Monday, May 14, 2012

Survivor's Guilt

There is always a downside about being part of a group or a community.  Especially when it surrounds something as difficult as infertility.  Whenever there is good news, there's often an equal amount of bad news.

I've been on the Weddingbee TTC boards since before my wedding.  There were 3 ladies going through IVF at the same time that I was.  The first got a BFP, even a positive beta, but it ended in a chemical pregnancy.  I was the second.  And the third, Aly at Breathe Gently, never got a BFP.

I knew from the beginning that having all 3 of us go through it at the same time (as well as many of you in this community) was great from a support aspect, but very dangerous on the results side.  I knew that not all of us would be successful (just based on odds) and that it would be really difficult to navigate the aftermath.

I know I am nowhere near out of the woods.  But I can say this.  My IVF worked.  The next part relies on the embryos.  But I definitely feel survivor's guilt.  Since, for now, I am a survivor.

I want everyone to continue with me.  I don't want to see them sad.  Especially at such a difficult time like Mother's Day.

I'm also not used to this situation.  I've grown accustomed to being the one who is left behind.  On the same Weddingbee board, there are maybe two people that have been trying longer than I have.  All of the rest have "graduated."  I'm really good at offering advice.  I can be very pragmatic and rational.  But I am much less skilled at offering condolences.  I always feel that whatever I say is going to be taken in the wrong way or is going to make someone feel bad, not better.

But because I have been there, I know that the most important thing is to not leave these women behind.  To continue to offer them whatever support I can.  Because that's what I have wanted.  Many of my "friends" got pregnant while I was trying and only a few kept in touch and continued to see how I was doing.  JHo, two in particular really made an effort and I appreciate it.

I am going to be excited about this pregnancy.  How can I not be?

But I still feel a little sad that I have made it through (so far) when others haven't.

I totally understand if some of you dont' continue to follow every part of my journey, but I promise to follow yours.

Lots of love ladies!


  1. Yes, I understand. It adds a bittersweet feeling to this journey. All we can do is our best to support one and other and ourselves, no matter what happens.

  2. I understand what you mean about offering condolences, I just suck, it would be so much easier to just give them a hug.

  3. I think the simple fact that you are aware of how important it is to continue to offer support for those still in the trenches is amazing. As you stated, many move on and don't look back. I understand that they are transitioning, but it's very hard to be left behind. And sometimes, simply letting people know you're thinking of them is enough.

    Hang in there. This is a scary/exciting time for you, but also one that is bittersweet. But I believe the fact that you will continue to offer support is a sign of how amazing a person you are.

  4. I understand. It's hard being the one that gets the BFP and others are left behind. I feel so bad at the IVF that didn't take, I also feel really bad for my IUI friends who had no luck. I was shocked as anyone to get a BFP on my first IUI. The WB TTC boards were a great support to me as well. I didn't join in until rather late in 18 months long process.

    I try to check in and offer advice and encouragement where I can, but I sometimes wonder, do folks still struggling want to hear from me?

    I pray and wish all my friends the best. Hopefully we will all be graduates eventually.

    1. I definitely think they long as the focus is on them, not yourself.

    2. Yes, I still love to hear from you and get your advice and support. It means a lot to me that you girls (jho,kayakgirl,mrsgg,elley,lotam,chastenet and everyone else) still take the time to come back and offer your encouragment. it helps me not to give up hope. (elchalten)

  5. I am so happy for you this Mother's Day!
    And... though I didn't struggle as long as you did, hearing the success stories is more sweet than bittersweet.

    A woman came into my office the other with a glow about her. I asked her something and she said "Is this your first?" because I was obviously pregnant. She said, "Me, too. My daughter is 1 month and 2 days old. We tried for 8 years, and we were sterile. She is my miracle."

    Can you imagine if she didn't tell her story because she felt bad for her friends who were still struggling? Miracles are so precious--do not hesitate to share them,

  6. There will always be some left behind. Sadly, it's inevitable in this whole ridiculous process.

    The fact that you are even feeling that guilt (though I really wish you weren't) speaks wonders about you. I have always said that I'm super happy for our graduates (sure, a little sad that I'm not joining them too) but I always appreciate the small things. The check-ins, the positive well wishes, the support, the non-condescending/smug advice. Those make a lot of difference.

    So thankyou for thinking of us. We'll be ok some days, and shocking on others. And I wish you all the best on this super exciting journey.

  7. Thank you for writing this. It speaks volumes about who you are. My mom is a breast cancer survivor. She feels guilty about this all of the time, so much so that she won't participate in walks because she has a hard time seeing "in memory of.." I remind her that as a survivor, she gives those fighting the battle hope. For those of us who have struggled to get pregnant, it is comforting to hear stories about pregnancy after IF. You give us hope. Take care of yourself and try not to waste too much energy feeling guilty. You fought for this and you deserve it!

    1. Annie, My mom is a breast cancer survivor too! She found out a couple of years ago that she's BRCA2 positive, so my sister and I got checked and we're both positive too. I think that's hard for her. But for my sister and I, it's easiest that we both have it. Otherwise we would both wish that we were the one that did, so that the other didn't...

  8. Wonderful news about your BFP... congratulations :) Stories like yours are an inspiration to me while I'm still in the trenches... don't feel guilty - be gentle on yourself. Love to you and bub xoxo

  9. Happy About your news! Continue to enjoy it and thanks for understanding others are still on the "other end." But I still want you to enjoy your GREAT news!

  10. We love you, Mrs. GG. None of us would wish for this to have turned out any other way for you! <3