To those for whom infertility has touched your life, I would like to say a few words to you. As we close Infertility Awareness Week, I know you are feeling a rollercoaster of emotions.
I know that infertility is a path that you likely feel you are walking alone. But you are not. The details are different but the struggle is the same. It is one I know you recognize.
Maybe you’re questioning if you’re being punished for waiting. In our youth, so many of us treat motherhood like a dream we can put on life’s layaway plan. We hustle and plan and cut our teeth in the grueling early years of adulthood, often pushing it further and further into our vision for the future.
In my case, I constantly told myself that I didn’t need to think about that just yet. Until one day, it was all I could think about. It was sudden and unexpected, hitting the walls of my heart at 100 mph, as my body and my mind wrestled for control. And when days of trying became months and then years, I felt the sting you feel now.
I know too well how vivid the memories are, no matter how much time passes. I can still see the stacks of oranges in the produce aisle of the supermarket when I felt the physical beginnings of my miscarriage. I remember the heartbreak of dreams deferred each time my period came. The painful procedures. The awkward questions from doctors. The fluorescent lights and pressure-filled sonograms. The empty sound of no heartbeat.
Even still, there was also possibility and, in my case, an incredible blessing from God. As I write this, my rainbow baby celebrates 9 wonderful months on this earth with us. While I know the pain you feel, I also got to experience the joy of feeling him kick and hearing his heartbeat in my belly. I am grateful for him in a way that stretches over the vastness of this earth, into the beyond. This is not hyperbole; it’s the love I pray you will experience one day too.
You may feel broken, but that does not mean you are.
My heart goes out to you today, especially in this unprecedented global pandemic when treatments have had to be put on pause. Because I know how it feels to stand in your shoes and cry your tears. I know the proverbial gut-punches of questions from family. The sting of feeling like your body has betrayed you.
But I promise you, you are stronger than you know.
Knowing where you are, then, I understand if today you roll your eyes at every story of hope. If, maybe, your heart simply wants a minute to be pissed off. To feel all the paradoxical, devastating and even judgmental feelings you feel. I make space for you as you resent those around you for whom it seems to come so easy, even as you know in your spirit that is completely unfair. I make space for you not wanting to hear success stories or even imagine believing it’s possible because it’s easier to accept defeat. To protect the most hardened heart, even the tell-tale one. I see you, I’ve been you.
But allow me then, to also make space for hope. Because sis, that is there too.
Though you may feel you are running out of time, you are not. Time is not your enemy, it merely operates by its own rules. But the love you have to give as a mother is eternal. Whether you conceive and carry to term, use a donor or surrogate, adopt, foster or simply share all you have to give in your heart with nieces, nephews and godchildren, I know that light is there waiting for you.
You are not forgotten. You are not lost. You may feel broken, but that does not mean you are.
And if nothing else, just know that hope – like that life you are praying to usher into this world – is always worth fighting for.