I don’t know how to not be infertile. It’s truly all I have ever known. I don’t know how to not make myself physically sick over whether or not I can stomach attending another baby shower. I don’t know how to walk down the center aisle at Target–the one that passes the baby clothes. I’m almost 40 years old, so you would think I would eventually get over it. But, for the last decade of my life, these conscious and subconscious decisions have been a constant ache in the back of my mind. Like a bad knee, it doesn’t really stop you from doing things, but you always know it’s there and sometimes it hurts like hell.
Which brings me to the point of this post…I don’t know how to do this. This time, I have decided to be open along the journey. I don’t understand why infertility is “supposed to be” something you suffer in silence. Throughout the first decade of this nightmare, I was ridiculously concerned about burdening others with my pain. And while I’ll probably never be the type to just openly talk about “how I’m feeling” (I cringed just typing that), I do think there is value in understanding others’ walks of life–sometimes for the sake of knowing a path you will never experience, and sometimes to know you’re not alone when your path feels like the only one full of thorn bushes. So, here I am…telling my story. Or the internet-appropriate parts of it at least.
In the spirit of sharing this story, I have told people what’s going on with me this time. I have posted about it on social media. Some people are interested and want to know more, while others want to quickly change the subject. For the record, I’m good with either.
I have come to realize, though, that I speak my story with a tone of trepidation. I think this is a defense mechanism–an adaptation that has evolved over time. More than once I’ve been asked, “Aren’t you excited?” Answer: Yes. Also answer: Not yes. I find myself currently in this weird in-between stage. I want to be excited. I really do. I even find these short windows in which I’ll allow myself to ponder baby names or search nursery ideas on Pinterest. Hell, yesterday I found myself researching baby monitors (Yes, I’m an enneagram 5), before slamming the lid of my laptop mid-search and walking away in a panic. Because these windows…these windows are damn scary. When hope starts peeking in, that distance to fall becomes higher. And I don’t know about you…but heights can be terrifying.
In summary…I don’t really know how to be infertile. I figured this road out on my own over the years, and I’m sure I didn’t do it right. But also, I’m learning I don’t really know how to not be infertile either.
(ten. twenty-four. twenty twenty-one.)