Friday, January 14, 2011

A life beyond infertility

I've been too busy to pay much attention to anything but my family and work. My feelings rank very low on the totem pole of priorities. Especially my feelings about infertility.

Of course, with triplets, it comes up every now and then when someone asks whether we did IVF, whether we're done having kids, or assumes we're done, or when I think about what our lives could have been like without the miracle that is my children.

Out of the blue, I heard news today that caused a monumental shift in me. In my perception of self. In how I view where I am in life and where I've been in recent years.

A colleague told me she is 5 weeks pregnant. She is relatively young, this will be her first child, there were no struggles to conceive.

Get this: I am overjoyed for her.

This was the first time ever that I didn't need to be "braced" or "prepared" for such news. It was the first time I didn't have to think about keeping up appearances while crying inside. I am just happy for her. Simply happy. No "woe is me," no jealousy, no anger, no tinge of anything else. Just joy. Pure selfless joy.

So this is what pregnancy announcements feel like to those who arrive at parenthood without battling infertility. No downward spiral. Just a baffling sense of excitement sprinkled with a touch of utter joy.

That unrehearsed moment right there. That's how you know you're starting to come to terms with infertility and its baggage. That's how you know time is passing, that you're shedding some of the injustice of it all, the struggles, the cost, the invasion of privacy, the resentment of those who have it easy despite our own success.

It's pretty freaking amazing and freeing to realize that there's a life beyond infertility. To start tasting what that might be like. To start seeing some protective walls crumble. I always thought having children would make all the infertility crap disappear. And although it obviously does free you from the majority of it almost instantly, it doesn't miraculously resolve all of those feelings of inadequacy or lingering pain. You can have kids and still feel infertile.

Somehow, though, through time passing and building memories with one's children, these feelings start to fade to the background. Until you're faced with a moment like I was today. A moment that makes you confront yourself. A moment that is front and center yet allows you to move on from it. A moment that is undeniable in its magnitude, yet shocking in its simplicity.

This is my wish for anyone still trying to conceive: to have a child or children, of course, but to have a lifetime of moments untainted by infertility.


Amber said...

Nice post. It's interesting because even after having one, I sometimes find myself still guarded. Maybe it's because we are getting ready to start TTC for #2... I hope I'll have those same feelings one day - soon!

Somethingtogrow said...

I am due in June with our first child after a 3 year struggle, and I find that I still wince when I hear someone else's pregnancy news. I'm glad to know you had that moment of pure joy for your friend. Hope I can find that same peace eventually. I always thought pregnancy would change those feelings of jealousy and inadequacy, but the scars run deep.

Anonymous said...

That is a huge achievement! Feeling joy for someone else's pregnancy...well, for me that's reserved only for family at the moment. I'd love to get there someday, though.

Anonymous said...

Once the babies are born and are developing well - as a momma your on the OTHER SIDE of infertility and over time it's grasp on you and your emotions around it will lessen, until you don't notice them anymore - unless you plan on having more children.

It is great to be on the OTHER side. For those praying for a baby and in the throes of infertility ~ If you REALLY want a baby, you will have one, by which ever means you can do it!