I truly feel for you Dawnkey and am sending you a big virtual hug.
Your message really caught my attention as I've been struggling to search out others in my particular scenario and see how they are doing and how they move on from their struggles while being so grateful to be a parent and have their child. You have many similarities to me!
We also are truly blessed with a 3 year old daughter, after years of struggle and cycles. We were overjoyed to have her and I know she is 'enough' - but I have to admit that by the time we finally became pregnant, and weathered a high-risk and sickly pregnancy, part of my soul already felt a bit wrecked by my infertility journey to that point. We make an incredible family of three, but even though I've sought out counselling to help work through my experiences before having her and since, I still don't feel like the same person and wish desperately I could be.
I often feel guilty talking about it, because the pain of not being a mother, and not knowing if I ever would be, is something very unique and since I have been blessed with a child, I know my struggles and pain since cannot match that time when I wasn't. I have vowed never to take for granted my blessings and I remember the walk before my daughter - I could never forget it and to do so is an injustice to my fellow "infertility sisters" if you will.
We have done 3 fresh cycles since our daughter - 1 chemical, 2 BFN. Our last cycle, we had embryos to freeze for the first time. Our FET was our last chance - financially, physically, emotionally. I hadn't really allowed myself to believe it could happen as a self-protective mechanism, but then it worked! And we saw our baby with a heartbeat on an ultrasound, and even when I started to bleed and kept going to the clinic for help and reassurance, they told me to start making plans. To believe it was real. To contact my doctor, book a midwife, and so on. And then we had a miscarriage.
Our families know of our 8 year struggle - though all of them are very fertile, have never had miscarriages, and all our siblings have conceived numerous times while we began trying before any of them. We have tried to be the "bigger people" and celebrate around them while dying inside. Although they watched us commit our lives basically to cycling well away from our home town, and seeing us sell our home and all else, we really didn't feel much empathy. And we have also been hurt knowing that we lost our baby this summer after all this praying, dreaming and sacrificing, and that doesn't seem like a big deal to them either. So we know what it feels like to be alone and come here for support and guidance, since an additional tragedy is being deprived of this in real life by those "closest" to you.
Because we were able to have a child, I think many people think losses are not grieving-worthy or truly, the passing of little lives. But they are. And I also don't write about it much, since I am hyper-sensitive to the grief of those in the trenches, trying to find a way to bring their first baby home or into the world. The struggle for me is one of guilt, and not knowing quite where to turn.
So I wanted to share this, and also say, I feel you and I feel your pain. Some things that have helped me were, 1) after our loss, talking to the fertility counsellor at our clinic. As a couple and independently, it is so helpful. That counsellor has seen and heard of everything, in every way, and is a great resource! 2) Being prepared to say to others that may dismiss our pain or any comments about our past years of struggle, "No, actually, we don't feel that way about things. We feel grief and sorrow for our losses and being infertile has drastically affected all aspects of our life - we work through it every day" - some version or amount of that! 3) Seeking a way to realize that wonderful lives can be lived, despite what we have had to see and fight for and live through, and despite how it differs from our concept of what our families could be, or what others are around us. Because we have the gift of a perfect child, no matter how bruised we were on our way to them, they might just be the biggest miracles we'll ever know, and I need to find a way to rejoice in that as we only have one shot at this life!
Hope this makes sense. Hang in there! Your pain and grief is real, and "being your own best friend" is a wonderful piece of advice!