It has been over two months since my last blog post, these two months have FLOWN by, it’s like I blinked and its already mid-May…how does this even happen?! At the end of March we moved into our forever house and have been busy making it feel like home, we absolutely love it and can’t wait to raise baby girl here! 😊
For the first time in 4-years, National Infertility Awareness Week (April 21-27th) slipped by without me making my yearly post about how much infertility feels life shattering. I thought about writing something every day that week, but the truth is, even with this little peanut growing and kicking inside me, the pain of infertility is still very raw and I’m overly conscientious to my friends who are still waiting for their miracle. I’m also not naive to the fact that some would likely read my awareness post and think “yeah but you’re pregnant now, so shut up and move on” because I know that is exactly what I would have done nearly 7-months ago.
In my opinion, infertility has a weird way of segregating people, those in the trenches of the painful infertility struggle and those who have made it to the other side. When I was in the thick of it all, anyone who made it to parenthood was different. They just were. I felt like they no longer had to feel the pain of what I was going through, and although I was happy for them, I also felt like they didn’t understand. How could they, they achieved what I longed for.
Thinking about it now, I’m realizing more and more everyday that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Granted, baby girl isn’t here yet, but I.STILL.GET.IT. I get the struggle, I feel the pain, I have not forgotten how every single pregnancy is a gift and a crazy science experiment that could go 2,864,156-ways wrong and 1-way perfect all at the same time. I often wonder how there are so many people in this world when pregnancy can be so complicated. It baffles me. Somedays I can’t believe we are only 3-months away from meeting our miracle and I’m overcome with gratitude that I burst out into happy tears. Otherdays, I’m triggered by something I hear or see online and I’m overcome by empathy and sorrow. It’s still very real. My fears that this will (still) not actually happen for us is very, very, real. It has gotten better over the months, but it is still hard to imagine we’ve made it this far. We are so close.
Mother’s Day is tomorrow. For the last 5 years, Mother’s Day has been one of the most painful days of the year and a tender reminder that I was not a mother. Over the years, I’ve chosen to forgo some family and social events that celebrate mothers, because it was just too hard. I didn’t miss these events because I was selfish or childish, I missed them because I needed to care for myself. I knew it would be impossible to keep my composure, and subjecting myself to fake-happy is something I’ve never been good at. I remember specifically, two years ago, I laid in bed all day crying on and off on Mother’s Day because the feeling of despair and hopelessness around not being a mother was soo soo real. It just wasn’t fair. This is infertility.
Last year, my 30th birthday fell right on Mother’s Day, with skillful planning and every attempt to avoid what had happened the previous year, we were seated on a ship in the Greek Islands rather then being at home, this was super helpful, but obviously not something we could afford to every year! I’d highly recommend anyone who feels how I felt to get out of dodge and besides sending a card or call to your favorite mothers, avoid the day completely.
Here are a few tips I wish people would have used with me during Mother’s Day weekend (or any other time for that matter)….Do not ask or say anything along these lines, especially if you have no idea if they are struggling with infertility.
- “When are you guys going to have kids?”
- “You guys should start having kids soon, you’re getting older, you don’t want to be like 60 when they graduate!”
- “Don’t you guys want kids?”
- “You’re so lucky you don’t have kids!” or “You can have mine (kids)!”
- “Just relax and it will happen” *Or any kind of conceiving story about how easily you got pregnant.
- “I know someone, who knows someone, who did (insert thing) and got pregnant right away”
- “You’ll be a mom someday!”
- “Maybe it just isn’t meant to be” Or “It will happen when it happens” Or “its in gods plans.”…. Just don’t.
The list can go on and on, but these are a few big ones. If you notice that cousin Susan isn’t at Mother’s Day brunch tomorrow, maybe she wasn’t feeling it. It doesn’t make her a bad person, she isn’t selfish, she isn’t anti-social, she may be protecting herself.
It’s not uncommon for people to NOT talk about their fertility struggles, not everyone is an open book and there is a lot of shame and secrecy around infertility. Don’t pry into people’s reproductive lives unless they’ve opened that door for conversation, they may not be ready. If they’ve posted about their struggles or talked openly about them, chances are high that they will welcome conversation/questions/and support.
To my friends still dealing with infertility, do what you need to do for yourselves this Mother’s Day, it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to not be okay.
To my friends that have no idea what infertility is like, be supportive and listen, it’s okay to not give advice, a sincere ear is much more helpful anyways.
Tessa and baby (25+5weeks 😊)