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Why Am I Trying to Validate My Pregnancy After Infertility?

I think it's safe to say I am finally starting to show my pregnancy in my fifteenth week. Two weeks ago, at my second OB appointment, I was feeling dazed at the normalcy of it. A quick blood pressure check, a brief monitoring of the baby's heartbeat, a moment to have my questions answered and it was over. I would make another appointment a month later. Being treated like a regular pregnant woman is both exciting and terrifying.

RELATED: What It's Like to Be a Fertile Infertile

I went to the dentist last week. I've been going to the same office since I was a child and have been seeing the son of the dentist I had back then. I remember last year talking to the hygienist who was relatively new to me about my recent chemical pregnancy and past treatments for fertility. We agreed that next time, if I wasn't pregnant they would take X-rays, and if I was, we would simply skip it. So fast forward to last week when the hygienist called me back and we proceeded to make the usual small talk. She asked me about any changes in my medical history and I told her I was pregnant. We started talking about my pregnancy as she started in on my teeth, but never mentioned the infertility we talked about last time. My dentist came in and when I told him, he gave me a huge congratulations and jokingly offered me to babysit his three kids for practice. Prior to this pregnancy, I would have been uncomfortable and probably upset with this comment. Now, I just desperately wanted to remind him how hard I've worked to get to this point. But I never said anything.

Is this me educating others about infertility, or just me trying desperately to account for my growing belly?

Later, as I was scheduling my next appointment, I told the receptionist that December wasn't going to work for me to come back because that was around my due date.

"Congratulations!" she exclaimed, "That's so exciting!"

"It's been a long time coming," I told her and then explained how many IVFs we did to get this baby.

This week I was in a department store, shopping in the baby section for an outfit for a friend's new baby, and I started making small talk with a woman 23 weeks pregnant and carting around a toddler. She was telling me about her anatomy scan and how the umbilical cord was in the way of the tech finding out the sex and so it was still a guess on whether or not she was having a girl or a boy.

"How about you?" she asked me, pointing down to my stomach, "How far along are you?"

I looked at her incredulously. "I actually look pregnant and not just fat?"

She laughed, "I think you definitely look pregnant."

And in that moment, after I shared that I was almost 15 weeks, I wanted to tell this woman my story. Almost like I needed validation for this pregnancy. I kept my mouth shut and we wished each other congratulations and went our separate ways.

RELATED: Learning How to Enjoy My Pregnancy As an Infertile Woman

It's funny, there are times I relish being treated like a "normal" pregnant woman. Where I want to push aside the infertility and for the first time in years just be treated like everyone else. There are no looks of pity, or discomfort. Just the big smiles and knowing looks that come from strangers who have been through pregnancy themselves. But there are also times, when I feel I need to justify my baby by explaining how much harder I've worked than just a night of passion. To show others "Hey, this is what I've been through, but I promise I can be a normal pregnant woman just like you!"

Is this me educating others about infertility, or just me trying desperately to account for my growing belly? I think this what some therapists would call the process of healing after the trauma of my sub-par fertility. There will be periods where I can enjoy the attention of my baby bump, and there will be times when I need to blurt out my past with the random stranger in the store. Personally, I don't think that's a bad thing. I think it's all a part of pregnancy after infertility.

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Image via Twenty20/chrissyjpowers

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