Infertility Awareness week came and went without me saying a word. Now if I had been in my right mind and not feeling overwhelmed by sadness due to my own infertility, I would have posted something. Actually if I am going to be honest here, I wrote about 3 posts and none of them felt right to me so I deleted them. Everything I was saying came out completely backwards from what I really wanted to say. Because that is the thing about infertility, it can be really hard to put into words what me as an individual feels about battling it.
Each post included my drawn out story. My past. My failures. Each post felt like a list of where I was failing in becoming a mother. Like I was punishing myself for not being able to conceive and maybe I was, maybe my own struggles with infertility these last few weeks have been me being angry at my own body for not doing something I feel it was built for. And right now I can clearly hear my mom telling me, “there is so much more to life than having babies. What about once those babies leave? What then? Then it will just be you.” This is what she tells me every time I cry that my body is NOT doing what it is supposed to. It is a gentle reminder that I am important, even if I don’t have kids, my career, my life, my goals, they are all important. My life isn’t validated by having a child or not having a child. I am not infertility, I am not PCOS.
My past in dealing with infertility is full of the same things anyone’s is that has struggled with infertility. Heartbreak, hurt, a diagnoses (in my case PCOS), tears, frustrations and eventually a silence that left me hollow. Inside my own head, I screamed, I cursed, I begged, I prayed, I pleaded and I blamed. On the outside though, I kept quiet. My past in dealing with infertility was one of silence. I didn’t talk about it, I didn’t mention it, I didn’t dare to breath a word of it because that would make it real and because that would make people judge me. If I said a word it was like I was admitting to being broken with no way of putting myself back together. I isolated myself inside my own head and didn’t let anyone see the overwhelming sadness.
To this day I struggle to talk about it. I struggle to think about it. To this day when I write a blog post that mentions infertility I flinch before pressing the publish button. But that is what National Infertility Awareness week was about, not hiding but sharing. Because someone shared their story with me, I felt strong enough to eventually start sharing my story with others. It takes a lot of strength and bravery to share a story that is so private. It takes a lot.
Last week I was standing in the card aisle. I was trying to pick out a funny card for my own mother because my hardest holiday is fast approaching. As I was reading though, I stumbled upon a few cards that hadn’t been there the year before. Cards telling women happy mothers day from the cat and from the dog. Happy Mothers day because you are like a mom. My heart almost burst with joy and I had to sneakily wipe a few tears from my eyes. I might not know what it is like to carry a child inside of me. To feel a child kick in my stomach or hear a heartbeat on a monitor. What I have felt is love. I have loved children in my life with all of my heart. I have worried about their safety. I have sung them to sleep. I have rocked little bodies in my arms and soothed back the hair on their sweaty heads. I have wiped their tears from their eyes. I have laughed with them and watched them take steps for the first time. I have stood in the middle of the store wondering what the perfect gift would be for them. I have watched them blow out candles and have sung happy birthday. I have watched the kids grow up and celebrated each milestone with them. I have said congratulations to my friends with a big smile on my face when they tell me they are expecting. I have enjoyed looking at sonogram pictures and even planning a few baby showers. I have loved the children in my life with everything that a mother has, I just have done it as an Auntie.
This weekend it dawned on me, I need to give myself permission. Permission to grieve in my own way. Permission to talk about infertility without feeling humiliated or ashamed. Permission to feel frustrated. Permission to some days hate my body. Permission to not talk to anyone who treats me and my condition with a cold shoulder. Permission to write about it. Above all I give myself permission to thoroughly enjoy the kids I get to spend time with on a regular basis.
That is my contribution right now. That is all my body will allow me to contribute right now. That has to be enough for now. So even though I have been overwhelmed with a crushing sadness, a grieving for a child that I want right now, I am also hopeful. Hopeful that one day I will get the joy of seeing two pink lines on a test or hope that one day I will get to welcome a child into my home. In the mean time I will continue to take care of me, I will continue to spoil my animals, I will continue to love the kids around me, I will continue to fight PCOS by getting healthy and taking each step I need to in order to start the process of becoming a mother.
You just don’t give up on something you have wanted your whole life.