Really? When I was in the throes of my infertility journey, if anyone had told me it was a blessing, I would have been beside myself.
It was the worst time of my life. I developed an anxiety disorder, I lost my best friend because I couldn’t handle the fact that she easily had two children when she started trying after me, and had both before my first was born. 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 happened 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 butt, 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 experienced an evolved perspective that I could not have developed without having struggled. 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 somewhat 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 I longed for them for years. I’m in no way saying that all moms don’t have a special relationship with their children, it’s just that those of us who struggle to get pregnant REALLY choose motherhood.
My marriage would have been different too. Something happens when you navigate infertility 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, then holding my sobbing body when we got the news that it didn’t work. Your relationship gets a special kind of work out.
Sadly, 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 or your surrogate is pregnant. 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 while we waited for that magical 12th week. We always celebrated with breakfast from on of our favorite local restaurant – 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, what makes souls come into bodies? And even though my babies came, I’ve never stopped exploring the Spiritual side of life. Next to actually having 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,