So many of us struggle with infertility, yet we do so in the shadows.
The unspoken struggles of eerily white negative pregnancy tests. The heartbreak of another month gone; our wombs longing for children.
Something so natural, something so normal, something we cannot do. It divides us from the rest of the world.
This month, The Band, we're inviting all of you who have struggled with infertility and miscarriage to bring your stories to the light.
It's time to shine the spotlight on infertility and destroy the shadows we live in.
Please join us on Sunday, June 24 for a carnival of posts about infertility and loss.
Dealing with infertility is like dealing with grief. No two days are the same. The pain ebbs and flows. Just when you think you’ve got everything under control, something triggers a thought; a memory.
There’s denial, of course. Sometimes denial masquerades as hope. After three years of trying to get pregnant I know all the signs of an impending period. I’m like a fortune teller, reading my future in signs and symptoms instead of tea leaves.
And though I’ve become an expert at reading the signs, every month I try and deny them. My face is breaking out? Must be that new soap I’m trying. Are my breasts sore? No. I’m just imagining things. Is that mood swing due to PMS? No, it must be just stress.
All those signs are harbingers, they all tell me that my body has betrayed me. Again. No baby. Not this time.
Why did I get saddled with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
Why didn’t anyone diagnose it sooner?
Why aren’t my treatments working?
It’s not fair, it’s not fair!
Why do my cousins, my sister-in-law, get to have children without even trying, children they didn’t even want?
Did I do something do deserve this?
My anger wells up about silly things, too. All those bullshit TV shows and movies that use pregnancy as a plot point. They are such bullshit. Two characters sleep together once on TV and it practically guarantees a pregnancy. Sometimes I yell at the screen: “It doesn’t work like that!” But it doesn’t help. I know that it does happen that way sometimes. Just not for us. Not for me.
And then there’s depression. My old familiar friend, back to visit. It takes advantage of mental defenses lowered by the stress of infertility and makes itself at home again. Convinces me that I’m broken in both mind and body.
“This will never get better. Why even bother with all the pills and the shots and the doctors? Just give up. Giving up is so much easier.”
Depression lies, but the lies are so easy to believe.
The deep sadness, the aching sadness of infertility strikes without warning. A glance at the invitation to my nephew’s birthday party. An adorable baby in the supermarket. Someone else on Facebook announces a pregnancy.
I feel that sharp spike of pain in my chest. The constricting sensation of grief, that familiar ache in my throat. The pool of darkness in my soul threatens to overtake me.
Depending on where I am, I may give in to it. If I’m at home, or alone in the car, I let the tears stream down my cheeks and the sobs escape from my mouth.
If I’m in public though, in my cubicle or at a baby shower or the grocery store, I stamp it down, crush it tightly, bury it deep inside. I shake my head, fake a smile, and force myself to think about something else. Anything else. It works for a while, but it’s exhausting. It feels like lying.
I’m not quite at the acceptance stage yet, although I’ve come close. Sometimes, I’m able to take a deep breath and consider the other what-ifs: if this doesn’t happen; if it never happens: then what?
I struggle with keeping my focus on the present and the future. There is no point belaboring the mistakes and missteps of the past. I never asked to go on this journey. I don’t want to be dealing with infertility.
But here I am - I’m on this road now. It’s okay to yell and scream and cry. But if I want to overcome it, I have to keep moving forward.2 Comments