Are we all mad?

2 09 2010

Extracting the stone of madness by Hieronymous Bosch (15th century)

When Abbi, my first black lab died recently, I was patronisingly accused of having ‘lost it’ because I felt such tremendous grief which I related and compared to the sense of loss felt with unsuccessful IVF attempts. Apparently, according to this uninvited insight, I had grief laid bear which I had never dealt with all those years ago and I was obviously in need of help. I responded tersely  that I was actually in total control of my emotions and that I had chosen my response and was working through the issues. The comment was offensive.

So, my initial advice to those who are suffering from bereavement or a sense of loss is not to listen to any unwanted advice or suggestions from armchair psychologists. You will know if you’re in that dark place and whether you’re coping or not and, if you’re not coping, do get some help from a professional.

I keep coming back to how we deal with negative emotions but I am also certain that positive emotions will also cause problems for some people too. Elation at the news that you’ve harvested  x-eggs, or that y-eggs have been fertilised, or that z-embryos have been put back are stages on that journey to parenthood before the wait that only God determines. In that space, some will try to offer advice that you shouldn’t get too excited ‘just in case’ something happens or it doesn’t work – as if the bleeding obvious had never crossed your mind!

My view is that in an enterprise with no certainties, you need to enjoy the positive outcomes you get along the way, it builds optimism and hope (things you have been without for so long) but, realistically for many, it will sadly be as close as they get to parenthood. But, no-one who has not been through this, certainly not those who have had children naturally, could ever understand the importance of these staging posts.

Your pathway to parenthood is a potential roller-coaster with no certainties at any point along the way – all humans share this vulnerability, but the lucky ones never have reason to consider it. Those of us who have pondered what it takes to create human life appreciate it all the more.

We are not mad for wanting something that others achieve with ease and without contemplation, nor are we mad for expressing our grief, in whatever circumstance loss occurs. Desire your dreams and express enthusiasm, don’t contain your exuberance or optimism and equally, express your grief and loss in ways that are beneficial to your recovery.




2 responses

2 09 2010

Well said

2 09 2010
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