational fears. Repeat pregnancy loss makes all those tendencies ten times worse. And so if there’s one thing in this process that we left out and didn’t check, it will haunt me day after day.

Peace of mind is a precious thing. I’m willing to let someone shoot dye through my fallopian tubes and uterus just for a little bit of it.

to test or not to test

I’m currently 12 days post IUI and I haven’t cracked yet. I still have yet to sneak into my bathroom and test in advance of my beta on Thursday morning. I keep debating when I should, if I should. I make the decision to do it and then I change my mind, feeling too hesitant and anxious.  And so I’ve come to one conclusion.

I have FOPOAS. 

Fear Of Peeing On A Stick.

That little stick has so much power over me. It can rip my heart out of my chest, sending my tear-streaked face down another dark spiral. Or it can quietly offer the promise of joy. That double line will stare back at me and whisper, you’ve been through so much, but the end of your heartache is near.

I stare at my unopened boxes of pregnancy tests and silently ask, are you going to be kind to me? I try to tap into my psychic powers and visualize which result it will be. But despite my attempts at reading the future and sweet talking those sticks into making a deal with me, I’m too afraid to know the answer.

One thing infertility and pregnancy loss has taught me is how to prepare for disappointment. So much so, that I experience preemptive depression during my two week wait. A subconscious progression from enthused and positive during the days leading up to ovulation, to slowly feeling more and more demoralized during the two weeks that follow. I start to doubt, start being afraid to think too positively, start being afraid of the let down. I become consumed with the idea that it’s another failed cycle, and quickly the sadness kicks in, the frustration, and the early depression. 

It’s in those moments I’m most tempted to test.

Those moments where I start to feel like I am going crazy. My knack for bracing for bad news and the added progesterone hormones create a perfect storm of torment and tears. I rationalize that no matter the news that the test brings, I can’t feel any worse. I’m already feeling this way because I’m so certain it will be negative. But maybe, just maybe it will be positive. That tiny sliver of hope that we all cling to as our life line. Just maybe, I’ll take the test and it will be positive, and I will be relieved of these horrible feelings.

But still, I don’t test.

I worry the most about ambiguous results. Is it the trigger? Is it not the trigger? Is it too early? Maybe it’s not too early?

I worry about dragging out the pain of a negative result longer than I need to. If I test at 10DPO and it’s negative I will cry, even when I can rationalize that maybe it’s too early. And then I’ll spend 4 days feeling terrible and upset, only to get another confirmed negative through the beta, and have to relieve all those feelings over again.

And often, it’s my good moments that keep me from testing. The times where I feel okay and hopeful, and I don’t want the feeling ripped from me just yet. 

I will force myself to test before I get the call from the nurse with my beta results. I will prepare myself for either outcome. And if it’s not the news we want, we will pick up and try again, like we’ve done so many times before.

And in the meantime, I’ve made a list of my consolation prizes if I am not pregnant.

  1. Take a bunch of friends to Disneyland with our new passes and ride every roller coaster over and over again.
  2. Drink lots of wine. I haven’t had wine since my post BFN binge last cycle and every time I get a waft of that lovely liquid I miss it so!
  3. Drown myself in boba, my delicious caffeinated sugary treat that I feel too guilty to touch most of the time.
  4. Take a long, scorching hot bath, preferably while drinking wine and/or Boba.
  5. Repeat #1 – 4 until I am no longer crying!