Blogging isn't really my thing. I can enjoy it now and again, but my life is too boring to make regular blogging easy. But this week is very near and dear to my heart. So I always try to post at least once.
You see, it's National Infertility Awareness Week. It's the week when I, like so many, chose to finally step out of the closet and turn the light on for all to see. It's just about impossible for me to explain to someone who hasn't experienced infertility personally, just why it is so difficult to initially share with others about your struggle. There are so many things in life that we tell to anyone who will listen. But when you find yourself walking down this lonely path, the last thing you feel like doing is sharing it with others.
We feel broken. Like we are missing parts. (Some are actually missing parts!) We feel like failures.
God created man and woman and told them to procreate. Simple right? As little kids we sing "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage". As little girls, we play with dolls and say that when we grow up we want to be a mommy. It's a natural part of society. It's something you don't question, but rather something you just know will happen.
Then come those years. The years in our lives where (most) worry about getting pregnant. Kenny Chesney said it well in "There Goes My Life".
And in the blink of an eye, you're finally married and ready to start your own family. Some plan it all out. "I want to have my first child when I am 24, my second when I am 27 and then maybe one more in another couple years." Or "I want to finish college and get a steady job. Then we can buy a house and save up some money before we get pregnant." The list goes on.
But for 1 in 8 couples, couples just like my husband and I, those dreams and plans are all tossed in a blender, and spun all to hell. We start out counting the months. Then as those months turn into a year or two, we find ourselves at a specialist, being poked and prodded in ways most never imagine possible. We find ourselves taking drugs that require us to sometimes ask random people to give us a shot that will leave a huge and nasty bruise and will cause us to act like a raging lunatic at times. Then a few weeks later, we learn once again that it was all for nothing... again.
It's tough. It turns your life upside down. For me, I went from being "that person" who loved all babies, kids and pregnant bellies, to being the one who ran out of a church service, hysterical, because I found myself literally surrounded by pregnant ladies, newborn babies and young families as the pastor began a sermon on parenting. I became the one who can't attend baby showers and "hides" posts and sometimes friends, on Facebook because I can't bear to see another belly shot or ultrasound picture. And worst of all, I became the one who couldn't bear to be around babies.
Some women are caught completely off guard when they find themselves struggling to get pregnant. For me, there were some precursors that occurred in my early twenties that led me to enough awareness to know that it just might be more difficult for me than others. I went through periods after that of denial, when I was convinced it wouldn't be that way. But I went through more periods of grief when I was certain it would become my struggle. I suppose if I am honest, then I have at least a small amount of thankfulness for the events that warned me of what might be in my future. To some degree, it would have been nice to not think about those things in my early twenties, before meeting my husband. But knowledge is power. I knew it might happen. I know that I shouldn't wait long. (Doctors had forewarned me to try on my own for 6 months and then seek a specialist.) I knew not to "wait for the right time" before starting to try. And for that, I am thankful. Because as I sit here 5 years later, still without a child, I know if I had waited any longer than I did to start trying, then my pain and grief would be that much worse.
The biggest thing that infertility took from me was my hope. My hope for the future that I always envisioned. Everyone walking this journey, struggles in their own personal way. And each one of us have to take the path that feels right for us. And healing comes in different ways, at different times, for each one of us. The first step I took towards healing was the day I "came out of the infertility closet". The second step I took was when we decided to stop treatments and start the adoption process.
Infertility is real. Infertility is ugly. Infertility is painful. And infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. Be aware. Be conscious. Be aware of what you say to others. Words can be like salt in an open wound.
Awareness is the key to conquering all diseases. Help those of us struggling to increase awareness of this emotionally painful disease.