Pre-shrunk. Like denim.

A few weeks ago, what with me being in a permanent rage and H in a permanent funk, we asked our old counsellor if we could come back for another go.

And we had two goes. One just before Easter, and one the week after, and then she sent us off to get on with our lovely lovely lives. Because we don’t need counselling, you see. Our communication has massively improved. We seem able to talk throught things sensibly. We seem perfectly ‘with it’. And she waved us good-bye.

Counselling, massive failure of, because we are so freakin’ advanced.

It’s perfectly true that H and I communicate better these days. It’s perfectly true that my new improved ‘tell the truth and shame the Devil’ stance on ‘those’ questions (from family, from colleagues, hell, from random passers-by in Sainsburys) is actually liberating and shuts people the fuckitty-fuck UP when they’re being inappropriate (not that I’ve had to use it much. Also, totally failed to use it on H’s family at Easter when they were all being serial dill-weeds about the Christmas miscarriage. Um…). It’s perfectly true that I don’t feel nearly so lost and hopeless as I did after losing Pikaia. [N.B. I’m not hopeful that I’ll get a kid out of this. I’m just no longer convinced childlessness = nothing but endless suckitude until I die. This is good, right?].

Yeah, but. But but but. H and I communicate better overall, but we still have spectacular failures of mutual comprehension. Last night, for example, we managed to reduce each other to tears. Actual tears! And it was the most pointless argument in the history of arguments (though I still think H was being a self-rightous, pompous twat-weasel. And H no doubt thinks I was being an unreasonable harpy. Whatever). I still have lovely twitchy anxiety attacks when cheerfully clueless colleagues insist on telling me all about The Joy of Parenting, Now With Added Cute edition, or demand that I lavish coo on their grandchildren’s photos and ask me, wistfully, if my mother minds not being a grandmama (answer, she is a grandmama, thank you, *frosty stare*).

And the fact I didn’t get knocked up last cycle is making me crazy.

I am aware (see? Go me and my awareness!) that this is in part because Jesus Christ, could my periods get any more horrible? (disclaimer: pleasedon’tanswerthatI’msuretheycould). Three days, three days, of puking and being unable to stand up straight and counting the motherfucking minutes until I could take another painkiller and I was taking diclofenac AND cocodamol. I feel like a small nail bomb went off in my pelvis. I sat down on a bench in the park this lunch-time and had a discreet little weep out of sheer self-pity. It hurts, damn it. And if I don’t get (oh, and stay. Staying would help) pregnant next cycle, I shall have to go back there for another few days. And again after that. And again. And again. Only way out? Sterilise myself. Temporarily, permanently, either way I’m 35 in May and I do not have time for this shit.

*Cue full-blown hyperventilating panic attack*

See? I’m not so sure I am so freakin’ advanced. I do not feel I am coping, and I do not necessarily feel H is coping with me.

But perhaps I expected more from counselling than it could give. I was hoping to have the Bad and the Crazy lifted off me. Instead I was given a block-and-tackle (some assembly required) and left to get on with it. It dawns on me that this is all counselling can do, and all it will ever try to do. Allen key. Instruction leaflet. Flat-pack. You’re on your own, kiddo, and that’s the point.

I still feel cheated, though.


11 responses to “Pre-shrunk. Like denim.

  • Melissia

    Oh, I have to say, your therapist let you down girl, you did not fail. She failed you! You both deserve better. She just lacked the guts or the insight or both to realize that she could no longer help you and instead or getting you to someone who could she gave you some bullshit about being all better, go along now.
    That is her shortcoming and not yours. Many therapist reach a point where they realize that they simply do not have the training in a certain field to help a couple with a specific problem, especially as one as complex as infertility and the grief associated with it, and she just gave you the brush off instead of referring you to someone who could really help you.
    You deserve better, I am so sorry that you did not get it from her and hope that she has a supervisor that you can call and schedule an appointment with.
    My experience is that finding a good therapist is a trail and error process and you have to try people on, which is so hard to do when you are feeling so vulnerable and exposed. But if you can keep trying as it is really worth it if you can find a good one. Hugs to you both and kicks in the shins to your insensitive coworkers.

  • a

    It’s great that you and H are communicating, but there’s a little more to counselling than that. After she helps you stop being at each other’s throats (figuratively – I know you have a strong relationship), shouldn’t she be giving you strategies for dealing with the ongoing stress in your lives together?

    Also, it’s like your uterus is possessed by a demon! Once you know what’s actually going on in there, it gets worse? It’s like I’m watching the Exorcist or something! Maybe you could visit a suitable church?

  • manapan

    Finding a good therapist isn’t easy, but I think you might want to try again. Too many of them buy into that Freudian-Jungian-Bullshitian pseudoscience stuff, and they think that when they’ve run into the limits of their pet theories that you’re as “cured” as you can be. I’ve been through several therapists for the same reason (though to be fair I am extra picky because I studied psychology in college and I also have a pet theory).

  • katie

    Ah. Yes. Counselling. Not so much. When you are actually, you know, depressed, you probably need someone with actual clinical training. Someone with experience in working with people who are in awful situations, too. I would be angling for some CBT perhaps? That’s not something you can do as a couple but we’ve both had at least brief sessions individually.

  • twangy

    Oh no, you two with the tears last night, too? We were raising a sad wailing chorus with you over here. Urgh.
    This communication thing, not particularly *easy*, is it? What language is it they speak, exactly? Do they have a Linguaphone in Man?


  • Heather

    I say try another therapist.

    And NO – periods are not supposed to be that bad, it can’t get any worse. Not for just a period. That is ridiculous. Wish there was something more they could do for you.

  • Betty M

    Hmm – I suppose the only positive to be taken from the counsellor is that she didn’t try and fleece you for more cash for more sessions after deeming you to have passed whatever test she had for your communication skills. I think a new therapist is in order – one who knows about infertility issues and how they can seriously fuck with your mind.

    There must be something more to be done for the beyond grim periods – surely?

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Lovey, what goals did you & H set with your counsellor? Just improving communication between the two of you? It strikes me that you may have won a landmark battle but not, sadly, the wider war. Counselling CAN help with the Bad & the Crazy. It can, in context, help quite a lot. It kept me circling the drain, instead of swirling straight down it, for instance.

    But – and, of course, my very dear dear, this is all my personal experience, not a didactic How To – in order to reduce the demons to reasonable size, you must first invoke them.
    Right there, in the room, with your therapist. Somehow, somewhere in the gaps between the ugly-crying, the nose-blurting, and the slow sobs of misery, you gasp out enough of your despair to let them get a insightful handle on How You Work. Some of us think quirkily, Mrs INFJ, and introversion and habitual internalisation is fine providing you’re not in desperately decreasing circles of grief and animal-panic. At which point, you are not pre-shrunk at all, just being frightfully (and very cleverly) (and, of course, self-defeatingly) cognitive, and Something Has Got To Give.

    And you open up so well, here in your personal space, where, of all your nearest familiars, only the pompous twat-weasel whom you so wisely married, reads your inner heart’s writings. (I shall obligingly overlook your wilful denigration of my favourite lemon meringue-devourer this once!) You speak so eloquently, so spikily, so dryly, so BEAUTIFULLY here in this space… yet I’m wondering what proportion of the emotion you lay before us here, you have shared with your counsellor. If we have heard more than she has, then perhaps she needs to hear more? This is assuming, of course, that you are with the right therapist, which, as others have said, you may not be.

    I have a different marriage, obvs, but I could not have dragged up what I shared with my counsellor with John in the room – not that there was anything I was concealing, but he didn’t particularly want to be there, nor did I require his presence. I got the howling, the crying, the series of emotional excavations out of the way without having the nagging feeling that, actually, I was sounding like a Fucking Bonkers Spouse. Or that I was making him late for an urgent appointment with something that wasn’t a wailing bloody woman. Or that he was so absolutely lost in incomprehension of my boundless grief that he was, in fact, bored now, and would quite like a cuppa, please. You may get on better separately than alone, unless your counselling needs co-incide.

    That level of period pain, you poor, poor suffering girl, is Not The Norm, and, as such, requires a different and vocal approach to pain management. The mental trauma is bad enough without, God help us, nail bombs. Can Doc Tashless (whom I’m sure will have far too much experience with lots of unlucky patients with chronic pain) help you experiment (scientifically! scientifically!) with drugs that actually control your pain? He sounds a clever chap, and as likely to come up with a One Specific Drug Size Fits May solution as any of the gynae types you’ve seen.

    Christ, I’ve gone on a bit. Sounded a bit pompousy twat-weaselly, too. Thankfully, I know you like those, really.

  • thalia

    Well HFF has said it all, really. The two things I wanted to say

    1. A shrink of some kind is still a good idea, but they need to know something about infertility. If they don’t they are no good.

    2. Forgive me as I’m sure you’ve tried this, but does it help if you take pain killers in rotation, eg, cocodamol at 12, diclofenac at 2, cocodamol at 5, etc.? Just keeping yourself constantly topped up. And most of these drugs can be taken more often than they say they can, but you want to talk to a medic about that. But what you really don’t want with chronic pain is for the dose of painkiller to run out. Hence makign sure there is always something active in your system.

  • Korechronicles

    I’m so dragging in everyone’s wake that there is little I can add though I would like to ask your permission to use twat-weasel when I am next in casual conversation with Life Partner.

    And May, I so, so hear you on the vision terrible of month after month of Nail Bombs and her Handmaidens of Doom. Exquisite pain and suffering and not all of it physical.


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