Infertility After the Storm – 3 Things I Gained Back
1. All of those baby questions and comments that made me rage and simultaneously want to sob, lost their power. In fact, they no longer bother me at all. Here’s an example of what I am talking about. A week or so ago, a friend text me one morning and said something along the lines of, “I had a dream you were pregnant, and my dreams like these are usually highly accurate so don’t be surprised if it happens!”. A year and a half ago this text would have infuriated me. I would have said all sorts of crazy things to my husband about how asinine and insensitive this friend is, and how I never want to be around her again. I would have known that I was being overly dramatic and emotional about this simple, innocent text, but I wouldn’t have been able to help myself, truly I wouldn’t. The difference of what happened now, two years out from infertility treatment, was two-fold. One, I laughed when I read it, knowing it’s 100% physiologically impossible for us to have anymore “random” pregnancies (I’ll let you read between the lines here), and two, I felt absolutely no ill will towards my friend. In fact, I worried more about not wanting to embarrass her with my response of “I think we might break your psychic dream streak”. It was honestly freeing, to get a text like this and not spiral over it and have my day take a turn in an instant.
All of that being said, I want to acknowledge that I very much can understand how and why those innocent questions and comments are highly upsetting in the thick of infertility and could be even after. They absolutely wrecked me each time for a solid three years, and I never in a million years imagined my reaction would ever be any different even if we had a child. There’s no timeline or manual on how and when these comments and questions become easier, and for some, maybe it’s never. For me though, it has been an extremely gratifying release from such a tight grip infertility has held on my life.
2. I enjoy being around other children far more than I did when I was in the deepest throes of infertility. Nearly all of my social events now are playdates with friends and family and their kids, and it's amazing. Just recently some of my family came out to visit and I got to watch my daughter spend the weekend with four of her girl cousins, and it felt surreal. For the first time in a long time, I could just fully be present in the moment and not feel a secret pain being the only adult in the group with no little one to chase after and be fully responsible for. Once again, I feel a sense of freedom and relief from yet another difficult grasp infertility has had on my life.
Again though, this is just my perspective coming out on the other side of infertility, and I know that this healing might not come as soon or as easily for others. It really is just another unfair and hard to explain consequence of infertility. I’ve always loved my nieces and nephews and all of my friends’ children, and I would have done anything for them, but it wasn’t exactly my first choice to hang around them and their parents. This is for no other reason than, it was a reminder of what we lost and felt we would never have. This release from the damage of infertility, I am especially thankful for though. Life is short, and I wouldn’t want to miss out anymore on the FULL joy of being around loved ones and their children.
3. Pregnancy announcements, pregnant friends, pregnant people on TV, pregnant people on social media, etc., no longer make me jealous, bitter, or sad. If you’ve been through infertility, you most likely know what I’m talking about. I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s been through or is going through infertility that hasn’t felt these negative emotions towards pregnancy. Maybe it’s the age-old issue of wanting what you can’t have that drives you to almost an elementary level of jealousy, I’m not sure, but whatever the cause, I just know I’m glad to be free of it. I know numerous people that are pregnant right now, and I feel nothing but happiness and hope for them. It no longer feels forced to send a simple, “how are you feeling” text to a pregnant friend, rather it’s out of genuine curiosity and care.
Just the same as the previous two points above, however, I understand that being set free from this aspect of infertility is not so simple. I was able to be pregnant and ultimately have a child through my own pregnancy which likely rapidly sped up the healing process for me. I know that this is not true for everyone, and I can only hope that, even without the gift of pregnancy, others are still released from this painful infertility stronghold.