Oh infertility and the woes you cause! According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, infertility means : not able to reproduce: not able to produce children. Once someone is diagnosed with infertility, many emotions can arise. Infertility affects individuals in different ways. Some find relief in finally knowing why they can’t conceive. Others feel defeated because they were given the diagnosis of “undetermined infertility.” Many are left heartbroken, angry or depressed, wondering what is wrong with them when everyone else seems to be able to conceive. And some view it as a sign that they weren’t meant to be parents.
Infertility is tricky. It is also something not often talked about. Friends and family may react to your infertility by either pretending it doesn’t exist or by giving you a long list of people they knew who were also infertile and what they did. This can be very frustrating. There is really nothing that can be said or done to relieve the sting of the diagnosis. For some women, it may not be that big of a deal. For others it can feel like the end of the world.
I fell somewhere in the middle. My husband and I had always planned on adopting down the road, but we had planned on having a biological child or two as well. I really wanted to be a mom and looked forward to experiencing pregnancy. I also wanted to parent a newborn. We were told by 3 doctors we had 0% chance of conceiving so we didn’t have to wonder “if” we’d ever get pregnant. It was black and white—no grey area in sight. While this was a crushing blow, I still wanted to be a mom. It was a bit hard to swallow at first, but I realized that I wasn’t supposed to become a mom by conception.
Now that doesn’t mean that I just blinked my eyes and all the pain of infertility went away. From everyone I’ve talked to, infertility tends to cling to you no matter how much you love your children through adoption. Some can push the pain to the back of their mind while others can’t. That is OK. Infertility is not “one size fits all.” There isn’t and shouldn’t be a time limit to “get over” the way you feel. To be honest, you will probably never be fully over it. That doesn’t mean you love your children any less, although some people think that. I struggled with not conceiving well after my daughter was born even though I was overjoyed to be a mom. Don’t get me wrong, things definitely got easier for me as time went on. I no longer cried during pregnancy test commercials. However, I still dreaded baby showers and often wondered why those who seemed “unfit” were able to conceive but I couldn’t. Six years after adopting our first child, most days I’d tell you that I’ve found peace with my infertility or even that I’ve gotten over it. Then I hear someone else is pregnant and I feel a twinge of jealousy and maybe a bit of anger deep down in my gut. I don’t feel this way all the time, it is mostly when it’s someone who doesn’t take care of their kids or said they never wanted kids, etc.
My point about infertility is even if the world is waiting for you to just “get over” it, you don’t have to. You really can’t. It’s not something that just goes away. The pain may always linger or sneak up on you out of the blue. For me, time and loving every moment of motherhood helped. Through writing about infertility I’ve learned that time doesn’t heal everyone’s wounds. If you are struggling with infertility know your feelings are normal. It is okay to tell people that you need space and cannot just “get over” it. Know that there isn’t a magic cure. But also know that for a lot of women, it does get better.