Seriously? If anyone had told me my infertility journey was a blessing while I was going through it, I would have punched him or her in the face (or at least I would have thought about it).
It was horrible. I developed an anxiety disorder, I lost my best friend because I couldn’t handle the fact that she easily had two children and she never forgave me for my behavior during that time, I felt alone and different and unlucky, I went into isolation because I couldn’t stand the thought of people feeling sorry for me, and to top it all off I gained 20 pounds.
Lucky me, I happen to gain all of my weight in my belly so I had people joyfully congratulating me on my pregnancy when I was anything but. I will never forget my grandmother seeing me for the 1st time after I put on the weight and yelling out in her smokers voice with a cute southern accent, “Paula Lynne, are you with child?” It was awesome.
Blessing? I think not.
But I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I couldn’t see what I couldn’t see. The truth is that my infertility journey was the best thing that ever happened to me. Yes, it kicked my ass. But it also opened me up to new ways of being and seeing life that wouldn’t have been possible in any other way.
As I walked the journey I discovered so many wonderful things. I learned how to really care for myself. How to love my body instead of hating it. I learned that these kinds of crisis are the way we grow. It’s true, in the absence of these kinds of challenges we literally can’t evolve. As painful as that sounds, these crises are what make us the people we came her to be.
I would have never been the mother I am if it weren’t for my infertility struggle. I was very wrapped up in my career pre-infertility. I don’t know for sure but I can imagine the pre-infertility me being resentful of my children for getting in the way of my upward mobility.
Had I been a fertile myrtle, parenting would have been a much harder job for me. Shoot, it’s a hard job for me now but had it come easily the beauty of it might have been lost on me. I have a special relationship with my children because they almost didn’t come. Not that all moms don’t have a special relationship with their children, it’s just that I REALLY chose motherhood. I made promises to God about how I would do this if I had the chance (which doesn’t make me perfect by the way, I’m FAR from it).
My marriage would have been different too. Something happens when you navigate this nightmare together. Him having to give me injections, force himself to masturbate on the spot, watch me put my legs in stirrups while another man injects sperm into my body, and holding my sobbing body when we got the news that it didn’t work. Yeah, that’s a game changer.
For some couples it pulls them apart, but for most it pulls them together. As painful as it all is, it also creates a deep bond and mutual care for the family unit that is quite extraordinary.
In the end you will definitely have a stronger relationship on the other side. It’s a beautiful moment when the two of you get the news that it worked, that you’re pregnant or that an adoption is pending (my experience is that it doesn’t matter how the baby get’s here, it produces the same amount of joy). Every milestone feels like a massive victory.
Each week after we got the news that we were pregnant, my husband and I would drive an hour to our Reproductive Endocrinologist’s office for an ultrasound. I had no symptoms until my 8th week so every time we drove up there I was convinced my body had eaten the baby. We were always a nervous wreck. Then we would see the heartbeat and joyfully drive home together cautiously optimistic and secretly excited waiting for that magical 12th week. We always celebrated with breakfast from on of our favorite local spots – it came to be known as our “victory breakfast”. Infertility makes you teammates for life.
It also became the catalyst for my spiritual journey. I was pretty agnostic before my infertility struggles. I’ve heard it said that faith can only be cultivated inside of crisis. That’s how it worked for me. I was forced to ask myself some pretty big questions about Life and God during this process. When you’re trying to create a baby, it’s hard to not consider the bigger questions about Life like why are we here and how do we get here. And even though my babies came, I’ve never stopped exploring the Spiritual side of life. Next to my children it’s the most profound part of this experience for me.
In the end, it all happened just like it was supposed to. Infertility was a true blessing for me. And I’ve heard the same thing said by most everyone I’ve worked with.
So I invite you to trust that even though you can’t see it today, there is something profound opening up for you as a result of this journey. Keep your eyes and heart open to the process and I promise you will find the blessings.
Lots of love,