{ My Constant Companion }

First comes love….

Then comes marriage…

Then comes…

Nothing?

Unless losing my mind and my sanity count for something. Oh yea, and lets not forget embarrassment (Nothing like continually exposing your lady bits to rooms full of strangers. And do you really want to know what happens to that should-be-radioactive, neon dye they shoot into your ovaries after the HSG? Didn’t think so.), confusion, loneliness, disappointment, grief, and a lot of anger, because there certainly is no baby carriage.

A lot of tears though. Enough tears to fill up a baby carriage. Tears every time I see a baby carriage.

Because I am…

(I can do this. Take in a deep breath. Exhale….)

INFERTILE.

For a person who was never quite sure I wanted a baby, I can not say how much this has rocked me to my core. It’s like everything I used as a landmark in life has shifted and everything I knew to be true, is not. Maybe the fact that I wasn’t always sure I wanted a baby is karmic retribution rearing it’s ugly head. Maybe being on the pill for a hundred years broke my lady parts. Maybe my busted plumbing is God’s way of telling me I’d be a crap parent. Maybe my head will pop off or spontaneously combust from wondering about the “what ifs”.

The thing about infertility is that it’s not neat and tidy. It’s not clearly defined. You can’t put it in a box with a clear border; a defined beginning, middle, or end. Why can’t it have an expiration date? Like a carton of milk. It’s unpredictable and has these huge implications that bleed into all areas of my life. It’s ALWAYS there following me around. A constant companion (I should name it. Eugenia or something equally ugly.). And more often than not it’s like this big, huge, elephant in the room. Sometimes I feel like it tramples me over. And over. And over.

I can not convey what it’s like to go through. It’s impossible. And  maybe that’s a good thing for people who haven’t dealt with infertility. I don’t wish it upon anyone. The feelings of loss and despair are not quantifiable.  Dr. Linda Applegarth sums it up pretty clearly saying “Having difficulty getting pregnant can cause as much grief as losing a loved one but it’s different. It is chronic and elusive. There’s a fear that life will be eternally empty. Some feel a sense of damage and brokenness; it goes to the heart of who they are.”

The heart of who I am.

Who am I? I know what I am not. I am not a Mom. I will never hear anyone say “I love you Mom.” I will never hold a beautiful, incredible miracle in my arms that my husband and I created.

What defines ME? How do I begin to define who I am when everything I thought I would be, I am…not? Complex identity issues, anyone?

How do I navigate myself in a world that constantly bombards me with pregnancy and “family” paraphernalia? How do I not feel invisible in a time of designer handbags and designer babies? Or judged by helicopter parents & grandparents for not having any kids? Living in a small town that’s a veritable breeding ground, people don’t always understand why I don’t want to be part of their kid-centric worlds. Let me help you out with that: IT IS TOO HEARTBREAKING. The “Mom Culture” is so pervasive and I know most don’t realize it because it is their everyday life, but comments often come across as gloating to those who have empty arms. Try as I might, I can not understand complaining about  not being able to nap. Or for having to change your plans because of a temper tantrum. Ultimately this is what you signed up for and your “bad” days will pass. Unlike you, I will live my loss every single day.

I wonder if I should print up a handbook with a picture of Eugenia the Elephant on the cover. Or a set of etiquette rules. While I try and let most insensitive comments and situations roll off my back, they still zing. Especially when it’s someone close to me who I feel should know better. I feel pressured to show up, wherever I go, with a smile on my face, even to kid centered events, even when it hurts to smile (baby showers, birthday parties, family events, Christmas) because it appears I have an “easy” life.  My wound is certainly not visible. It’s not an open, raw, oozing wound. I have nothing to show for it. You certainly can’t see it. You can’t see what my insides feel like on a triple dose of fertility drugs because the normal dosage has no effect. You don’t see me throwing up in the bathroom before surgery because I am so scared and nervous. You don’t see when I don’t get my period at all. For months. Or the cancer scare that accompanies that. You don’t see how tears negate the spot-on aim of my pitching arm (Thankfully. For the TV’s sake and my husband’s sake.). You can not see how it breaks my heart every time I see a mother locking eyes with her baby. You don’t see how a little piece of my soul dies every month my hope is dashed. Again. And again. You don’t see the pain that permeates every square inch of my being. It’s a continual struggle and it tests both my husband and me to our limits.

Sometimes laughter helps, sometimes sarcasm,  but sometimes the easiest thing for me to do is hide. Isolation is definitely one of my defence mechanisms (along with the odd bottle….oops, I mean glass, of wine, bourbon, tequila…). I’m not saying being alone is the best thing and I’m not trying to be selfish. It’s a simple matter of self-preservation.

And as much as I like to think I’m okay…I’m not sure I am – my infertility is always there. I wonder if Eugenia likes Balenciaga handbags? We might be together for a while and it would be nice to have something in common.

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11 thoughts on “{ My Constant Companion }

  1. well put Mel. after 6 years of infertility followed by another 2 years of infertility, 6 surgeries, countless tests, needles, drugs, 1 round of ivf and 1 miscarriage,I am happy to say I came out the other side. I know how lucky I am to have my babies and I feel your loss. I know the pain of getting that period that you prayed not to have but I also know the joy of a positive pregnancy test. I wish you could have that. it sucks for you and Darren and it is so not fair. it is good that you chose to write about it, you did a great job.

  2. clearly we don’t have the perfect thing to say to make it all better… but we hurt for you… we ache for you… and we love you so incredibly much. xo

  3. Mel,
    Thank you for being so honest about your feelings. Having lost my “lady bits” to a nasty tumor, I have had many of these thoughts and feelings. I think it would be helpful if many people could read this post.

    I wish I had sage words of wisdom from being a few years ahead of you, but alas I do not.

  4. Proud of you for that post Mel. After many early miscarriages (which we just found out the clinical reason for last week) and years trying, Kim and I just went public and told as many people as we could about our struggles just to end the endless questions about why we didn’t have kids. I think you are right that it isn’t even something that people think about unless they have had struggles and now that we do have Malachi, I am glad of your reminder about the sensitivity of it. Keeping you and Darren in our thoughts and prayers.

  5. Nothing I’ve tried to type as a response to your heart-wrenching post seems adequate. But I hope that the writing of it and posting of it can bring you peace or some sort of relief of the emotions that are so palpable in your every word. It can’t have been easy, but I’m glad you shared this.

    Thinking of you.

  6. I just stumbled across your blog via Tastespotting, when I saw this post. You’ve described the pain of infertility so well, and so vividly–I’m so very sorry that you’re going through this now, and I really hope that one day you get to be a mom. Best of luck.

  7. I stumbled upon your blog and have been following it for a while, when i read this post. Although I cant say that I “feel your pain” because I have not but I do know this. I know the Healer of your body, the very One who created you, who formed you in your mothers womb. I’ve been talking to Him about you, praying that He would send healing to someone I’ve never met and have no idea whether or not know Him. I know that He heals, I’ve seen it. I know that He wants to, it brings Him great Joy, and i’m earnestly praying that He will. Just to show you how much He loves you, and cares about every detail. My heart aches for you, and I’m talking to the only One who has the power to change your situation.
    God loves you,
    Christ died for you
    and He wants to heal your body
    just talk to Him about it
    I will be

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