Yesterday, I attended a training for work. The topic was infant mental health, and this particular training focused on trauma. Specifically, trauma experienced by mothers and how that affects their relationships and attachment with their babies. As an introduction, the presenter showed us this film. I’m going to give you the warning the presenter did not give us: if you’ve experienced childhood trauma or physical or sexual abuse at any age, there are images and discussions in this film that may be disturbing or upsetting to you. Here’s the trailer:
Having said all that, it was a very powerful film.
But it was a trigger for me. I never talk about this, and the truth is, day-to-day, it doesn’t impact my life, but when I was eight years old (I’m guessing) I was molested by my friend’s older brother. It was a one-time incident, and I stopped it about 10 seconds after it started, running out of his house and as fast as I could to the safety of my own. I don’t think I ever set foot in my friend’s house again. And I never told my parents what happened.
I’m not saying that what I experienced was anywhere near as horrific as what the women in this film have been through. And I was fortunate to have had the upbringing or the insight or whatever it was that told me that what was happening to me was wrong and that it needed to stop right now. And when I think about it now, I am amazed that at eight years old, I had the strength to stop it myself.
Infertility has kicked my ass more than once. But (maybe because my inner eight-year-old is a badass) I’ve gotten up every single time. I’ve written about my poor kitty having an ingrown claw as a symbol of resilience. She is also an example of strength and healing. And she now has one heart-shaped pad to prove it.
My scars from infertility are not visible, but they are there, thick and hard and sometimes stretched taut. The thing about scar tissue, though, is that it’s tough. When I was in the midst of it, I thought I was wallowing and prolonging my misery after our failed IVF/FET, but looking back, it took a matter of weeks for me to go from feeling broken to being ready to try again. I’m not healed, but I’m healing. And I feel stronger in the face of this next round than I ever have before.
This community is full of examples of women (and men) who’ve been through some shit. And come through the other side different than they were before. Once broken, once burdened with the weight of loss and struggle and failure. Now standing tall and strong, a beacon of hope for those of us still buckling under the immensity of our own pain. Even in the midst of our own wrestling matches with infertility, we are able to summon the strength to help others in need, whether from our own experiences or from our deep wells of compassion.
My friend, Jeanette (of The Fertility Circus and The Luncheonette), could use that kind of support right now. After years of infertility, failed cycles, and a miscarriage, she has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is devastated by this news, not only because of her own health, but because of what this means for future family building. She hasn’t posted recently on either of her blogs, but please stop by or reply to her comment on my last post, and offer her the outpouring of love she needs right now. Let her know she is not alone.
We are all in this together, which is what makes us invincible. Even in the times it doesn’t feel like it. Especially in those times.