What Happened When I Realized My Anger Was Holding Me Back From a World of Joy

From the start of my struggle with infertility, I’ve felt anger. It’s the emotion I felt the most, but talked about the least.

Kenna Shumway July 28, 2016
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From the start of my struggle with infertility, I’ve felt anger. It’s the emotion I felt the most, but talked about the least. Feelings aren’t my forte. In fact, I’d be okay if I never had to talk about feelings ever. (Funny thing, my degree is in psychology, which pretty much means I have a degree in feelings.)

Anger is tricky, and I think the reason I ignored it was because I was embarrassed. So many people struggle with infertility and are able to find silver linings. Me? Damn near impossible. Sure, I put on a really good façade, but inside there was a black hole, slowly dragging me deeper inside myself. Sucking happiness from things outside the realm of infertility. My ability to compartmentalize became nonexistent, and I felt myself pulling away from the people who could love me best.

Anger was easier to feel than sadness and disappointment, so somehow I manipulated everything into it. This is usually where “rock bottom” and an “epiphany” come into the story, but not for me. There wasn’t a bottom. Anger and resentment don’t have a rock bottom. These emotions will continually pull you down, deeper and deeper, to places that are ugly and dark. Nothing held joy, and I couldn’t see light anywhere.

A lot of time people who haven’t experienced infertility assume that once you either birth a child or adopt a child, the anger, darkness, and resentment just go away. Yes, a child cures the pain of childlessness and for many, may be a balm to the heart.

With the adoption of my son, Harley, light did start to peek in through the dark and concrete-like crust that encased my world view. If anything, he made me forget that there were feelings I needed to deal with, and that can only be a band-aid for so long. At night, I felt like I was being devoured. It was frightening to say the least, and what finally got me to start dealing with my emotions was the realization that, like I said, there was no rock bottom for me. I would have fallen deeper and deeper, and how that could end scared me more than dealing with it.

Once I figured that out, I started to slowly, and I mean S L O W L Y, confront the anger I was holding on to so tightly. Anger was holding me back from everything joyous in life. Even though I started being honest with myself about my anger doesn’t mean I somehow bounced right back. It’s been six years since the adoption of my son, and almost ten years battling infertility/sterility. I still have bad days. Bad weeks. It is still harder to find and feel joy than it is to find and feel anger. But you know what? The joy is worth the work. Letting my skeletons and plans go, letting my anger go, opened up a life that could be filled with light and warmth.  And that has made all the difference.

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Kenna Shumway

Wife. Adoptive mom. Writer. Photographer. Endometriosis survivor, infertility warrior & adoption advocate. Rock star on weekends. Currently calls Ohio home with her pharmacist husband and their ginger son. Read more from her on her blog.

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