CHAPTER FOUR : CHOICES

I made 2 serious decisions with infertility early on that still give me strength today and ultimately let me determine my feelings without the expected stereotype…

Before I share them, I want to share how I came to make these 2 decisions.

After about 1.5 years of trying, I remember how much I struggled being defined by the stereotypes of infertility. I personally disliked the assumption that mother’s day was hard for me… even if it was hard, I hated that others just assumed that it was hard for me. It was almost like because I was experiencing infertility, therefore mother’s day had to be hard… The thing is, mother’s is a hard day - but I was stubborn and didn’t want to be told that. I wanted to feel my own feelings about it. I wanted to make the decision on my own if it was hard and then be able to accept that without being told how to feel about it. Call me stubborn, but that is how I felt. I already couldn’t control whether I got pregnant or not, I didn’t want my feelings on the subject to be assumed or controlled by the stereotype.

The same went for when people announced pregnancy. This is SOO hard when others announce. It almost feels like you’re in a race and you’re close to the finish line or you think you are getting close to it with each doctors visit and each waiting room you are in and each discovery of what is made on what is preventing you from carrying your children. Then someone announces they are pregnant and immediately you are shocked by the fact that when they announced, you realize you haven’t event crossed the start line (it feels like) let alone got closer to the finish line. Silly analogy but the idea is that it’s like you feel left behind and it feels so out of your hands on how to even get to the goal of pregnancy, especially when you are doing everything you know how to do and it still isn’t working. When someone announces pregnancy while you are in the depths of infertility, it reminds you that you’re still no where near success of pregnancy. It reminds you of the deep hopeless feelings of what feels like failure (even though it is completely not failure) that you can’t conceive or even carry full term. And even thought this is hard when someone announced, I hated being told or assumed that it was hard for me to hear of someone else’s joy.

So here is what I did early on in my infertility journey that has deeply helped me deal with these BIG emotions that come unexpectedly with Infertility:

Here is the thing…. Mother’s day is going to come every.single.year.no.matter.what. So why fight it? Why gear up to be sad for a day? Instead, I realized I could choose to find the positive things about mother’s day that impacted me deeply. Rather than focus on my potential heartache or worry about it, I choose to celebrate my 3 mother’s in my life along with the handful women who have allowed me to love their kids as if they were my own (you know who you are). That doesn’t mean I don’t feel sad at times or feel heartache about mother’s day, it just means I choose to find the good in the day rather than focusing on so much sadness. To show you what I mean, This last mother’s day (2020) was my first mother’s day after my miscarriages. I remember waking up with a pit in my stomach. I immediately shed some tears before climbing out of bed. I remember feeling so many BIG emotions and I acknowledged the heartache of my losses and wished I was still pregnant. I grieved what could’ve been. I gave that emotion space and then made the choice to focus on celebrating the women who have impacted my life ❤️. It was amazing how focusing on the incredible mom’s who are examples to me, released me from heartache I felt. I showed them kindness and in return received love and kind words and understanding. It was a beautiful day to honor women in general.
Here is the 2nd thing: people are Never going to stop getting pregnant. Said another way, You can’t control other women announcing they are pregnant. What you can control is your response to when they announce. I discovered this early on that I didn’t like the yucky jealous feelings I got when friends or family announced their pregnancies. It felt wrong.And somehow, with each pregnancy announcement, it felt like heaven was running out of babies (LOL so not true but it feels that way). With each announcement, it felt like I would get the wind knocked out of me. It was exhausting. So I took a step back to assess that I can’t control others announcing but I can control my response to it. And in my core, I always believed that ALL LIFE IS WORTH CELEBRATING. That means, every time someone announces pregnancy, I get to celebrate the life that gets to come to this earth and live! I also get to celebrate with that mama, the joy of a new life coming into her family. She’s happy, and I want to honor her for that. And one day, I’ll get my babies and I know she will honor my joy. ❤️ At first, when I made this discovery that all life is worth celebrating, it wasn’t easy to push myself to celebrate their happiness that magnified my sadness. However, as I pushed myself to congratulate or hug or smile to celebrate each announcement, I found so much joy in doing so and now it comes so effortlessly because I really feel this way! Every life is worth celebrating!

When it came to intentionally deciding how to react to things that I had no control over, it was like I was freed from some of the pain and sadness that comes naturally with infertility. I have shared this insight with several of my fellow infertile friends and it has helped ease their pain and heartache and acknowledge that they don’t have to fall into some of the expected stereotypes that come with Infertility.