I am the face…


The challenge was extended so simply I barely even thought about it: “Send me a photo of you holding a sign – I’m making a photo-collage.”

Everything in me immediately screamed “NOOOO!”

My face.

That sign.

That would make it real, or at least, real-er somehow.

It would officialise it, seal it, carve it in stone.

And I’m all for a good cause – all for education and generating communication and breaking down barriers and kicking the shit out of nasty taboos – but all that with *my* face on it?

No Way!

Because here’s the rub, friends – I’m not sure I really qualify, and I’ve come up with some glorious reasons why I simply *can’t* be included in this here sensible venture:

1. It’s not *my* diagnosis. It’s Husby’s. I’m a secondary casualty at best in this.

2. Husby’s getting treatment which might reverse the situation, in which case joining this campaign and allowing my face to be plastered all over it would be a big fat LIE, and that’s just rude.

3. I don’t really want it to be true.

And I’m back in that gaping pit with those two, tiny, ironic graves and the sadness pressing down on me. That place where tears come so easily. That place where I look at the world through such differently, darkly tinted spectacles. That place where people like me easily become embittered and angry and begin to lash out.

That place.

And I’d been fine for a few weeks, really I had. I’d prayed and I’d chosen not to let it get to me – chosen to live my life actively seeking the Good Things, enjoying the fun bits and treating the bad bits lightly. I had my mojo back and a spring in my step and it let me weather many storms.

And then yesterday the Royal Prince was born and the internet came alive with status updates, tweets, news reports all about his tiny highness, and I cracked.

I fell from peace and grace and lightness straight back into *that* pit. I posted a snarky comment about the little bugger and felt much better. So I posted another one.

Then I had a drink. And I felt much better.

So I had another one.

And singles became doubles and drink followed drink followed drink.

But I didn’t care about that damn baby, that’s forsure.

I didn’t care that mine should have been 20 days older than His New Prince-ness. I didn’t care that people were posting how happy they were for Kate when they should have been posting how happy they were for me!

I fell asleep hugging the toilet in between bouts of retching, evacuating the poison from my system with the toxins in my heart.

I woke up at 3am when Husby pulled me to my feet from the floor and gently took me into the bedroom and readied me for bed. I looked at him and slurred softly “Sorry. The new royal baby made me upset.” He understood.

This morning was a fragile, painful time. I was still woozy, still weepy and both compounded with a lack of sleep to leave me a hot mess.

But I knew one thing I could do to help.

One thing I could do to educate.

One thing I could do to break barriers and fight taboos.

One thing I could do to start conversations and engender compassion for my people.

I could tell the truth.

So I wrote that sign and took this photo.

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66 thoughts on “I am the face…

  1. Thank you Pam. It was certainly a really tough post to put out (worse to live, of course) but I'm back on an upward fluctuation again (thank goodness) and at the moment, able to find the Good in life 🙂

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  2. Thank you Mary. And do join in – Yeah Write is such fun to participate in (unless, like me, you use it for something *hyper* personal, and then it can be a bit more of a challenge). Thanks for the prayers.

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  3. Lizzy, I now know your name. I have called you Considering for so long. I like Lizzy. Your picture was beautiful and your story poignant. You are on my prayer list now every single day. And I am going to join the Yeah Write challenge! Thanks for letting us know about it.

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  4. *hi-fives back* Thanks Dana 🙂 That's such a lovely comment.

    It does make it real. But the dialogue and conversation is GOOD, and that's what I'm aiming for now 🙂

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  5. A well deserved place on the leaderboard, my friend. We need to see the face. Writing about it makes it more real, but writing about it also invites dialogue, empathy and perhaps a bit of healing (as is evident by the comments here ). I rarely shed actual tears when I read a blog, but I did today. I send you a virtual hug, and also a high five because you totally rock.

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  6. Thanks Pam. I was surprised by how profound it was to look at that image when I first got it onto the computer.

    I think at the moment, a lot of that strength is found in the determination to (if at all possible) provide some recognition and solidarity to anyone new to the club. It's such a staggeringly frightening place to be when you first get the diagnosis, and each day you feel a little more of you crumble under the weight of it.

    I've been blessed with a wonderful support network both online and in real life (many arising through bloggyships) and I dread to think how I'd be if I hadn't been able to reach out to those people for information and reassurance.

    But it never stops being terrible. At least, not yet it doesn't. And writing it helps me to keep it under control – helps me to examine it and try to keep it in perspective. Sometimes that works, other times it doesn't, but it's all steps along the way to who I'll be soon, and I'd like to look back and see that some Good had come of this.

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  7. Lizzi, I'm so sorry for your loss. The pain of that loss is still so fresh, so raw. I can't even imagine what you've gone through.

    Your post is so well written and so full of passion and truth. I'm honored to read it and amazed you had the strength to share. Your final photo is powerful.

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  8. Thank you Donetta – this is your first on this post, and it's no imposition.

    Thank you for the shares. Above all I want to get this message of mine 'out there' and beginning to reach people.

    It's surprising how quickly an idea can get away with itself and develop, but it sounds like a really worthwhile list of blogs you're sharing.

    Thank you for your encouraging words 🙂

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  9. I can't remember if I left a comment or not. If I didn't I meant to. If I already did, forgive me for imposing twice. This is a brave and touching post. I shared it on my blog at WordPress. Not the actual post, but a link. I started out on the Yeah Write 31dbbb about giving a shout out to readers. It took me around many turns and so my post ended up being completely about people who have commented on my blog and I absolutely find joy in reading their post. I can't imagine what you must deal with but I do think you are a very strong person. So shout out again……..

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  10. Thank you Erica.

    I've been trying for a while now to get this issue out there a little (without becoming too soap-boxy, or (as you identify) bitter and angry). Having children is definitely a thing worth celebrating because it's a Good Thing, which I think makes it hurt more when it's not going to happen for you.

    I guess this is exactly the same for you – all those hopes and dreams and the confusion of an imagined future which changed so radically one day. It's such a tough place to be.

    I wish you all the best in your future, too, and hope that one day both of us will be in a place where the alcohol plays a role in 'fun' alone.

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  11. This was so well written. Thanks for sharing it with your yeah write community. I have read so many infertility posts written from the perspective of “stop being so happy with your new children, please” as though the parents celebrating should take into account the world's suffering before posting pics on Facebook.

    Having said all that, I'm guilty of the same type accusation, just not publicly expressed. Around high school graduation time and kids getting ready for college, my Facebook friends send me into a depression. My special needs kid isn't going anywhere anytime soon and she definitely isn't driving herself across the country to her dream college. I am so cranky about other people's happiness, and I end up medicating the sadness. Thank you for voicing those feelings for me with this post. I wish you well wherever life takes you and your husband.

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