Sunday, August 30, 2009

Once an infertile, always an infertile

The day that I would finally see a positive outcome on a pregnancy test was a day I had dreamed of for many years. I had imagined all of the amazing feelings I would have, and I had often thought about the simple wonderful-ness of it all.

One thing that I never considered was that I would still have to deal and cope with all of the emotions brought about by infertility. While finally being pregnant did produce the amazing feeling that I had dreamt it would, suffering from infertility had changed things so much for me. I guess in a way I thought that the feelings of inadequacy, fear, emptiness, guilt, and pain would just go away when I was with child.

But those feelings are still here.

All along, I think I've known that having a baby wouldn't be a cure-all for the pain of infertility, but I wanted to believe it would. I wanted to believe that someday I would never again have to feel the terrible pain that infertility brings.

A couple weeks ago, when I visited my OB for the first time, I really struggled with facing my infertility. It began in the waiting room, which was full of hugely pregnant women and mothers with their young babies. As I sat there, I began to feel a bit of anxiety. At first, I thought it was a habitual reaction. After all, for the past 6 years I have been reacting that way in similar situations. After thinking about it more, though, I realized that I struggled because I felt like I didn't belong there. Infertility can really isolate. For years, I haven't belonged in crowds of pregnant women and young, new mothers. Even though I was now pregnant, in my mind, I still didn't belong there. I didn't get to that place the same way those women did. I traveled a long, hard road that others cannot understand unless they too have traveled that way. I am infertile... even though I am pregnant... I am still infertile.

Then, when my doctor called me back for my appointment, we spent the first 20 minutes reliving the long, ugly history of my woman health problems and infertility. Detail by detail I shared with him the journey of the last six years and, once again, those all-too-familiar feelings of broken-ness and failure and shame crept up. Bearing children is a basic function of a woman. Why couldn't I do it like everyone else?

I also have struggled with questions that people ask when they find out I am expecting. The Oh were you surprised when you found out? and, How did you find out? are hard comments for me to hear. I know this probably sounds silly, but in so many ways I feel ashamed that I don't have the traditional story of One day my husband and I decided to have a baby, and the next month I was late so I tested and BOOM found out we were pregnant!

I know that this is just stuff that I need to work through. I need to forgive myself for the six years of doctors and meds and counts and tests because I carry guilt for all of that. Guilt that I know (cognitively) is ridiculous, but guilt that is there nonetheless.

This post is long and rambling, and I'm not sure that I have completely conveyed my feelings. I really just want to share that I have come to the realization that I will probably always, on some level, have to deal with my infertility. Even with our enormous blessing on the way, infertility still haunts me some days when I think about the future, when I wonder if I really will have a baby in February, when I wonder if this child will ever have siblings, when others get pregnant so easily or by "accident", when I hear young couples spouting their perfectly laid plans for the future, or when I am sitting in a waiting room of expectant mothers.

I just pray that God continues to give me the strength to face it.


Lisa said...

I completely understand. I still have a hard time when I hear pregnancy announcements.

Tracy said...

I am sorry you are stuggling with this situation.
I struggle with friends that say they are going shopping with their MOM!! Or that they are going to their parents for the weekend.
I wish I had a mom that called to eat lunch, shop or hang out with. I struggle with not being jealous of their relationship. I really have a hard time when they complain about their mothers. I really have to put on a face when we go to in-laws because I wish my kids were going to see my parents (their other grandparents).
Hang in there girl. The first step is realizing it:) Good job!! Love ya

Tracy said...

Okay, you are still on my heart. You were infertile for 6 years and have been pregnant for 4 months so maybe time will heal. I know a lot of it is hormonal:)