Sunday, April 4, 2010

Accepting (and embracing?) infertility

As much as I want to think that I’ve got all of this infertility stuff under control and that the outcome isn’t going to break me if it’s not what I want, that’s just not the case.

As much as I want to live just one day without thinking about my childless state, that’s not possible.

Although I try to live my life as fully as I can, filling my days with work, projects at home, volunteer commitments, travel, time with friends and family . . . infertility is always there.

I work at having a positive and energetic attitude as if my life is good and as full as it can be. As if all is well. As if infertility is not ever-present.

I pretend that my life is about other things, but right now, it is about one thing – the ever narrowing window of opportunity to become a parent.

* * * * *

Days 'til FET: 19 . . . .
I had a breakdown today after church. My dear friend, the pregnant one who almost never comes to church, came today because it was Easter. She looked lovely and had the most adorable little baby bump, making it obvious to everyone that she is expecting. I wanted to talk with her after the service but she was quickly surrounded by people congratulating her. Hearing the excitement in their voices and seeing the hugs and smiles made me feel like someone had sucked all of the oxygen out of the room. It was a visceral reaction. I tried to stick around and smile and participate, but I found myself unable to speak. In slow motion, I walked away.

Our church has a sweet tradition of having a simple Easter egg hunt immediately following the service. It’s a nice opportunity for families and friends to linger in a beautiful area that looks like a garden –  full of azaleas, green grass, daffodils and tulips on the edge of a wooded forest – while the children hunt plastic eggs filled with candy. There were cute babies and children everywhere! And did I mention the cameras? It was like a photo shoot – all these families recording their memories. My dear friend worked the crowd, catching up with people and sharing her good news, and I’m sure, just drinking in the anticipation of this event next year when her baby will be about seven months old.

After an appropriate amount of time, I was able to get to my car and head home. I’m not sure I was out of the parking lot before the tears started to flow. And then the sobs came.

For me, the most difficult part of all of that was watching people react to my friend’s news. I know they would be just as excited for me, should the day ever come. I think this was so challenging for me because the congratulatory reactions of people are the only thing I can truly imagine at this point. In my “Six Months At A Time” mindset, I don’t let myself think very much about actually having a baby. It still seems like a long shot.

I know how much love the people in our church have to give. I know how deeply they love my DH (he’s been a member of the church since the 1980s). I know how joyful they were when I came into his life and he got a second chance for a truly happy life. I yearn to be able to answer the question, “How are you doing?” with something authentic rather than a load of bullshit about how work is oh-so crazy busy. I’m so tired of having my guard up at church. If we ever get pregnant, maybe I can actually have some real relationships.

Sorry to be so negative. . . . But it feels good to be honest.

* * * * *

A strange new thought occurred to me tonight -- the idea that I need to embrace infertility. Accept that it is part of my life. And think about ways to acknowledge it, to show it some respect. Not that I want it to be so welcome that it wants to stay longer (because infertility has already worn out her welcome in my house). But the idea of making peace with infertility's presence is appealing. I'll be thinking about this in the coming days.


  1. Oh, GROAN! That would have done me in too! Good for you for keeping it together when it counted.

    I think about how to making peace with IF too. Of course, it would be a lot easier to make peace with it if it were OVER, if it were something IN THE PAST.

    I hope you have a brighter week.

  2. big, big (((hugs))). I'm so sorry you're feeling all of this and didn't have a great easter. it's completley understandable that you'd feel this way, particularly about how others responded to your friend's pregnancy. I've used the word visceral too - I've had visceral reactions and that's a perfect way to describe it. It's like no other.

    I wish your church were more open about being authentic. It's something our church really strives to be so that the answer to 'how are you' is real. Us and another couple have 'come out' about infertility and it feels good to not be hiding it anymore and to ask for prayers when it's hard. I know it takes a lot of courage, but we've felt that 'what else is a church family for?'. Consider it?

    (((hugs again)))

  3. *tears*

    I'm so sorry.

    Church, the one place you should be able to be authentically you...infertility steals so much from us.

    Acknowledging Infertility is a double edged sword. Being open is amazingly freeing but then you open yourself up to unwanted assvice and ignorance...

  4. I really have been where you are, and my heart aches for you. Infertility, however unwelcome, has stayed at our home for a long time. Finding peace is a crucial step, and you should allow yourself as long as you need. That being said, I hope she'll go away soon. Love you!

  5. First time visiting your blog, and I could really relate to today's post. I think seeing others happily experiencing that for which we have long yearned is one of the hardest things about infertility.

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