Yesterday, while trying to fit laundry into a piano lesson I forgot about, a meeting with a decorator, 2 pick-ups, and the 4th dental appointment of the week, the question of fertility–and infertility–came up to me. Out of the blue. Twice.
That was oddly coincidental. Or not. Because as severely as I struggled with this issue, those struggles are so far in my rearview mirror now that I almost can’t make out shape or color anymore.
But I remember. Oh, I remember. A person doesn’t forget a thing like that.
One person asked me if I had ever written about my struggles. I actually had to search my blog to see if I had. I searched on “infert” to cover all forms of the word and came up with 3 or 4 posts that were Mother’s Day related. All of them were good for me to read again. All of them began at infertility and ended at adoption. None of them really talked about what we’d been through. And it occurred to me that people don’t really talk about it enough.
There were a few people I talked to about everything and a few reasons I didn’t want to talk about it with anyone else.
- Everyone’s a critic. Even people who don’t mean to be sometimes are. Every single treatment I pursued was something that I first grappled with inside my mind. Todd and I both agonized over the expense and the decisions. We didn’t need a panel of self-proclaimed experts pointing out our mistakes as they saw them.
- Everyone’s got an opinion. I heard most of them over the course of 4 years.
- Everyone’s got a story. You may have been through some stuff, too. Maybe infertility. Maybe miscarriages. Maybe anxiety. But you have never been me and I have never been anyone else. Your story is your story. Mine is mine. We can understand each other, but we are not the same. I try to remember this as I go forward also. I’ve been through a LOT in my journey to my family. But I can’t know exactly what you are facing in yours. And I can’t tell you what you should do with yours or what’s right for you. Only you can do that. I certainly can’t tell you to do as I did.
I think what bothered me the most during those years was not knowing how my story would end. I didn’t want or need to hear “Your day is coming. Things are going to work out.” I knew that. But how were they going to work out? And more desperately critical, when? When?
But the one question I asked that was harder than the how or the when and 100% unanswerable was why? Why was the woman at the edge of my neighborhood who was strung out on drugs 8 months pregnant, but I wasn’t? Why were there girls sitting in waiting rooms considering abortions for a pregnancy they didn’t want but I could not find my way to one I desperately wanted? Why were there couples getting pregnant after 5 minutes of marriage and I couldn’t manage it after 5 years?
The why question is unanswerable. Always. Why is there cancer? Or autoimmune disorders? Or mental illness? Or accidents? These things just are. And sometimes they fall on us.
Over the course of 4 years, I transitioned from a girl who cried in bathroom stalls when my monthly cycle ended another few weeks of hoping to a girl who was ready to ask the real question:
It isn’t why or when. It simply is what now.
Anyone can do the what now. Anyone.
So since I’ve been asked, and since I’ve been around the block 78 times, and since I’ve emerged on the other side with 4 children, and since I’ve done therapy, and surgeries, and IVF, and medicines, and adoption, and pregnancy, and C-sections, I’m going to write it all down. Maybe it will help someone. Maybe it will only help me as my oldest boy prepares for his senior year of high school and I prepare to watch him leave.
It has been a journey. And it was often a dark and difficult one. But I wouldn’t change a second of it. Not one second. I wouldn’t reverse the tears or the breakdowns or even the months and months upon years and years of waiting. Because those things prepared me to be a mom. And those things brought me here.
And right here feels pretty good.