In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), I wanted to share some thoughts. These are not directed at any one person, nor are they the result of any one person. These are just simple statements that are laying my emotions and struggles bare.
Infertility is hard. It is a condition that turns hope into a minefield. With every twinge, ache and bit of bad shrimp, hope appears that maybe, maybe this time, I am pregnant. Then when the real cause of the discomfort appears, I have to attempt to dodge the shrapnel as my dreams explode again. Infertility steals my faith in God, and the general good of the universe. It creeps into my life until more and more of my time and energy has become dedicated to researching new treatments, creating budgets to be able to afford those treatments, and finding support from others like myself. Infertility has made the world a harsh, treacherous place where the simplest sight of children playing can cause actual physical pain. The sight of a baby shower invitation, birth announcement, or child's birthday party invite is enough to make me shrink inside myself to that special place in Hell reserved for the barren.
I want to be happy for others and their joys, but infertility robs me of that ability. I find myself angry that even after desperately trying to prevent pregnancy, So and So is expecting once again. I find myself crushed that So and So is on baby number six and can't care for them financially or emotionally. I find myself worthless when So and So who never wanted children is now pregnant...again.
Most of all I feel lonely. I have nothing to input into the conversations of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. I don't belong to the "Mommy Club". I can't brag about Johny's performance in sports or Suzie's grades. Most of all, I can't bear to hear you do it about your own children. So I avoid you. I smile a little too brightly for a little too long when the invitations roll in for the birthday parties, baptisms, and award ceremonies, and then I just do not show up.
I know that you should be proud of your children, and I am glad that you are, but I just can't bear to listen to it. Reserve your praise for their ears, not mine. You wouldn't pour water out onto the ground in front of a man dying of thirst, so don't torture me with what I want most. Please.
Please, let me talk to you, let me be open and honest with you. I need someone to listen to my struggles. Listen and be thoughtful in your responses. I need to be able to go to church on Mother's day without someone pressing a flower into my hand and stating that "I'm like a Mother" or some other drivel. What am I supposed to say to that..what does that even mean? I know that you mean them to be comforting, but comments of "Just relax","Don't worry about it", "Adopt and you'll get pregnant" and so on, are not only insensitive, but they are just not true. Infertility is a medical condition. If cancer does not go away simply because you "don't worry about it" and file some paperwork, then why would infertility? Also, please don't say "that it just isn't meant to be", because if that is the case, when you get cancer, you must not need any treatment because it is meant for you to die.
With all of this, in honor of NIAW, I am hoping that all of you out there in fertile land will come to understand me better, and recognize the pain the I go through EVERY SINGLE DAY. The pain of infertility is real and all encompassing, and seeps into every aspect of your life until that is all there is. So cherish you children, and be a little more careful of what you say to whom.