It’s National Infertility Awareness Week.
Last year at this time, I was in one of the darkest places of my life. This year for NIAW, I am 34 weeks pregnant. My, how much can change in a year.
Right now, I’m focused on baby showers, car seat bases, and crib mattresses, but I am still infertile. My first 14 weeks of pregnancy were wrought with anxiety, and even now I have moments of terror that my baby will be born still. I picture my life in shambles after such a tragedy.
When people are excited about my pregnancy – when they want to touch my belly, or talk about names, or ask how I’m feeling – it shocks me. I never really learned how to be excited for pregnant people. I only knew how to envy them in a deep, dark, painful place in my heart, and I shut down around them because of this horrible feeling.
I don’t expect people to be happy for me, but they are, and I don’t deserve their kindness. Deep down, I still feel like a bitter infertile.
I am still infertile because pregnancy announcements still hurt. It’s a little easier to be enthusiastic, and I certainly don’t feel like someone is carving my heart out with a dull, rusty spoon anymore. But it doesn’t feel good.
I will always be infertile because I cannot remember my positive pregnancy test from IVF #2 without also remembering the many, many negative pregnancy tests. Those negatives are like tiny pebbles in my heart, as opposed to a giant boulder crushing my chest, but they are still there.
And I am still infertile because my son is not even born yet and I already worry that I won’t be able to give him a sibling.
Infertility has colored every aspect of my life. It has taught me how to be a better friend, wife, person. I am more patient. I am far, far more humble. I understand that I am not in control. I have learned how to advocate for myself as a medical consumer. I have learned to never assume anything about anyone’s family situation. I have learned to keep my mouth shut.
These lessons are valuable, but they were hard earned. Infertility is a life crisis. Don’t ignore it – don’t ignore friends going through it, don’t ignore those of us who are temporarily pregnant infertiles. Don’t ignore your support system when everything goes dark around you.