This week is National Infertility Awareness Week to help bring awareness to an astoundingly common situation. Women all over the country are fighting a diagnosis of infertility.
Many of you may not know but I am infertile. During my first marriage I got pregnant twice and lost both pregnancies. My doctor says I could spend thousands of dollars if I wanted to have a baby but I had friends that did that and that was not to be a part of my life. My children, had I not lost them, would be 12 and 14 years old and if they had become a part of my life, my life would be very different then it is today.
Being told by a doctor that you are likely never to have a baby brings up all sorts of feelings. It is very similar to a grief cycle. There is rebellion aka denial, “How dare you tell me I can’t do something. Just you watch!” There is anger, “Why not, damnit!” There is bargaining, “Well maybe if I just… maybe then it will work.” There is depression and a deep sense of failure, “Why am I broken? Why can I not do the one thing a woman is put on this earth to do?” Then there is acceptance, well I guess there is supposed to be acceptance but I don’t know many of us that got that far and most of us still have the anger or denial or many of us are just always bargaining.
I have lied to a great many number of people and just said, “Well I didn’t want a child anyway. They change everything.” But the sad reality is that is a lie that started out as a protective mechanism. It has in the end become more of a true statement but I can say with absolute honesty that I did want a child, actually I wanted at least two.
When I was a teenager a friend of the family lost her baby and I remember thinking that this had to be the most horribly painful thing that could happen to a person and in the end I was right.
When I was a teenager I was a nanny for a beautiful family. I gave those children my entire heart and they loved me back in a way I had never experienced before. I was laughed at for years because I would tell people that because of those two little girls I wanted 12 kids of my own. The love they give was just simply intoxicating. I realized, as I got older, that 12 might be a bit excessive so I settled on 2 or 3. I was one of 3, well 6 actually but 3 were grown and moved out before I came to be. I felt like 2 or 3 would be perfect. I wanted a boy first and then a girl because I wanted my little girl to have a protective and loving big brother just like I had but I would have been happy with any child if I had had the luxury to have one. Instead I have the vague memory of those few months I was given to hold my belly and dream of the life that would never come to be.
If you know someone with infertility be gentle and love them. And for God’s sake if you have family that have not had children STOP ASKING when they will have a baby because you may not know how much they very much want one and the private struggle they are going through.