Or, the horn and I don’t poop rainbows.
I know I am not the LAST barren woman in the world but sometimes it can really feel that way. The main reason I named my Blog “The Lonely Womb” was due to the fact that infertility can be so very isolating and lonely.
I am the last infertile and childless of all of my friends and close acquaintances. At least I am the last who still is trying to have a child (that I know of). There have been many friends who I have bonded with over this struggle. The primary change is most of them have gone on to have their children and are not in this struggle any more. There is a certain loneliness that I think only those who have gone through this struggle might understand. The difficult part for myself has been having those friends who have children forget what it was ever like. I equate it to what women say about childbirth and how after the baby arrives and you begin that next phase of your journey you start to forget about the bloated feet, the contractions etc and soon are trying for number two.
Now, don’t get me wrong I would love nothing more than to have a child and try to put all of this behind me. Honestly, though it has been such a long and difficult struggle that it has changed me and I don’t think I will ever forget.
In some ways I am grateful.
Grateful for the many things I have learned about myself. How to advocate for what I need and express my feelings.
Grateful for so many amazing women who have opened up to share their own journey. A journey they may not have ever told anyone else.
Grateful to know so much more about the medical community. Often I have learned more about the downfalls but hey, knowledge is power.
So much more grateful for my husband. He has been so amazing throughout everything.
And, grateful for such a wonderful and amazing family. They lift me up and support any decisions we have made along the way.
I have to say too that I am so happy for those friends who have been able to make this dream come true. I don’t wish you anything but joy and happiness in your parenting journey. Certainly, I may distance myself at times or shy away from events with tiny children but it in no way reflects my love for your. It is simply too painful at times and while it often feels selfish I have learned that I need to do what is best for my well being. I may not remember to reach out for your child’s birthday but trust me I have them all written down because they matter. I probably stalk you a little on social media. It is a safe way for me to see the faces and activities of your littles without maybe hearing about it. Probably one of my biggest triggers is hearing that complete and utter joy in someone’s voice when they talk about their child. It is wonderful and completely heart wrenching. I will often show Kevin pictures of a friends child doing something really cute or share stories I read about something funny they said.
What I wish from my friends who have moved passed this infertility struggle is to remember what it once was like. Often I have had friends who not only shared this journey with me at some point but we would bond over the uncomfortable situations we had gone through. Only to have those friends do the exact same thing once they are pregnant. I wish they would remember::
Don’t complain about your pregnancy to your infertile friend. I get it, I am sure pregnancy isn’t all happy happy joy joy but of all the people who don’t want to hear about your heartburn, morning sickness or that your feet are swollen it would be me. How did you forget that we used to say often how much we would trade with those people in order to have a child. Yeah, I am still in that position.
Don’t complain about your lack of sleep, lack of privacy, lack of freedom now that baby is here. Yep, I get that one too. I am not sure why you thought that having a baby after such a difficult journey to get them here meant that raising said baby would be easy. Again, trade ya!
Do announce your pregnancy with some delicacy. Luckily, I have had several lovely friends who have fallen into this category. I know their pregnancy isn’t all about me but it is nice to have some prior knowledge that an announcement is going up on social media or via e-mail blast.
Do have candid conversations with your infertile friend. I want to hear about your new life as a parent (maybe not ALL of the time). I want to know how your little one or little ones are doing.
Don’t forget that my journey isn’t over. Maybe you don’t want to be reminded about how difficult it can be or you really no longer relate. Please remember you may have been one of a handful of people who ever “got it” and knew how I was feeling. It may be a memory out there in the shadows but please remember to talk about my journey too.
Now, I have to admit that until just a couple of days ago I really felt like all of my previously infertile friends had just moved on. Never to revisit their losses or struggle ever again. But, I have an amazing friend who sent me a message (she has two littles now) asking how I was doing etc. but she also shared that she finds it difficult that people want her to forget about her prior losses. That she isn’t able to freely discuss them or feel them anymore as there is this feeling that either she should get over it now that she has her little ones. It was a good reminder for me to know that perhaps not everyone just moves on forward never looking back. It was also a reminder that our society just doesn’t seem to accept feelings of any type unless they are tied up in a pretty box with a little polka dot bow. I know that loss doesn’t just go away or get replaced by a new baby. But, I too need to remember to revisit my friends prior struggles even after they have their babies too.
My hope still remains that someone who feels similar finds this blog and at the very least it makes them feel less alone. Of course I hope that you find more here but if you smile or think to yourself “yes, that is exactly how I feel” than my mission is accomplished. Or, if you find yourself thinking differently about how to approach a friend that too means my mission has been accomplished. I know for myself I have sought out several infertility blogs in the past only to have the blogger find themselves pregnant and suddenly they are infertile no more. Certainly, I hope this might someday be me but as the clock ticks by it becomes less and less of a possibility. Even if this does become my path I hope I will have the words and intention to not diminish your feelings and to not trigger you with a surprise baby announcement.
Thank you for reading! I was reminded recently that there are people out there who are reading so Thank you!