There are many lessons I have learned on my journey through infertility, and many of them I had to learn the hard way. I had no idea how hard this would really be. For so long, I thought - I am the only one who feels this way. I would constantly ask myself - am I a bad person for these dark, ugly feelings?
For this reason, I suffered in silence for way too long - behind closed doors. Crying in my car. Crying in a public bathroom. Crying anywhere I could escape to and not be found.
The most valuable lesson I have learned is that I am not alone.
After I started sharing my story I was able to connect with so many other women who were going through the fertility process, or had gone through it. Every time I would share, they would validate my feelings. We are not meant to go through this alone. I started making friends on the internet, and I didn't feel creepy about it! I actually found comfort in it.
If you are not ready to share with your friends of family, I highly encourage you to reach out to someone in the infertility community. We will welcome you with open arms!
I learned that I will never have control over my fertility.
"Move bitch. Get out the way. Get out the way bitch, get out the way."
Some might say that this is my life's theme song. If I want something, I go get it. Get out of my way.
Whatever "it" is, I will work my ass off for it. I will obsess over it. I will dream about it. I will believe wholeheartedly in it. I will focus all of my energy on it. Until I get it. And I ALWAYS get it.
It's who I am. It's who I've always been.
I approach everything with passion, and with determination. I'm unstoppable when I want something. If I don't feel like I have a plan or feel like I'm in control, I'm a hot f*cking mess.
Control is what I know. It's how I thrive.
We've worked at this "baby makin" thing for years now. I have obsessed and obsessed and have officially lost my f*cking mind. I've put all of my energy and focus on researching and understanding this process, so much that I should have a PHD in infertility.
I've put my body through hell and back with pills, injections, surgeries, and raging hormones.
We have spent so much money along the way that if any of this actually works we won't have any money left to afford a child. Help me I'm poor! I have zero control over this. And it's killing me.
Ludacris, I need a new song. Stat!
So why haven't I quit yet? Trust me, I've thought about it. And lord knows we have taken plenty of breaks from it. But, nah, we aint quitting.
I AM NOT A QUITTER.
We want to be parents. We will be parents.
If you know me, you know that this wasn't always the case. Well, for me at least. I used to be that young, independent, career focused, "I'm going to travel the world, and get drunk when I feel like it" kind of gal. Some people would call this selfish. Sure, ok. If that makes you feel better, go ahead and say it. Bla. Bla. F*cking - Bla.
Even after we got married, I wasn't quite sure kids were for me. I've never been one that can relate to kids. I don't know how to talk to kids. Holding babies feels weird. I'm just not the "mom" type. It doesn't come natural to me. I'd see kids dripping ice cream all over themselves with bugs flying in and out, and be like "get your shit together kid, what the hell is wrong with you?". Oh, and I HATE "baby talk". AND mom jeans. Ew.
So, when did I make the switch? Honestly, I can't put my finger on it. Lately I've been asking myself, why do I want a baby so badly now? I started thinking really hard about this.
Infertility makes you evaluate your reason for having kids.
Why do most people want kids? Is there an actual reason or is just a feeling? Reasons like, wanting to carry on your family name. Or, having someone to take care of you when you are old. Or wanting to make a mini version of yourself. These reasons actually all sound pretty damn selfish to me. Am I wrong?
So, I'm still working through this "why" thing. I don't know if I will ever have a true answer. How did I get from "eh, kids?" to "I will be a mom and you can't stop me". Well, it's not to make a mini-me, because quite frankly, that's "technically" not in the cards for us. It's certainly not because of my strong connection to kids. Yikes. I just know it's a feeling I have. It's a feeling we both have. A desperate feeling to grow our family. Haven't you ever felt that something was right? There is no question that my husband, Jonathan, was made to be a dad. He was built for it. It comes natural to him. He loves kids and kids love him. Why would I let that gift go to waste? So, forgive me for not having this all figured out.
Did anyone ever question your desire to have kids?
Did you ever have to sit down and really think about your reasons? Most people don't. When you are faced with a path to possible destruction of your finances, your emotions, your marriage, and your body, these are the things you ask each other.
Infertility will make you consider giving up.
Will it all be worth it in the end? Why are we doing this?
We aren't naive. We don't ignore the facts. We know that many couples don't survive this shit. We know that infertility can lead to depression (the drugs alone can make you a f*cking psycho) We know that our sex life will never be the same. We know that the grieving and pain never really goes away. But we keep fighting, hand in hand. Side by side. Supporting each other and licking each others wounds every step of the way.
Body shots aren't quite what they used to be, but we make the best of it.
Turn down for what!
We have our own ways of dealing.
infertility teaches you to hedge your bets on hope.
We ask questions like "What are our odds Doc?" We make our choices based on statistics, and we keep those stats in mind to manage our emotions.
We certainly didn't get to this place over night. We used to have 100% of hope 100% of the time. With each new surgery or procedure we would say "This time it's going to work" and we would really, really believe it. Those days are long gone.
Some people would think this is sad, or a negative way to live our lives. But the people that say that haven't been through this. I promise you that.
It's not that we can't think positive, and I'm not saying we are predicting failure every time either. We just live somewhere in between. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't. We just try to have enough hope, but not too much. We don't always get it right, but it's how we manage. It's what works for us. For now.
we learned we had to protect ourselves and each other from unnecessary heartache.
It's okay to say no to baby showers if you know you can't handle it. If your friends don't understand that, then move on. If you were an alcoholic, they wouldn't expect you to come to a cocktail party, right? Contrary to Charlotte and Miranda (Sex and the City reference), you don't have to suck it up and put on lipstick and a pretty dress if you would rather sit home in sweats and cry your f*cking eyes downing a bottle of wine. It's OK! Cry your f*cking eyes out! Drink up buttercup!
We learned how important it is to have a good support group.
You need those friends that you can just be "you" around. The more you talk about your pain, the less it hurts, and you need to find a safe place to be able to get it all out without judgment. Friends that will let you bitch and cry for no reason. Friends that will laugh at your situation with you if that's what you are in the mood for. Friends that will protect you from heartache if you need protecting. Friends who will feel it with you, because they love you that much. Friends who will shake the shit out of you when you need a good shake to feel like yourself again.
Hold on really, really tight to these friends. Embrace them. They will be the reason you survive this.
We learned not to expect all of our friends to give us this kind of support. and that's ok.
Not everyone will get it. Not everyone can handle it. And that's OK! It's on us to manage our expectations to protect our feelings. "Expecting" has always been my problem. Pun intended.