It has officially been one year. It was one year ago that we actually met with my OB/GYN to talk about trying to conceive. It was a mere twelve months ago that we started on this journey, which we naively thought would be a short trip. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what infertility means…and more importantly, what it means to me. Sadly, that involved recognizing what infertility has done to me as well.
I remember when Brian and I were just engaged and we talked about starting a family. We had decided that we wouldn’t necessarily try to get pregnant, but we weren’t going to prevent it either. I remember thinking that I would surely be pregnant in no time and would hardly have time to even think about it before I’d be picking out cribs and fighting with Brian about names…I mean, that’s what we’re all lead to believe for our entire lives. Abstinence and safe sex are preached to teenagers (with VERY good cause, mind you) and it’s always insinuated, though never said, that perhaps even looking at the wrong boy in the wrong way could get us knocked up. And we all saw it happen too…there was always a girl in our high school, or a friend’s cousin, or a beauty queen from the next town that got pregnant and swore she only did it once. So, when I actually threw caution to the wind and was a married woman, thus it was now acceptable that I should get pregnant, I just knew it would take no time. Sure, I knew that there were infertile men and women out there…I’m addicted to Discovery Health! But, they were nothing like us. They were older or had gone through some traumatic accident. Brian & I were healthy, happy and in love…it was the perfect situation.
Except it wasn’t.
There was a part of me that always thought I’d have problems getting pregnant. But I thought that I was just being me…obssesive and worried. I watch too many health shows and had psyched myself out. Besides, if I did have any problems, I had watched enough TV shows to write a book on the topic…I would just deal with it and move on. No problem.
Except it was.
No one and nothing could have prepared me for the rollercoaster ride that infertility is. Don’t get me wrong, I by no means think that our situation is hopeless, nor the worst it could be. There are many, many, many women who have been trying for YEARS with no luck. These couples have spent thousands and thousands of dollars trying to achieve something that so many take for granted. But we’re certainly not one of those couples that can take it for granted either. In fact, I think infertility has caused us to be grateful for everything we have in our lives, particularly each other…but we’re also very aware of that which we don’t have, and want so very badly.
It’s sad to see what infertility has done to my spirit…and to Brian’s. I don’t think it’s something anyone can truly understand until they’ve gone through it, but I have no doubt that those we are closest to have noticed a difference in us, though they’re too polite or full of pity (which is the worst!) to say so. We used to both be very optimistic people that believed we could achieve anything together. We were meant to be together and nothing was going to stop us…we had our whole lives in front of us. Then, twelve months ago, someone hit the pause button. The day that Dr. Corwin called to tell me that I did, indeed, have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, our world ground to a halt…and we didn’t realize it. I don’t think either of us meant to put anything on hold, it just kind of happened. We committed ourselves to starting a family and we were told that we were in the best possible situation to fight PCOS. We were young, healthy and proactive. It would be a little harder for us than most, but it would certainly happen and shouldn’t take long.
Except it has.
It hurts to look back at who I was just one year ago. My sister-in-law was pregnant (with the most bestest nephew in the whole world by the way!) and I would be soon too. I planned her baby shower, talked with my husband about how much fun the following Christmas would be with the babies playing together and us being a family. Now I cry when I find out a friend or family member is expecting. Not because I’m not happy for them, but because it reminds me that I’m not pregnant and that for some reason, I can’t get pregnant the regular way. It’s made me doubt a lot of things. I’ve had feelings that I’m less than a whole woman. That I’m preventing my husband from living the life that I feel he deserves. That I’m robbing my family of having a niece, nephew, cousin or grandchild. I usually put on a pretty good face. I try to stay optimistic, but I have to admit that it’s has crossed my mind…What if I’m not supposed to be a mommy? What if it’s not part of His plan for me? And honestly, I don’t know.
I pray everyday (sometimes several times a day) for answers and guidance…all I can say is that I feel like I’m on the right path. I feel supported by family and friends and armed with the knowledge to get through all of this. I don’t think He would have brought me to this place if there weren’t a reason for it. Maybe I’ve spent my whole life obssesed with babies and medical shows so that I would be prepared for this very test. When I really search my heart, I know that I’m supposed to be a mommy. I know that Brian is going to be an amazing father and we’ll have great kids. I don’t understand why I need to go through all of this to get there, but somehow I know that I do. I have to endure this struggle. I just hope that I can stay strong. I hope that I won’t let this make me forever bitter…I want to be happy and supportive for my friends. I don’t want family and friends to feel awkward when they bring their kids around or when they tell me they’re pregnant.
Except they do.
Part of me wishes that someone had told me this was a possibility. That someone would have told me that not everyone just gets pregnant when they want to. But it wouldn’t have made a difference. I wouldn’t have been able to understand. I started this (incredibly long) entry by pointing out that reflecting on our journey means recognizing what infertility has done to me. I should clarify. Our journey has made me who I am. It has lead me to possess an appreciation and understanding of life that I don’t think I would have otherwise achieved. But I’ve also let it get the best of me on days.
I’ve let infertility put my life on hold.
I’ve let infertility make me bitter.
I’ve let infertility cause me to doubt myself.
But I’ve also let infertility open my eyes.
I’ve let infertility foster a stronger a relationship with God.
I’ve let infertility bring me closer to myself and my husband.
I’m hoping I won’t have to write another entry in a year that reflects on where we are in our infertility journey. I hope I can reflect on the appreciation I have for my child and all that we endured to become parents and I hope I can say it was all worth it. Infertility will always be a part of who I am…that is irreversible and inevident. I just don’t want it to become all of who I am.
And it won’t.