It’s National Infertility Week
I’m currently in that place where it feels like I’m drowning in children. Even though it’s been a decade since I was thick with the hollow opposite, I can recall those feelings of emptiness and longing pretty easily. They’re scarred on me and they’re documented in this old blog (relevant excerpts linked below).
We got married in 2002 and in 2008, when I graduated from PA school, we finally decided that, yes, we wanted to have some bebes. It wasn’t an easy decision, but once we started trying…and struggling…it became THE goal. Between 2009 and 2011, I experienced infertility and two miscarriages. After many months of trying, and the help of a side-effect rich fertility drug (Clomid), I finally became pregnant, and then lost the baby in a pretty traumatic way. It was a total freak, fluke thing, so it hurt, but since it felt like a miracle that I survived, we moved through it, not losing hope. Then months and months of trying again, and another loss, this one not at all dramatic, just cold and lonely and typical, leaving me feeling like a bad recipe. Then more trying. The calculations, the counting, the grief marked by the calendar. The hope was the worst part. Every month, holding my breath, waiting for an answer that seemed like it would never come. I felt bruised all the time, wishing I could give up hope so it would stop kicking me back to the floor, but there it was again….maybe this month?
In the end, we managed to get and stay pregnant twice and now have two brilliant, beautiful architects of destruction living in our house. Early on, I thought maybe all the struggles we survived would make us more grateful, patient parents, but that didn’t take into account a shared family business, a rocky marriage, job losses, transcontinental moves, international pandemics, or the fact that kids are terrible, even the miracle kind.
As brutal as that time was, I don’t regret my membership in this crappiest sisterhood, because it’s a privilege to be able to share in the pain of those going through it now. It makes me feel a part of the bitterness and joy that is womanhood. From the beginning of time, women have held and lost hope like this, have bled out wishes.
Also, I have amazing friendships that were forged in this fire, and the joy of later babies we celebrated in deep ways.
To those who are hurting this particular hurt right now, I hate it for you. It feels helpless, endless, lonely. Everyone you know is pregnant. Even your man, your love, your partner, can’t really get this. It’s happening (not happening) in your core, your very depth, and it makes you doubt yourself in excruciating ways. You’ve done nothing wrong. You’re not failing anyone. It’s more common than you know and it IS a big of a deal as it feels. You ARE allowed to talk about it and to ask for help- mental and physical. You’re not alone and you shouldn’t do it alone. You’re still whole. You’re still you. Take care of yourself. Try hard not to lose yourself. I found new hobbies were welcome distractions, dumb movies, totally unrelated reading, travel.
So….what can I punch for you?