It took me a long time to decide if this was a story I wanted to ever share or not. For me sharing wonderful beautiful things in my life has always been easy and I am sure it makes many assume I am a completely open book. Sharing the hard stuff though…that’s my real struggle.
The stuff that leads you to that dark place that we don’t like to talk about. For me it’s mostly because of how uncomfortable it might make someone else feel. “What if they don’t know what to say?” “What if they feel awkward around me after?” “No…I better keep it locked up to myself.”
That was then, this is now!!! I have come to realize that although there WILL always be people who it makes uncomfortable, maybe there will be one women, one man, one couple that feels understood in a way that I didn’t, and for me, that’s worth it.
There are some moments in life that we will always remember as vividly as the second they happened. For me this will always be the moment I was told I wouldn’t have children. Well the exact words were… “You have a rare birth defect and if you where my daughter and had XXXXX amount thousands of dollars I would do IVF today! Otherwise it would be advisable that you explore other means of starting a family.” Divine intervention must have taken over as I will never really understand how I even made it home that day… that 45 minute drive from my clinic is one I have no recollection of.
I can say for my 28 years I’ve lived and learned through my fair share of pain. I lost a parent, I’ve loved people who struggle with addiction, dealt with my fair share of mean girls, had more than enough heartbreak to last a lifetime. Nothing on this planet has rocked me like those words coming out of the doctor’s mouth. The loss of a dream of a child you haven’t even met yet, is a pain I cannot express to you on paper. It’s your whole life’s dreams wrapped up and tossed in a waste basket. A million thoughts go through your mind as a woman…”Wasn’t I born to do this?” “Am I not good enough to be a mother?” “Is this punishment for something wrong I have done?” “Maybe I could be that childless lady, the one with the really nice white furniture instead!” “Why me…why us?” “Will my husband still love me?” It is a spiral of thoughts, questions and blame.
Trust me when I tell you that the level of CRAZY, we women are capable of, would scare most men ha ha. Nowhere else in life would a person be expected to experience this amount of pain and hide it. We mourn death, we rally around victims of disasters, we start interventions and support groups for addiction, infertility though…it’s in its own category, one that makes us feel we should be quiet…god forbid we make someone else uncomfortable due to our sadness. Perhaps, maybe we keep it so quiet because the response to our pain can be so hurtful. I have lost count of the number of times I was told to stay calm. “STAY CALM IT WILL HAPPEN.” “CALM YOU SAY?” How about I fire you from your job, rob your home, and kick your car. Now “just stay calm,” how does it feel for you…light or heavy? Now those are all replaceable things, this child that I will never have and am mourning is NOT REPLACEABLE!!!! So, NO I will not be calm!
In fact if you’re reading this do yourself a favor and be the complete opposite of calm and YELL, THROW A PILLOW AT THE WALL, USE A COUPLE OF WORDS YOUR MOTHER WILL DISAPPROVE OF! HA, HA, but really it’s true because I’ll tell you this pain, it’s deep and the only way to survive it is to let it all OUT! When you say this to us it’s actually insulting, and trust me when I say I know you meant it with so much love, I really do, and I’m thankful that you care enough to say anything at all. It’s not helpful though and it truly isn’t kind. We don’t share our pain because we would hate to have it dampen your joy. We worry that maybe next week you won’t invite us to that baby shower, or Johnny’s 1st birthday. This also is not helpful. I do understand the logic and there were days where being near a child’s birthday would have done me in, but let me make that call. As there were also hundreds of days that my friends and family’s children were all that kept me going. I would look into their big glassy eyes and think “I’m not giving up because this face is so worth everything I will have to do to get there.” So if you’re looking to do me a favor do this; let me hug your child a little longer, let me hold their hands when we all cross the street, let me feel the magic that is a child who looks at you like you’re the coolest person they have ever met. I was blessed in this category by my friends and family who allowed me to love the hell out of their babies. I know you know who you are and am I soooo thankful, your children saved me in ways I can never thank them for.
One in eight couples will experience infertility issues. This means someone you know right now is struggling, so please be kind don’t ask the newly married couple when their having babies. Don’t ask the couple where one parent already has children if the other spouse is the issue. Do not tell your friends how amazing it is that you just decided to try for the first time ever on Friday and BOOM had a positive test the following Monday. But do tell us your pregnant, trust me behind the pain we are so joyfully happy for you, do show us how much you love your children, it gives us something to keep fighting for and do as my friends did, hug me on bad days and celebrate with me when my day finally comes.
Infertility is a long and mostly dark road full of financial stress, needles upon needles upon needles, ultrasounds and more doctor appointments then I can count. Sleepless nights of worry and prayer, tears and breaks to catch your breath. There is no right way to grieve a child that will never be, to mourn the struggle you face to get through each day. All I can say is feel every wave, the ones that have you unable to breath and the ones that allow you to float for a little while. I don’t have the answer for why this is happening to you, I only know that the person who comes out on the other side will be the most bad ass version of yourself you have ever seen. I know this because my biggest struggle as a mother came before my child was even born. You have a warrior inside of you that will blow your mind, I have done things in the past three years I would have never believed possible. My husband and step daughter look at me some days like I may be wonder women and then I stop and think….hell I kind of am!!
I am one in eight, a soon to be mother, an IVF Warrior, a woman who will never be willing to take no for an answer, surrounded by some bad ass women, a wise step daughter, loving husband, some strong men, supportive family and one talented fertility doctor. And let’s not forget those ones above me clearly sending down some love from the heavens above!
I pray that if your moment ever comes and you’re in that doctor’s chair, that you know it’s ok to be weak. It’s ok to be scared. And mostly importantly, it’s ok to let people in. This is where we find out what our relationships are really made of. At the end of your journey you’re going to want the people standing next to you to be the ones who weathered the storm with you. I have found my people through this pain and I have found some real beauty in this world along the way.