I had an evening full of goosebumps and teary eyes reading through so many beautiful emails this past week filled with your own heartfelt stories as many of you have worked to build your families in response to my last post. Thank you for taking the time to share them with me. I wish I could re-share all of them here.
One of the common themes I kept seeing in many of your emails is the pain often felt when commentary is offered up like, “just be patient,” or “I know it’ll happen for you soon…” or with secondary infertility, comments like “Well at least you have one!” or “But you got pregnant easily the first time so it’s not the same.” While I have learned with a lot of time attached to my own experiences that commentary like this often comes from a place of the commentator trying to lend support, I have felt that sting when someone tries to tell you your pain isn’t valid. Mostly, they just don’t understand your pain. And while someone else’s pain may indeed be greater, bigger, or ever so present, it does not invalidate yours, whatever your situation or circumstance may be. I am confident as we continue to share more open conversations around battling delayed conception and secondary infertility, we will better learn how to show up for one another and our different stories with a full show of support in both our words and actions. I really believe we are on track for that and it makes me so hopeful. Thank you for being individuals in this community who want to help shine a light on the complexities of this topic and give support and encouragement to others walking through it, however different their walk may be from yours.
A FEW OF YOUR STORIES….
“When my oldest brother got married, his in-laws forced him to get tested for a genetic abnormality that runs in our family and can create serious complications around conception and birth. He didn’t have the gene (thankfully). A few years later as my next brother got ready for marriage, my parents had the three remaining siblings tested just so we would know what we were heading into when we got married. All three of us were carriers.
When I was about to be engaged I remember being so nervous to talk about it. What if my almost fiancé didn’t want to marry me because of this genetic abnormality? He still wanted to marry me (phew), and after a few years of marriage we decided we wanted to start having kids. So we started talking to IVF doctors. I decided to post about it on my blog and we documented the journey there. Our first round of IVF we only got one embryo that we could implant that did not have the marker. By a miracle, that embryo took and is now our rambunctious three year old. We did a second round of IVF about a year ago and also ended up with only one embryo, that took and is now our squishy 11 month old.
I share this with you because we didn’t face normal infertility. In fact, we got pregnant before IVF but found out at our 15 week appointment the baby had died two weeks prior due to the genetic complications I carry. That ripped me apart. And then my SIL [sister-in-law] got knocked up by her boyfriend of two months. We spent all Christmas break with them at my in-laws and I cried every night. I was so desperate for a baby and so daunted by the process of IVF. And at the time, I felt like my SIL didn’t even want a baby and here she was about to have one. It all seemed so unfair. Not to mention the people asking if I felt morally wrong for doing IVF for genetic purposes (literally something I hadn’t even thought to consider until this oh so kind stranger asked).
Moral of the story, fertility treatments can be so isolating. It is such a hard burden to carry and there are so many reasons women go through them. And how grateful I am for this miracle modern medicine that facilitates the processes of fertility treatments! I know it can be so hard to share, but, like you, as I’ve shared my experiences so many women have shared theirs with me. Nothing made me cry more than when one of my friends who had confided in me their infertility problems (because of my blog) called me on my birthday to tell me that after 6 years of trying and a round of IVF they were expecting their first child.”
“Thank you for sharing your story. For the past few years we struggled with secondary infertility, and now we finally have our little baby brother here. Before going through this I had no idea how painful it could be. The feelings of wanting to grow our family, hold another baby and have a sibling for our daughter were so desperate and intense that it is impossible for me to describe. I would start crying silently on the subway when I watched siblings play together, or if I saw someone pregnant. If someone told me they were pregnant I would try to smile and congratulate, then I would go home and sob alone in my bed. And people started asking questions like «Dont you want another baby soon?» or «The age gap is getting bigger and bigger!» I know they didn’t mean anything wrong, but it hurts so bad. At one point we got pregnant, but at the 12 week scan the doctor found no heartbeat and it turned out we had a missed misscarriage. I know loosing a baby like that feels very different to different people, and to me that loss was the biggest loss I have ever felt, actually much harder than loosing friends and family in the past. Because this was my child. I never got to hold him or her in my arms, but I carried the baby inside me for 3 months and loved it and prayed for it every day. And actually one of the hardest parts were that almost everyone expected me to get over it so fast. After the D&C at the hospital they told me I could go to work the next day, and I was like «What?! Im grieving my baby here!». That is why I think it’s so amazing that you share your story and put focus on this topic. Because if we tell our stories people have better chances of understanding and supporting. And anyone going through it can hopefully find some sort of comfort and support in knowing that they are not alone.
And we are so lucky to have a beautiful healthy baby boy in our arms now, and a little baby angle that we will never forget in heaven.”
And one last beautiful story blogged in full RIGHT HERE by Chelan.
I just want to close this post by saying I am thinking of all the families working so hard to start growing or build upon theirs. My email is always open if you want to vent or share more or just have a virtual friend from far away hear you out. You and your loves ones are in my prayers every day. And you’ll always find support here.