It might be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You’re facing a reality that could change almost everything about what you thought your future would look like. You may have just begun your journey or you might be trudging along, head down, wondering if or when it will end.
I don’t know if I can ever forget the pain infertility caused me. It turned my world upside down. Now, years later, I hope my experience can help others. I can’t tell you if or when your path through infertility will end, but I can tell you that you will grow and learn how to live in your new world over time. It might change you, and those changes might even be for the better. When I reflect on my journey, there are some things I wish would have been different in my life.
I wish I’d had more awareness of what infertility is and how it can affect people.
I wish I’d been more sensitive to my friends and family before I experienced infertility. I wish I’d never asked anyone “When will you have kids?” and understood that not everyone gets to decide when.
I wish I’d known it would sting every time I saw or heard a pregnancy announcement.
I wish I’d known I still had choices even when it felt like I didn’t. I could choose to let people in or keep them away if I needed space. I could choose how far I wanted to go with tests and treatments. I could choose my providers. I could choose to be my own advocate.
I wish I’d known I was not alone. That I was one of thousands waiting with empty arms.
I wish I would have relied on my friends and my family more often. The people who loved me didn’t need to completely understand what I was going through to support me. I wish I had told them what I needed.
I wish I’d known that hormone changes, the empty bedroom in our home, boxes of diapers at the grocery store, and tiny belly chuckles would make me cry. I wish I had given myself permission to not be okay. I wish I would have known that what I was experiencing was grief. Grief over an intangible loss.
I wish I had been able to hold my friend’s baby without feeling jealous. That his perfect, soft face would have brought me more joy than sorrow.
I wish I wouldn’t have pushed my husband away. I wish I communicated that I’d felt like I was failing both of us. I wish I’d have told him that none of it was his fault and that I was grateful for his support.
I wish I had not been disgusted with my body.
I wish I’d seen a mental health professional as soon as everything got so heavy.
I wish I’d known how incredibly strong I could be. I had the kind of strength that would help me make it to the end of each day even as years ticked by.
I wish I’d known that someday I would look back on this awful time in my life and still find good in it. That I’d be more grateful than most to become a mom. That I would use my difficult experience to help others who are fighting these unseen battles. I wish I knew how resilient I was.
Infertility warriors are part of a sisterhood unlike any other. It is not one we chose, but rather one we must forge through. I encourage you to do it together with the knowledge that we can lean on one another. Don’t be afraid to give yourself grace and tell others what you need. You might feel at times that you just can’t make it through one more day. But you are stronger than you ever knew. You are a warrior. You have been through more than most people could imagine already and your story isn’t over. I hope one day you get to look back on this chapter and that you can be proud of yourself for making it through. I know I am proud of you.