First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes the baby in the baby carriage… except for some of us. It doesn’t. Yah that got real, real quick. The part no one wants talks about. The part you feel guilty talking about. The part you just want to happen, except it won’t. That part. A fertility journey that started with excitement only to become complicated and painful.
I’m one of those girls who always wanted to be a mom, bake apple pies, sing silly songs, and teach her kids about the life. I never had the desire to go forth and conquer the world by curing cancer or walking in space. Those things were super cool, they just weren’t me. Which is a confusing place to find yourself. Filled with a passion you have no way to fulfill. You can’t study more, earn another degree, try harder. It either happens OR it doesn’t. That’s all there is to it. No one could have prepared me for what my fertility journey was going to look like. No one.
Smack Dab In The Middle
I wish I was sharing this with you on the flip side of it all, but I’m not. I’m right smack dab in the middle. On my period feeling a bit down at the moment, because maybe, just maybe this would have been the month. I say a bit down because it’s a vast improvement on how I would have handled slapping on a winged pad last year. Or the year before. Or the year before that. I would have worn a smile while silently retreating… full on refusing to find my little grain of mustard-seed faith. So I consider this moment a complete victory. A moment where I’ve not only started letting go, but a moment where I’ve started sharing. Because there’s no way I’m alone. There’s no way I’m the only one wondering why my fertility journey is taking…well…years.
Sharing through the pain, acknowledging my reality, yet refusing to allow it to define me.
For a minute this post wasn’t going to happen. One, it’s super personal. Surely to be followed by an infinite amount of how-to-get-knocked-up advice guaranteed to suggest everything from getting drunk, to just pretending like you aren’t trying, to not being stressed, to eating healthier and losing weight, to the when it’s God’s time pow wows. None of that helped -or- helps. Sure it’s logical- rational even. But, for all the rationality in the world that a hurting heart can muster it does nothing. You feel more than nothing. You feel misunderstood and alone in the darkest kind of ways.
As I’ve walked the path of watching dear friends and family pop out kids like a toaster on fire I’ve come to a certain understanding. For every kiddo welcoming the world with bright eyes there’s one that never makes it. There’s pregnancies never announced. There’s off handed comments of, “sure we want kids one day”… total code for “let’s SHUT UP now”. There are so many women unsure of how and when and with whom to open their hearts. Partially because once you open your heart about the realities of your fertility journey, a slew of how-tos could begin and never end. It’s the worst kind of game to play.
Layers, Like An Onion
This process has revealed layers… like an onion (who doesn’t love a good Shrek reference)! And though I would never wish this on anyone yearning to welcome a child I’ve learned some pretty incredible things about myself, my husband, and my faith. Without even realizing it.
Who knew I was so upset that my birth mother could pop me out at 13 years old. She clearly didn’t have a problem. So why can’t my 32 year old self seem to make it happen? I was responsible. I waited. I got married. I’ve worked and supported myself for well over a decade. What gives?
Who knew I resented my husband for changing his mind on starting a family the year after we married? Circumstances beyond our control moved us to different parts of the state, spiraled him into a funk, and then moved us away from family as we pursued his calling in the medical field. How was that fair? He’s living his dream. He’s fulfilling his path. I wouldn’t know how that feels.
Who knew I would have trouble enjoying my husband? To see him as only a lover was pushed far away as the thought of imminent pain would follow. A form of self sabotage if you will. My body shutting down to protect itself from further heartache. Is that even normal?
Who knew that I believed I could control the affairs of my body? Stop consuming too much coffee. Work out, not for the sake of self love or self respect, but for the idea that “it might help”. Take your temp. Pee on sticks. Track your cycle. Do it when you ovulate. Check, check, check. Except it didn’t check off the baby box. End game not complete. Statistically speaking this thing should have already worked. I’m doing all the right things so what does that say about me?
Who knew I would question God’s sovereigness? I was under the impression that as a woman of faith I could summon faith from the depths and conquer all.
I’ve come to understand that walking in faith is NOT a guarantee that my version of success will materialize.
I’ve come to truly understand that He does not exist for me… I exist for Him. I am not guaranteed my version of a happy ending, but that my ending is indeed a happy one. I can in fact be a woman of faith AND in pain. AND have all the feelings. AND be frustrated. BUT despite those emotions I have hope because He is my hope. No one could have made me understand this. It was something I had to experience, something I had to discover and uncover.
Even though I’ve moved on to the next “phase” of my fertility journey, you can bet there are still tears, fears, and the general overarching sense of isolation. Remember? I’m a realist. I know these feelings are here to stay for a minute. Right now I can’t imagine life without them. What I can tell you is that I respect myself enough to embrace them. I don’t have to play nice, pretend it’s ok, or smile just because. What I am responsible for is continuing to seek His face and ask for His grace while believing that He will meet me and fulfill me in whatever way I truly need. Baby or no baby. Some days this understanding lives in my head and others it also lives in my heart. It will remain a battle I fight for quite some time to be honest. But it’s one I’m stepping up to fight, not one I’m letting rule me.
In The Thick Of It
I’m not sure what this next year will bring, but I will keep this series updated. Dan has to work one year at CMC Main before we qualify for assistance with fertility treatment. We also have BIG decisions to make on whether or not to start a journey of adoption. One would think that with my being adopted this is a clear no brainer? We shall see.
At the end of my posts I always say hugs… but today, I mean it in a deep-deep way. Hugs. Hugs to you no matter what state of this journey you are on. Hugs to my fellow believers. Hugs to those who believe differently than me. Hugs to those who choose not to believe anything. The feelings are real, deep, and confusing no matter who you are. I’m there. I get it. But boy am I thankful to have hope.
Hugs, because handshakes are awkward~