By Bridgette Waters
One in seven couples have trouble conceiving. Whether a contributing factor from the man or from the woman, infertility is tragic in every case.
Not all couples want children- but for those that do, "You can't carry your own child" are the single most heartbreaking words a woman could hear.
Morning sickness. A positive pregnancy test. Milk-filling boobs. A kicking baby. Pushing. Just a few of the incredible sensations and emotions that women unable to carry a child will never feel. These "simple" things that are taken for granted and complained about by so many, we would give anything to experience.
When we log on to social media, it seems as though we see a new pregnancy announcement every day. We want to be happy for them- and somewhere deep down we are. But our first thought is "Why can't that be me?".
We don't mean to be like this. It's not that we despise those who become pregnant. We are not bitter towards anyone sharing such a special moment with the world. We are simply jealous, and wish we could experience that same joy.
Although being a woman does NOT mean you have to bring a baby into the world, once you become aware that you'll never bare a child, your womanhood feels pretty shaken.
No matter the reason for infertility, it's earth-shattering. Sometimes we have a hard time coping. We scream, we cry, we punch pillows. We feel alone and sad and we wonder if there will ever be a light at the end of the dark tunnel we seem to be stuck in.
Looking at our spouse, we can't help but feel awful. The thing we want most, to give them a child of their own, we are unable to do. That's an indescribable feeling.
"Does he think less of me?" "Am I still beautiful in his eyes?" "Will he leave me for someone that can give him a family?"
Those thoughts bombard us often. We already know the answers- of course he doesn't think less of me. Yes, I am still beautiful to him. No, he will not leave me. Yet these questions seem to haunt us over and over again.
Trust me, when you
say "You can just adopt!" or "I'll be your surrogate mother!"- we know. Adoption is awesome; it's a gift for all parties involved. Offering to be our surrogate is a sweet gesture. But it doesn't lessen the internal pain we feel. We have done our research and we know what our options are. You don't mean harm by saying these things, but it simply does not make us feel better.
We don't always want to talk about it. It's far from an easy subject and it's not just something we'd bring up at the dinner table. Please don't be offended if we choose to not answer when you ask why we haven't had children yet.
To have a baby, many couples just have to "get it on" and BOOM- they've got a positive pregnancy test. Those who are infertile need testing, interviews, multiple doctors appointments, minor surgeries, egg retrievals, etc. before an embryo even comes into play. It becomes mentally and physically draining.
In addition- adoption, IVF, and surrogacy empties pockets. We don't go buy a crib and diapers right away; there are other things that need paying for before that even crosses our mind.
Needless to say, once we are blessed with a child in our lives- however that happens- it will be the single most beautiful thing to ever happen. Hearing the words "I love you, mommy" will be the sweetest sound. Looking into our child's eyes will be a sight we never forget.
Keep fighting, ladies. Although it feels like it, I promise you are never alone on this roller coaster of emotions. It's a long and rough journey, but you will survive. And if children are something you want, that will happen too. Don't give up. Don't you ever give up.
"With a baby or without, you are valuable, you are whole, and you matter."
"You don't have to birth a child to be a mother."
"The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for."
"Do not confuse my bad days as a sign of weakness. Those are actually the days I am fighting my hardest."
"It's the kind of heartache you can feel in your bones."
"I am learning to trust the journey even when I don't understand it."