Lately I've been reacting to several things in ways that I couldn't do when I was still in the depths of TTC after infertility. Two friends who are at least 40 y.o. have just told me they are pregnant again (one was a surprise pregnancy) and I could congratulate them in a neutral state of mind/heart. Another friend joked on FB, "Go make five (children)!" when I commented how cute someone's baby was. Years ago, I made a similar cute comment on someone's baby photo and the mother said, "Quick, you should go make a baby then!" and it took all that I had not to lash out to her. This time, though, the words didn't affect me in such a way at all. Instead, I instantly joked back and told her, "You go and make 5 children yourself LOL!" (side note: I know the word "make" sounds weird, but it's the direct translation from the Indonesian word).
These three events have made me think of 3D holograms (use your imagination freely as you read the next lines). You see, in the beginning of my infertility journey, whenever I saw someone's bulging belly, I often had a strong reaction to it and many times I almost cried right then and there. It was as though my 3D hologram jumped right in front of myself. The grieving hologram of myself with an empty belly, who was crying out loud right then and there and screaming in agony, "Why not me, too? I've done everything right and prepared myself to be a mother etc. etc."
And in the past when someone told me she was pregnant (especially if it was an unexpected one), my grieving hologram showed up again and the unexpectedness of it all was like a (serrated) blade that stabbed me. The wound then started bleeding again (or started bleeding more) or the gaping wound became even bigger or deeper. It hurt. It hurt because I knew they didn't mean to hurt me, yet I was in so much pain. It hurt because I wanted to be happy for them, but I couldn't. And it hurt even more because I felt like a horrible person, so I got even more frustrated at myself, but at the same time I felt that I had the right and the need to take care of myself.
You see, my own hologram (that popped up between me and that person) was blocking me from accessing the other person's happiness fully. I mean, how can you disregard that kind of projection when she's standing right in front of you in such a state and in such intensity?
In the beginning of my healing journey, this hologram (the projection of my grief/pain) was so intense, vivid, and relentless (even uncontrollable). Over time and plenty of grief work (with lots of help and support from my tribe), the intensity and the frequency of my grieving hologram has diminished. In fact, as the hologram gets weaker and weaker, at times I can even press "pause" so that I can be fully present in someone else's company and then press "play" when I'm on my own again.