When people get sick, or have babies, or a death in the family I am one of the first people on their doorstep with a lasagna, an offer to do the laundry or to help in any way I can. Sick kid? I'll make you soup. Out of diapers and you have pneumonia? I'm on my way! Whole family have the double dragon? I've got a trunk full of toilet paper and a case of ginger ale.... I like to help, I'm good at being of service to others... you get the picture.
What I'm not good at is asking for, or accepting help when it's offered. When I'm sick and people want to make food, I have every excuse in the book to keep them from making us a pot of soup. When people want to do nice things for me, I feel so guilty and unworthy of their generosity. But I'm trying, very hard to get over this, and sometimes you're forced to.
As I posted a while back infertility struck this family with a vengeance and conceiving a child is hard and stupidly expensive. Insurance companies will pay for you to get a new liver after you drink yourself to death, but won't put a penny toward helping you achieve parenthood (through medical treatment OR adoption). SO when you end up needing IVF to have a baby (cause you sure as shit ain't getting pregnant with your husbands baby any other way) you have to spend a lot of money. A lot of money that you just don't have lying around the house ifyouknowhatimean. The first time around we refinanced the house. Sure, it was a pain in the arse, but trust me when I tell you it was so very worth it.
This year, we had put the money aside for the one FET that we were stupidly sure would work... and it did. Then it didn't after all. So we scrounged around for the money to do the second one, and again... didn't remotely work. Now, here we are, back and ground zero trying to figure a way to make it happen someone showed up with a pot of soup. Or at least the potential for a pot of really awesome helpful soup. Lesley (whom I 'know' online from a mothering board and facebook and have met in real life only once) took it upon herself to raise money for our fresh IVF cycle this summer. I feel humbled, honored and guilty. I couldn't stop Lesley if I tried, but I'm not going to try. I'm going to sit back and be the one who accepts help. Cause I know I will pay it back 10 fold to the universe in my lifetime. It doesn't feel like that long ago (although it's well over 4 years now) that Lesley and I started an internet campaign to raise money for another friend who was going through IVF. We managed to raise enough for some plane tickets (she did her cycle in a state different from where she was living) but every penny counts.
I've always been 'out' about my infertility. I will tell anyone who walks by me on the street that my child is the product of medical brilliance and pure magic combined. I'm not shy about the facts, but have kept most of the emotional hardship to myself and a small circle of online and real life friends. Posting about it here, and linking to facebook was a huge step, and it was both highly satisfying and horribly anxiety producing at the same time. I have colleagues and patients on facebook who would now know the full extent of my sadness and frustration (well not full as I still keep a private journal that has all the gritty details).
Since I posted it out there for the whole world to know, I have received so many thoughtful comments, and even a card from a patient that brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes the kindness of strangers, and those not so strange can truly open your heart and help heal old and new wounds.