Having a baby doesn’t stop the emotions that come with infertility
I was dealt a better hand than a lot of couples who get the infertility card. My premature ovarian failure was diagnosed before I was even trying to have a baby and therefore I saved a small fortune by not taking a pregnancy test whenever my period failed to show, since I knew I wasn’t pregnant.
It was less than a year from the time I started infertility medications and procedures until I got pregnant, and even though we had some close calls, ultimately I gave birth to two small but healthy boys at just over 33 weeks pregnant. I got pregnant and had two babies faster than some couples without fertility issues even conceive, which in the world of infertility, kind of makes me a unicorn.
So in the grand scheme of things, I got lucky. Quick diagnosis, quick pregnancy, two healthy children that drive me nuts on a daily basis and a super small c-section scar that only shows when I’m naked. It’s because I got off pretty easy (my huge medical debt aside) that I don’t always feel justified sharing my infertility journey when I know there are others who struggled for years to become parents, or are still trying without success.
But being a mom now doesn’t change the fact that I still am, and forever will be infertile, and the pain of that truth will never go away.
I used to think that infertility was like having a deadly illness — it’s scary and you might not make it through to the other side, but if you do, you can put what happened behind you. The truth is that infertility is more like your shadow. You can forget about it for a while, but it’s always there, and sometimes it startles you when you’re not expecting it.
When a well meaning stranger asks when I’m going to “try for a girl” and I smile and say something polite while knowing that trying for another baby would take thousands of dollars I don’t have. When a friend tells me how she’s planning the dates when she has sex so she can avoid having a baby around any major holidays, and I remember wanting a baby so badly that it wouldn’t matter what day it was born on, as long as it was born. Or when I hear about a baby being abused or mistreated and I want to smash things because I know there are so many couples who want to get pregnant but can’t that would never treat their own child like that.
I’ll always be grateful for my children, for being one of the lucky women who was able to overcome her infertility temporarily and experience pregnancy. But a part of me will always wonder what it must be like to simply have sex and get pregnant.
This year’s National Infertility Awareness Week’s theme is #StartAsking. RESOLVE, the non-profit National Infertility Association behind this movement is challenging people talk to their health care providers about fertility options, to speak to employers about medical coverage for infertility medications and services and for those who have gone through or are dealing with infertility to share their stories.