I've never considered my infertility a
blessing. No, there has been too much loss, too much heartache, too much
unfairness to even begin to say infertility has been a good thing for me.
But just because I don't consider it a
blessing, doesn't mean it hasn't changed me for the better. I've always thought
my highest quality was my ability to empathize with other people. Not to feel
sorry for others or to pity, but to put myself in someone else's shoes and
really feel what it's like for them. This quality makes me a good nurse, a good
friend and a good wife. It was only after experiencing infertility, however,
that I started seeing the relationships I had with people in a new and
Prior to infertility, I had no concept that
the question, "When are you going to have kids?" may be heartbreaking
for some couples to hear. Prior to infertility, exclaiming, "Maybe you're
pregnant!" to a friend's nausea, food cravings and late period wouldn't
have made me bat an eye.
You will never again catch me asking the newlywed couple when they are going to get on it and have kids.
But that was before five years of trying to
get pregnant. Before three failed IVFs, before tens of thousands of dollars in
medical bills, before I lost my baby. It was before I met a community of women
just like me, who have been through the same unspeakable hurt as I have.
Now I don't say the above statements anymore.
I pride myself on that, and I've become very careful in my conversations with
people, because I remember how hurt I was when these things were said to me.
You will never again catch me asking the newlywed couple when they are going to
get on it and have kids. Even though the majority of couples will not have any
trouble conceiving, the thought is always in the back of my mind: What if
this is not one of those couples?
When I went through my miscarriage, I thought
that there was nothing more painful I could have experienced, and I finally
felt that I could understand when people would say that they lost a part of
themselves. Which in my case, I guess I probably did. I didn't want people to
tell me everything was going to be OK, or that God has something bigger in
store. I just wanted someone to sit and cry with me. And in emerging from this
place of darkness, I began to understand grief better. That sometimes, many
times, there are no words that can be said. I feel like going through the loss
of my baby has caused me not to shy from the discomfort that a miscarriage
brings to outsiders.
When you experience infertility, the
powerlessness can be overwhelming. You watch seemingly everyone around you
getting pregnant and having babies and you are left wondering where you fit
into it all. In the first few years of trying, I remember being so incredibly
angry. "My body is supposed to have children!" I would shout to my
husband, when the frustration of yet another pregnancy announcement would
surface, "People get pregnant after one-night stands, why can't I?" I
was forever apologizing for my barrenness. "Oh, it'll happen here
soon," I'd say all too cheerfully, "We are just letting nature take
its course!" It was only later, in the privacy of my own bedroom that I
would sob into my pillow at the unfairness of it all.
Don't get me wrong. I am still angry at the
unfairness. However, there is a certain humility that comes after years of
desperately wanting something everyone else seems to have, and not getting it.
There is a certain humility that if we have a child, it most certainly won't be
from sex, or even IVF with my eggs and his sperm. I will have a child who was
half created from someone else, and though it's a thought that brings up some
negative feelings, I have grown in my thinking.
I have accepted the fact that I can't control
any of this and any baby that comes or doesn't come is out of my hands. I think
that brings about a deeper maturity than where I was five years ago when this
all began. This unexpected growth towards others is all I have to show besides
the mountain of debt we've accumulated. The silver lining in all this is that
even though infertility has stolen so much from me, I know that I have emerged
a stronger person.