Infertility is a balancing act.
It’s becoming an actress: putting on that smile that takes every muscle in your body to muster up when you feel like falling on the floor in despair. It’s also letting your guard down enough to experience the cleansing emotional release of feelings when you are so well trained at wearing a mask. Its keeping true to who you were before infertility and finishing what you’ve started before giving your life to this new venture on your path to parenthood; you can’t be a happy parent if you aren’t a happy you. Infertility has made me understand that no one, not friends, family or acquaintances will ever understand what I am going through; emotionally, physically, socially, or otherwise, so it’s unfair of me to expect the grace of anyone’s sympathy, or empathy, in my times of darkness. Those are my growing moments and the times that season my inner self with the motivation and determination that I need to carry on and be happy, and trust in my own self that I can make it through another day.
Infertility is keeping myself together in the times when I just want to rip my hair out and give up; but it’s also trusting in my hairdresser to know exactly how to camouflage my patches of momentary failure. It’s making it through the first milestones that you know should be celebrated, but you refuse to: the first Mother’s Day that I can’t mentally acknowledge, the due-date that I had waited years for that will come and go with nothing to look forward to, and the times in between when I think about what “should be” but realize what is not. Infertility is a monster that has made me doubt everything I have ever believed, but at the same time has shown me strengths about myself I never knew I had.
This isn’t an entry to tell the world how strong I am, or that I’m some kind of Superwoman. It’s to tell other women that plainly, infertility sucks. There is no “fair” part about any of it, no matter how you justify it, and no matter how hard you try, to some degree, it does define you. You can’t hide this part of yourself in an attempt to mask the pain or the disappointment, and it’s not easy to say that we should “embrace” such an unfair and tragic aspect of our lives. I fight the battle every day to tell people I’m doing “great” when they ask, because I’m not. I’m surviving, and that’s all you can do until you understand what role infertility will have in your life. Finding my way through infertility defining me happened fairly quickly after we lost our son and first experienced life without the possibility of carrying a child. I didn’t wake up from surgery and say, “I’m going to help other people tomorrow”, but I did know that there had to be a way that other women make it through this with their sanity; I was determined to find that secret and tell every person I know struggling with this problem.
Accept what is and find a way that you can survive knowing you’re different. People fight their own battles every day, but that doesn’t make it any easier for a woman to experience her God-given ability to carry a child be taken away. I will have children, whether they are adopted or carried by another woman for me, they will be mine no less that if they grew in my own body; infertility has changed my life, but infertility will not change my future.