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What It's Like to Be a Fertile Infertile

I entered the blogging world as an infertility blogger. I didn’t realize how huge the online infertility community was until I joined it myself. Right from the start, I was different from many of the other bloggers in that space because I was blogging about my inability to get pregnant while simultaneously holding my sleeping six-month-old.

I had already gone through a couple years of infertility treatments, a second trimester loss, a chemical pregnancy and in vitro fertilization. I’d already given myself hundreds of shots, struggled through heartbreak after heartbreak and sacrificed all of our savings for the chance of having a child.

And it had already worked. My daughter was in my arms. I was a mother. Still, when I decided to blog, I knew that it needed to be about infertility.

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We were heading into the familiar unknown of trying for a second child, and I had a lot to say about it—about our future journey towards Baby No. 2 and about our past journey through the treatments and emotional roller-coasters that brought us our daughter. But the more I wrote, the more I realized that infertility wasn’t just something in my past or future. It was me. Even with the presence of my daughter and the absence of treatments, I was infertile. And even now, having given birth to three children in three years, I know that I’m still infertile.

There’s guilt. That survivor’s guilt that I know isn’t necessary but is still very real.

It doesn’t go away when you have kids. I think it will be with me forever. Because it’s such a huge part of my story. And because it’s changed me—in good ways and bad, too, I suppose. Because if my husband and I decide we want another child, it’s much more complicated than just going off the pill. And because, those are my people. That online blogging community I talked about earlier? They didn’t push me away or minimize my journey just because I’d already had success. They have embraced me and loved me well, from all corners of the globe. And I do my best to do the same for them. Plus, being so out there about my infertility has brought lots of non-blogging infertile women into my life as well—seeking support, advice and information. I am surrounded by infertility, and I feel like it’s where I need to be.

But I’ll admit that it feels sticky sometimes. Every time I leave a comment on a blog or send a Facebook message or punch out a text to an infertile friend, I read it and imagine what it’s going to be like for her to receive these words from the mother of three children when she herself has none. Do my words sound trite? Am I too far removed from the intense agony of infertility? Who am I to speak into her pain when my current struggles are the exact things she is longing for?

There’s guilt. That survivor’s guilt that I know isn’t necessary but is still very real. And there’s fear because I’ve seen nightmares become reality for those around me—miscarriages, sick babies, premature babies, scary diagnoses, crushed dreams, even death. And I know that it could be me—again.

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That’s the hard stuff. But there’s also something really wonderful about being a fertile infertile. I’ve been to a couple of baby showers now for women I’ve met in the infertility world. It’s a beautiful thing—celebrating those moms and the babies they’re carrying. And as I sit there and watch them open up packages and hold up cute little onesies, my thoughts are not about those gifts but rather about the battle those women have fought to get there. And when I see the birth announcement pop up on Facebook, I know that look in her eyes, a look that says “finally” and shouts a million thank-yous to Heaven. And when, after years of wanting to stay up all night with a sleepless baby, she’s exhausted and tearful from living that dream-come-true, I get how complex those emotions can be. Because now she’s a fertile infertile too. And it’s a strange place to be—strange and hard and oh so glorious. And hard.

Because it’s motherhood.

Image via Maggie Dehart Photography

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