Permission is a tricky thing. We frequently readily provide it to others but deny it to ourselves. That’s often because allowing ourselves freely to engage in activities such as sitting with our emotions can seem self-indulgent. But, in reality, it can be self-affirming.
Reader Writes About Permission Denied
It’s always gratifying to hear from new readers, particularly those who have taken the time to delve into my story. As you many of you know (and you’ll see, below), the painful realities that accompany infertility and failed IVF leave a lasting wake and surface many questions. Now, fellow bloggers and blog readers, a request for thoughts from Sharon:
I am a newcomer to this blog, and am so grateful to have found it after reading Silent Sorority. I am a member of the failed IVF club (unexplained infertility) and 23 years after that final attempt at becoming pregnant I still struggle with feelings of grief and anger and feeling like a failure as a woman, which I have mostly kept to myself; reading Silent Sorority released a tidal wave of emotions that I had bottled up.
I realize now that I never gave myself permission to get really ‘pissed off’ and appropriately deal with that ‘shitty aftermath’ that Jennifer A described; very few family and friends knew about my infertility, and some of those well meaning people would say things like ‘you and your husband have a great life, you have so much to be grateful for’. So how dare I complain? Ah yes, a great career as a Registered nurse, but working in a female dominated profession the baby oriented conversations were always happening. Another thing I learned is that even those I shared some of my deepest sad thoughts and feelings with would disappoint me with insensitive actions, comments, pregnancy announcements. I often wonder if I am the only woman who has been stuck in this silent sadness stage? I will be turning 60 years young this April and would really appreciate some feedback from the ladies of this blog.”
Lessons Learned: What Are Yours?
You’ve come to the right place, Sharon. You’re among many who have asked that same question, sometimes in different ways. But permission to feel “pissed off” or sadness or just plain numb — as well as validation of these emotions — is a common theme in our community. Over the years, other readers have reached out or shared. Here are a few posts that address your question (do read the comments). They will definitely help.
Guest Post: Never Being Called Mommy – March 2010
Kindness Comes in Many Forms – December 2012
Grief is a Form of Love – April 2013
Prince Harry and I Agree: Bury Grief at Your Peril – August 2017
Childless Not By Choice – A Conversation with Civilla Morgan – February 2019
Meanwhile, I ask others who have wisdom to share to weigh in. Your comments and feedback are most welcome.
4 thoughts on “Permission to Feel Emotions Deeply”
This is it in a nutshell, isn’t it? Those who dismiss our grief, our loss, our emotions, because it makes THEM feel uncomfortable, are also telling us that our emotions aren’t important enough, or valid or legitimate enough, to be heard. That’s the wonderful thing about the blogging world – we learn how wrong this is, and we are heard, truly heard, by each other for maybe the first time. Sharon, you are not alone. And you’re allowed to be sad, angry, bitter, or however you feel about this. You’re allowed to be grateful and regretful at the same time. And there’s a whole world full of us out there who can prove this to you.
Mali (from No Kidding in NZ)
Sharon, I am so glad you found Pamela & our community. :) It will be 22 years this summer that I had my last unsuccessful IUI, and while I was lucky enough to find some online support shortly after that, and while I have had a very good life in the years since then, there are still plenty of times when I get sad, frustrated, and/or (yes!) completely pissed off at the clueless, fortunate fertile. You have every right to feel as you do — but I hope that, now that you’ve found us, you’ll find some comfort hanging out with us here. All the best to you! — Loribeth, The Road Less Travelled
Sharon, Your anger is real and so is your pain. I validate all of the different things you must be feeling. I believe it’s important to feel those feelings by talking or writing about them or expressing them in some other healthy way.
It’s a lifelong loss. There are so many losses that come with not being able to have kids when you wanted them, and there is so little recognition for those losses.
I am sorry you didn’t have the support you needed and deserved. You have it now.
Pamela is spot on as usual about this. We often don’t think about permission until it is denied, yet permission to feel all the feelings associated with loss is essential for healing and moving through the grief process.
Sharon, I’m so sorry you came to the end of your fertility journey without the children you wanted so deeply. That pain is life altering and anyone who minimized that isn’t thinking about you, but thinking about their discomfort. Be pissed, be sad, be all the negative. It doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate the life you have and all that you love by going through those emotions. Abiding with you as you embrace giving yourself permission.