Category Archives: infertility

Denying my problem with alcohol

My therapist and I agree that I should quit drinking alcohol and I sincerely have a desire to do so. I know that my indulgence in a few glasses of wine at night keeps me from my goal of being “perfect.”

My choice to mix alcohol with a Klonopin was a big fucking mistake that I feel guilty and remorseful about. Falling down and getting bruised is embarrassing. I hate walking around in the aftermath of my self-loathing from being so stupid. As you can see, I haven’t been able to give myself a break and let it go, even though by now, the bruise has faded away. I am my toughest critic and it comes with the territory of being a survivor of sexual abuse. In childhood I developed a poor self-concept with low self-esteem. It’s my dirty little secret that I’m really no-good and not worthy. But, you wouldn’t know upon meeting me because I keep it to myself.

I like to live in such a way that if a spotlight was shown on me and you could see just my behavior and actions, you would get the impression I’m a person living just right. Happiness has nothing to do with it. I want to simply have a drearily boring life where no one could say I did anything wrong. That’s right; I must feel as though I do everything properly and conscientiously.

This is not a joke – I am being sincere right now.

I drive along in my minivan, with the kids buckled in and I feel secure knowing my license, registration, inspection and insurance are all up-to-date. My brake lights and blinkers are working properly. I have a fear of getting pulled over for breaking the law.

The above example is only one of many.

I’m secure knowing that if something in our house breaks, we have the means to fix it by calling the proper technician. There aren’t any nor have there ever been any big disasters just waiting around the corner because whenever an issue comes up with our house, it gets fixed.

The sense of calm knowing I’m a law-abiding citizen and my family is living uneventfully gives me a feeling of security that is indescribable.

Hold on! Am I living in a state of denial?

There’s a whole shit-load of crap that can occur without warning or reason.

These are the events you can’t plan for and no matter what I do, they will be tragic and traumatic. My brother molesting me at the age of 9. My father dying unexpectedly when I was 20 years old. My mother neglecting my emotional needs. The time our puppy got hit by a car and died. My kid in the hospital overnight. 7 long years of infertility. My husband, so focused on his work and hobbies, that I’m hardly noticed except to complain about something not done right.

These are the unknowns that I need respite from. Alcohol dulls the ache that I feel with the realization I can’t control/prepare/plan for everything.

Because, damn-it-all, I try. But, as the saying goes . I admittedly, do not get right up, wipe the shit off and keep going. I’m the person who wallows in their own painfully shitty situation for days before they can move on.

That’s why I try hard to not let shit happen. That’s why I drink.

The history of my drinking:

My parents had a cocktail every evening when my dad got home from work. My siblings and I learned from them and even now, at family gatherings, we continue the tradition of mingling with pre-dinner drinks and socializing. Cocktail hours are carefree, relaxing and quite therapeutic. This type of social time is not uncommon in many families. There are no memories of my parents drunk and as far back in generations as I can go no one has died of cirrhosis or other alcoholic related ailments. Alcoholism does not run in my family and is one reason I’m reluctant to take on that label.

I don’t drink due to a physical need; it’s an emotional need — wine settles my thoughts and relaxes my emotions. I use it to release the day’s anxieties.

I hear many of you calling out DENIAL.

No, I freely admit I drink more than I would like to. One reason is that after I drink too much, I’m not as motivated the next day. This means, it’s harder to keep up the image of a perfect life. And that brings us full circle, if I feel less than perfect I have no means to cope beyond waiting out the storm of emotions. As I wait for the shit to settle, a few glasses of wine help lessen the stress.

I don’t drink during the day. I never wake up and have a drink first thing in the morning.  I don’t drive drunk. I consciously plan my drinking for when I’m home in the evening. I didn’t drink at all through 2 pregnancies and breastfeeding. If my husband and I go out, he is the designated driver because he is bigger and doesn’t drink as much. I drink enough water daily to wash my system clear in the hopes of not harming any organs from alcohol. I have never blacked out. I don’t pass out in a chair when I drink – the night ends when I kiss everyone goodnight, go to bed, read my book, turn out the light and fall to sleep worry-free. I don’t yell at my husband and children when I drink. Quite the opposite, I relax and let-up on my need for them to live up to my unrealistic expectations.

Last night, I took a bottle of wine, a wine glass and a full cup of ice out to our pool. My kids were with friends and my husband was taking a nap after a hard day of work. I put on my bikini, which I only wear when I feel safe and no visitors are coming by, and I enjoyed the tranquility of my backyard paradise. Our pool is private and secluded, surrounded by hedges and my country garden, full of perennials and low-growing flowering shrubs. Last night, as I sipped my wine, keeping it cold and the glass full, I had the radio playing and I went for a dip in our warm pool. My dog was chasing rodents in my flower beds so I decided to put an end to that by giving her a bath. I got the dog shampoo and scrubbed her down. She enjoys the massage but not the rinsing with the hose. Once that was done and I released her she madly shook off the water and darted away as fast as she could. My children would be returning home soon, so I fired up the grill and cooked marinated steak tips out by my pool. Between the wine, my gardens, the background music, food for my family and a clean dog my life could not have felt more idyllic. Is that so wrong?

My point is to show the sense of calmness and serenity that befalls me when I combine my good life with alcohol. If I live my good life without the wine, I’ve got way too much pressure on myself to keep up with everything.

Life takes time to unfold and it is the same with making changes in our lives. I’m afraid to talk about the negative aspects of my drinking (high blood pressure, knowing I use it to cope) because than I will feel stupid that I’m doing something that I know is wrong and harmful. I don’t like to feel weak so it’s not easy. I am trying but I must give myself the room needed in order to be ready to change.

A letter to my unborn son…

I read a blog post written by Dr. Nicholas Jenner.  I was touched by the loving words of this father, written to his unborn child.  It reminded me of a letter I wrote to my own unborn child, 15 years ago.

First some background…

I suffered infertility for 7 long years until my husband and I achieved pregnancy.   This was, by far, the most difficult time in my life because we had to seek medical treatment.  That doesn’t sound difficult unless you are a survivor of sexual abuse and the conversations with people you don’t know involve vaginal mucus, basal temperatures, ovulation, intercourse, semen, etc.  You get the idea.  It was very difficult to separate from my confused self-image around my sexuality and try to be pragmatic about the whole ordeal.  (I thank my parents for giving me the intellectual skill to fake my way through anything.)

What I hid pretty well was I was a nervous wreck every time I saw a doctor or nurse regarding this very personal issue.  Infertility patients become human pin cushions with all the blood draws nurses must do to monitor hormone levels.  I also had to put up with frequent speculum insertions and even more invasive surgical procedures, such as laparoscopy, hysteroscopy and ultimately IVF that required hyper-stimulation of the ovaries, egg retrieval (under sedation) and ultimately the final piece – a procedure called embryo transfer.  None of this was easy for me.  I cried, isolated myself and believed I was being punished for my promiscuity when I was a younger woman.

More background…

I grew up within a family that attended church regularly.  I went along (of course) but never felt strongly one way or the other about what religion means to me, except receiving Christmas presents and candy from The Easter Bunny.

Once infertility struck my life, I was angry at God and believed he must be unjust.  Six ears into the struggle, I visited my 90-year-old grandmother on a vacation to Florida (USA).  She took me, on a Wednesday, to her church, to a small side chapel within a massive sanctuary, for a “healing service.”  I don’t recall what others were praying for, but we were each given an opportunity to pray for the healing of someone else or for ourselves.  I had no words for my pain so I sat silently.  Then, Grandmother prayed aloud for me to conceive a child and I wept like a baby.  I had no idea Grandmother wanted me to go for my own healing.  The flood gates opened and I cried through the entire service.  I felt embarrassed I didn’t have  a tissue to wipe my eyes as frequently as a tear fell.   Grandmother handed me a few tissues but, I think she held back on my ability to wipe away my distress (on purpose), allowing me to fully express my pain.  I never have cried so hard in front of other people, then or now.

The minister approached me and Grandmother after the service.  He was personable and friendly and talked as if people cry their hearts out to him in that little sanctuary every day.  He casually told me he and his wife are infertile but every couple he has prayed for has become pregnant.  I left feeling lighter than air for having released so much angst but I didn’t believe I would become pregnant.

Well, I didn’t get pregnant for another year but my attitude about fertility treatments did an about-face.  Rather than be angry at God, I put my faith in believing He would give me the strength to endure the procedures for a while longer.  I let go of the anxiety and self-hate and put my faith in God.

Truth be told — I’ve fallen out of religion again and if anything, I’ve become more focused on living a life of compassion, for myself and others.  But, I don’t negate that Grandmother and God got me through a tough time in my life.

You may open the link to read the letter I wrote to my son, who is now 14 years old.  Please excuse the messy, child-like writing.  It is not my neatest!

letter to my unborn son