Vent Sesh: Babies

November 2, 2011

Welcome to my first official Vent Sesh.While you see a lot of smiles on this blog, is that totally real life? We all deal with issues yet so many of us brave the world with a happy face each day. TAGG is here because I believe we’re all in this together, just wanting to live our own great lives. I’m hoping by sharing here, you can relate, understand and sympathize in a way that improves your life or the way you connect with others. PS: Here’s my little Vent Sesh icon I’m pretty excited about…

I want to start out by thanking you for taking the time to read this.There’s a lot I’ve learned this month, including eating your feelings does not make the situation better, and… only makes you more upset about that extra dimple on your thigh (truth).

What I’m venting about? Babies. Rather, my inability to have another one.

I learned during a doctor appointment in late September that what we had a feeling was the truth: I can’t conceive another baby. While I’ve had this awful hunch since I got sick, diagnosed with a rare disorder called transverse myelitis in 2010, I don’t think I (or we) wanted to admit it. It made it a little easier when every doctor I saw suggested I speak to another.  Then, during a visit to my neurologist after I ran out of my nerve meds, she told me what I didn’t want to hear. How could I be off this one medication for at least three months before trying to conceive, when after one day of not having it (I ran out), the nerves in my feet, legs and stomach felt so awful I couldn’t sleep. How could I carry a baby when I have a somewhat experimental procedure on my literally now-spastic bladder to make it so I don’t pee all over myself?  The answer is I can’t.

Devastating. I sat in the car hysterically crying.

I felt especially guilty — and am continuing to work through this — because  technically my body ‘can’ have another baby, but the intense physical pain and bedridden state are not realistic. That’s hard to deal with. Putting yourself before your possible babe.

I don’t think I let this news sink in for a while. I told a few close friends and family members. Some responses were comforting while others were not what I wanted to hear. “I’m so sorry to hear but think about how lucky you are to have a little girl.” Umm, lucky? I can’t have a baby and I have major health issues. Lucky? My secret bff (my counselor) said it perfectly: people say that because they don’t know what else to say and they don’t want to feel the pain you’re feeling. She compared the ‘luck’ to someone who just got ran over by a car, but only one leg was pinned down so someone tells them how ‘lucky’ they are that it wasn’t both legs.

Think about that. Really take it in. As I sat there listening, I started to realize that I’m sure I’ve been guilty of the same. It’s like you want the people closest in your lives to share this important stuff, but how do you handle receiving it? The most comforting comments are from those who just listened, saying, “Wow, I am so sorry for you. That must be really hard news.”

I’m writing this because I now fully realize the pain, hardship and emotions that come with this type of news, and yes, we do have one baby of our own so we are fortunate. There are millions of women battling IVF and other fertility treatments, dealing with loss, wonder and pain. It’s awful and emotionally draining. Yet, we live our lives and don’t tell most around us.

I am also sharing it because my daughter turns two this month. You know what that means? The onslaught of people asking when we’re having another. It happened to me a few weeks ago at a happy hour fundraiser when two acquaintances asked me, and seemed surprised when I said “I don’t know, err, we’re happy where we are now.”

Their question hit me like a ton of bricks. I ran into the restroom crying, not mentally prepared for that. Not ready with an answer.  At the same time, I couldn’t imagine spilling this type of news in those situations because, man, how awkward for the other person. 

As for another inevitable question: yes, we’ll consider adoption but we’re waiting for now. My counselor suggested giving it six months to heal otherwise it’s just putting a band-aid on and who knows the emotions that could be brought up years from now if we don’t come to grips now. I agree. This gal is smart. That advice really relates to anyone dealing with loss of some sort.

So that’s that for my first Vent Sesh. A lot to take in, I know. I’m not asking for a million comments. Hoping some know that they’re not alone, and others remember that so many of us are dealing with things even when we have a smile on our face.

There’s a lot more to all of our stories.

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  • Kristin

    I’m so sorry. I’ve experienced a loss and I would imagine this feels like that. I hope with time your pain diminishes. And hopefully you and your hubs can lean on each other as you work through this!

  • Shawney

    Hopefully writing and sharing your story will be a bit cathartic. It isn’t easy to put your story out there. I’m proud of you. And remember there are people out there that “get it”.

    • Alyson

      Thanks so much, Shawney. Ultimately that’s my hope. That others can find comfort knowing that they’re not the only one.

  • Penny Pincher Fashion

    After having one of my ovaries removed (when my daughter was 2) and the other one wasn’t functioning properly, I was told we probably wouldn’t be able to have any more babies. Then, by surprise 2 years later, I found myself pregnant with my son. I know the pain of thinking that you can’t conceive due to health constraints and I pray that you & your husband can find help each other heal through this tough time or find another solution (like adoption)! In the meantime, hopefully people will MIND their own business & stop asking those rude questions!!

    • Yanira

      This brings hope for the rest of us. Thank you.


    • Alyson

      Thanks so much, Kimberly! People can be so rude (and I’ve probably been guilty of it! ). We sometimes just don’t realize the impact of our seemingly casual questions. I’m so happy that you were able to have another baby… certainly a wonderful miracles!

  • Joan G

    You just go, girl !!

  • My Dressy Ways

    Awww, hugs sweet girl. I love you so and I’m so sorry about this devastating news. I’m heartbroken for you.

  • Allie

    Oh hon, I am so sorry to read this. Much love and strength to you. I am so proud of you for sharing this - I know it was hard, but by doing so you are helping other women whether you know it or not. <3

  • Nikki

    I am so sorry for your pain. My husband and I dealt with infertility and the endless question, “when are you two going to have a baby?”. It was gut wrenching. I encourage you to cling to your husband and pour yourself into your sweet girl. God has good plans even when we just cannot see forest for the trees. Blessings!

  • Jenny S

    Wow Alyson, that was heavy stuff. I give you major kudos for finding the strength to share your personal and very private life with your followers. We wish you and the fam all the love and prayers to get through this time. You are an amazing and inspiring woman! Xo

  • Nina

    I find that in most cases of pain, this is what people SHOULD say, but so rarely what they actually say. You hit the nail on the head. Thinking about you!

    “The most comforting comments are from those who just listened, saying, “Wow, I am so sorry for you. That must be really hard news.”

    • Alyson

      Thanks so much, Nina. Appreciate you taking the time to read my story.

  • Yanira

    This brought tears to my eyes. I felt so alone in thinking this but after so many misscarriages without a medical reason as to why (5 before our daughter and 2 after) I gave up hope for another. Now that Analiese is two, I wish people would stop asking when baby #2 is coming because it hurts to say I don’t know. I believe in miracles and hold on to hope because it is all I have. I’ll share some of mine with you. Feel free to vent, it helps release that lump in our throats and that heaviness in our hearts, there is a whole of us here to help hold us together.


    • Alyson

      Yanira: wow, I can’t imagine some of the pain you’ve felt during these moments. Just know that there are countless women who have felt, and are dealing with the same. This was my intention…. to tell other women that we are not alone even during the hardest parts of our lives (though it can often feel this way). There is no good answer to that question except to say, mind your own damn biz!! :)

  • Jennifer B

    So sorry to hear! Everyone needs their own time to work through problems or what is upsetting them. To be told you are lucky is the last thing anyone wants to hear- it makes for awkwardness and I always feel like I have to explain that I DO feel lucky in other ways, but right now I just want to grieve. I also feel guilty for complaining when I am fortunate in other ways too. I get where you are coming from, even if our issues aren’t remotely the same. Sometimes, people just have to wallow for however long they feel like and that is 100% OKAY.

    • Alyson

      should never feel guilty when complaining. I have those days and my counselor says that regardless of what you’re complaining/grieving about, it’s important to take that moment and try not to compare it with how things could be better, etc. Because who cares? you’re hurting at that moment. That’s been really helpful to me with my health because I feel crazy fortunate that heck, I’m not paralyzed anymore, but yet, I have major issues that suck. It’s OK to feel down about things sometimes. Totally 100 percent OKAY, as you say!

  • Tracie Krieger

    Love you!! Really think you are incredible and so honored to know you. I’m so sorry for all of this….

  • Patti

    I am so sorry for you. I think it is true that we all keep smiling through the pain. I was lucky in that I have a beautiful daughter and a handsome son. Both adults now, and both such beautiful people inside and out. And I am sure people looking at us think we are the luckiest people. But my children both have some painful things to deal with that I won’t go into here. It is so painful for a parent to see your children struggle. Each day I secretly cry and pray that things improve for them soon. What else can we do. So I hope you are able to work through this and know that people do care. Sometimes people just don’t know how to show it.

    • Alyson

      Patti: thank you for sharing your story from your motherly perspective. Now that I have a daughter I can’t imagine the pain a mom must feel for anything that isn’t perfect in their childrens lives. You just want what’s best for them, to live happy lives in whatever way that means to them. All you can do is what you are doing and be a comforting ear for them to talk to when they are ready. You sound like an amazing mom.

      • Patti

        Alyson thank you for your sweet response. Your reply brought tears to my eyes because you completely understood where I was coming from. You are right, all we want for our children is for them to be happy. Unfortunately, life can be tough. And it is hard to understand why good people have to suffer sometimes. You also sound like an amazing mom and an amazing person. I hope your journey brings you to a place that makes you happy as well. Your daughter is a very lucky little girl!

        • Alyson

          Thank you so much, Patti! It’s true… it’s hard to understand why bad things happen to good people. There’s a book with that name that someone recomended could be a good read; I’m going for it. Will let you know if it provides any consolation. Wishing you the best.

  • Brooke

    Alyson, I am so sorry to hear this. There is hardly anything more painful for a woman to learn… My mother, an only child tried so hard to give me a sibling, three miscarriage broke her heart in two. At a young age I understood how badly she had wanted another child, and I learned to appreciate the intense love she and my dad felt for me… I still am so amazingly close to my parents, our threesome was a blessing. It is painful, but you are a beautiful person through and through, God has a plan in all of this I am certain. I hope you and your husband can get through this painful time to the silver lining that can at times be better than we ever imagine it to be. Much love, xoxo

    • Alyson

      Brooke: so true! There are hopefully bigger reasons for all of these things in live and having a little family threesome would be pretty great to us, too. I can imagine the pain your mom felt in wanting to give you a sibling. Sounds like they challenged all their energy in such a powerful way to you though, which is important to keep in mind. Always need to make the one you have here feel as special as possible throughout every stage.

  • Rachel

    It’s really hard to put something so personally devastating out for the world to read like that. That takes so much strength and is really inspiring. I’m really sorry that you want to have another baby but that it’s just not feasible. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when I was 22. I agree that it always felt best when someone just said, “I’m so sorry” instead of, “Oh my god. What in the hell did you do to deserve that?” True story. I know you weren’t looking for a lot of comments but I had to add, I’m so glad you wrote this. It’s helped remind me not to buy into the smiles that everyone may be walking around with as if their life is effortless and that everything is always a bowl of cherries for them.

    • Alyson

      Someone said that??? My word! Sometimes people just have no freaking clue. But, yes, the ultimate point for anyone who has faced hardship is totally not to buy into all those smiles. I wish for everyone’s sake that ALL of our smiles were a total reflection of only happiness in our lives but almost everyone has something they’re dealing with. Helps put things in perspective for me. How are you feeling now?

  • Erika

    First, so sorry to hear the news. I hope you can both work through this initial shock and pain, and come out on the other side stronger, closer as a family.

    Second, I may be going on a tangent here, but this part of your sesh really resonated with me, I really feel that asking people about their reproductive plans is as impolite as asking someone when they are due, if you don’t know if they are pregnant. You do not know someone’s situation, and really, it’s none of anyone’s business. It’s just not. I don’t care how close you are. If somoene isn’t volunteering it, shouldn’t be ok to ask. Essentially, you’re asking me about my sex life, which really, if I wanted to share, I would. But most importantly, YOU DON”T KNOW A PERSON’S SITUATION!!!Gah! It drives me bananas.

    I’ve had it happen to me and seen it happen to others on many occassions. I don’t feel bad for the person who feels awkward after asking because quite frankly if you are not prepared to hear the answer, you shouldn’t ask. But more importantly, no one should have to explain their reasoning for having or not having children. It’s a personal decision and for many, a very difficult one.

    Also, I totally cringe when I hear people respond to grief by trying to point out silver linings. It’s not what someone needs right then. A simple, “I’m sorry” is sufficient. Example, a close relative responded to a death in the family with: “Sorry for your loss, but at least you know they are in a better place.” Just hearing it was uncomfortable and I wasnt’ the one suffering the intense loss. I think sometimes we feel like we have to offer up a solution, when really we are only being asked to listen.

    Lots of love to you and your family.

    • Alyson

      Erika: EXACTLY!!! It’s crazy because I’m sure I’ve asked that question, and I guess it’s partly becuase for someone who has a baby you wouldn’t think they couldn’t have another. Regardless, it’s totally rude question as is prematurely pointing out silver linings. It really just is a way for people not to feel the pain you’re feeling, and because they dont’ know what else to say. You made some really good points! Thanks for taking the time to do so.

  • grace - stripes & sequins

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Alyson… absolutely heartbreaking! Sending you a big hug… I can’t even imagine how hard this must be.

    • Alyson

      Thanks, Grace. :) Appreciate the hug!

  • Fashion By Alicia

    Alyson thank you so much for sharing. I do not know exactly what you are going through by I am sure it is difficult. After I was diagnosed with AV Malformation and AAT Deficiency last year, I am not sure I want to conceive because my disorders can be passed on to children. When I explain this to people, they seem to not understand or go with the approach that I am lucky that I am healthy now. I just want to thank you again for sharing because I am sure it was difficult to do, but I hope sharing will give you some comfort. If you ever need to talk, I am always around.

    • Alyson

      Thank you, Alicia. That is a challenging situation to be in, and I can imagine scary. Appreciate you offering an ear (whether virtually or by phone). Please know I’m here as well. xo

  • Pencil Skirts and Lattes

    { }

    that was a hug. that’s all.

  • Jamie

    I am so sorry Alyson. I definitely can feel your pain as I read your post today. I too have had to deal with a “loss” if you will. My disability, although like you I am physically able to carry a child, my doctors have highly suggested against it. Saying how high risk I am and that since I do not have a true diagnosis for my disability, I could pass on what I have (if anything) to my child. After much discussion and tears, my husband and I made the choice to not have biological children, and last yr I had surgery to ensure that. It was the right decision for us, but one that still pains me today as I would LOVE to be able to have a child with my husband. We are open to adoption like you, but having the option of having your own child taken away is devistating. If you ever need a shoulder to cry on, I’ve got one for you!


    • Alyson

      Jamie: that must have been a really hard decision to make. I can definitely relate to how challenging that decision must have been. I wasn’t totally open to the thought of adoption in the past for myself (well rather, never really thought about it because I technically didn’t ‘need to,’) but the more I speak to people the more I think of it as a possible blessing to be able to give a child a life he/she might never had otherwise. I’m not sure I’m totally ready to embrace going into the actual process, as I’m not sure where you are in your stage of acceptance, but I’m also here if you need an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry! {{hugs!}}

  • Jordan

    alyson - the beautiful thing about blogging is how it brings us - all average girls - together to support each other when we all need it. reading your blog with its fun and helpful tips and tricks makes me feel like we’re all in this together - and now, when you need it, its our turn to be there for you. i am sure that every single one of your followers and fans would give you a hug right now if they could. you are brave and courageous for sharing your story!

    • Alyson

      Thank you so much for saying that, Jordan. Appreciate you taking the time to read and the reminder. It definitely works both ways… I wrote it more to help others however it has definitely been equally as cathartic to have all of this support and hugs come my way. xo

  • snackyjackie

    ^^^^ Jordan hit the nail on the head. Alyson I am so sorry to hear. I feel like I am repeating everyone’s comments but you are so brave to share this with us and ‘we’ are here for you when you need us. I can’t imagine what you are going through. I’m just sorry. *HUG*

  • Tracy

    It takes a lot of courage to write what you did. You are such a strong person. I am really searching for the right words to say but I think its better to sit down and talk in person - will write you separate email - see you tmr!

  • Edy

    Thank you for sharing that! You are such a brave and strong woman and that takes a lot of courage to talk about. You are quite the rolemodel and I am so sorry for all the physical and emotional pain you are dealing with. You are in my thoughts!

  • Jenny


    People often say the most moronic things at times like this. But usually they are trying to be nice and just have no concept of what youre feeling or what to say.

  • leanna

    Oh Alyson, I am so so sorry. I would love to catch up sometime soon and give you a hug in person. Until then, I’m sending you virtual hugs.
    Love you!

  • Jen

    Oh Alyson, you brought me to tears. I am so sorry for you, I can’t even imagine …

  • Kas

    I am sorry that you’re going through this. I don’t know you but I want to say thank you for being so brave and courageous to share this on your blog. You’re in my thoughts.

  • Lori

    I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 19 and immediately began injection therapy. When we decided to have a baby my neurologist said I could not stay on the therapy. Here we are a year and three months later and my symptoms are definately worse than when I was on the therapy and we still don’t have a baby on the way do to fertility problems caused by PCOS.

    Most of the time I am hopeful, especially now that I finally was referred to a specialist, but I have days where I panic and think I can’t keep living like this. But my fight isn’t over yet and I know some day I will be a mother, but for me it is just going to take awhile. We have been married almost three years now and we are in the same boat, always being asked when we are going to have a baby, and I hate when people ask. Mostly because of the challenges we are having but also, even though it is asked with good intentions I feel like it is sort of a rude question regardless. When a couple decides to have a child is their own business and there isn’t a schedule. When and if a couple wants a family is between that couple and asking that question can be very awkward and difficult for those who have to answer it.

    • Alyson

      Lori: I can imagine how challenging this time and you’re right, having people ask these questions all the time is rude. Just know that there are people in your life who are there for you — me included! — who get it, and if they don’t, are still willing to listen. You sound incredibly strong!

      • Lori

        Thanks Alyson. You’re kind words mean a lot. Since I wrote that we have had a bit of bad news come our way. We finally found out WHY we are having problems and were told we have a 10% chance of having a child and that number is going to shrink. I’m still processing the news. One moment I am insanely optimistic that we have a chance (albeit a small one) and feeling confident that I will get pregnant and a second later I feel like my world is crashing in around me and are situation is hopeless. It is difficult to deal with these mood swings but its all part of the path to acceptance. I know in my heart that everything will work out even if it doesn’t happen the way we planned.

  • Lindsay (your favorite sister in law)

    I love you so very much!

  • Kimberlee

    Aw thanks for sharing this. I’m sure it will help with other women struggling to conceive. *internet hugs*

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