april hosts national infertility awareness week (april 21-27, 2019). to prepare for NIAW 2019, i will be sharing posts to help the fertile understand infertility + to help the infertile feel seen & heard. i hope that these posts can help you to be more sensitive & aware to the people around you experiencing infertility.
What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting
i remember when we first got married, i just imagined that having babies would come so naturally & so easily. i hoped that we would be parents in no time after going off of birth control. i expected that motherhood would come quickly & that we would be bringing baby banks home very soon.
i thought that i would be the infertile girl that was strong. the girl that held it together all the time. the girl that kept the faith. the girl that wasn’t scared. the girl that wasn’t jealous.
but i wasn’t that girl.
i didn’t expect were the deep emotions that came. i didn’t expect the dark days. i didn’t expect the jealousy. i didn’t expect the fear of the unknown. i didn’t expect the doctor appointments, medications & shots that come with infertility. i didn’t expect so many things & even though i read so many things & got so much advice from friends + family, i still felt fear, jealousy, anxiety, sadness & grief. but i also didn’t expect to feel happiness, gratitude, a full heart and hope during my infertility journey.
the rollercoaster of grief that overcame me during the first months and years of our journey surprised me. it felt like an out-of-body experience. i felt like i was watching myself struggle. i wanted to scream to myself to “just get over it” and to “stop being so sensitive.” but i couldn’t. i couldn’t bring myself to be that girl.
i remember the first time i broke down in church like it was yesterday. it changed me. before my breakdown, i didn’t understand how anyone could blame God for their trials or be angry with him. i didn’t understand how people could get anxious going to church or being in large crowds. and then one day, i was that person. i was hyperventilating and sobbing in a pew, begging parker to go home because i couldn’t be there anymore. i for sure didn’t expect that.
i remember the first time i felt happy consistently for over a week. i thought to myself, “i don’t remember the last time i was sad.” and it made me step back. i had been sad & anxious daily for so long that i was unsure how to move forward. i almost wanted to revert back to being sad & anxious because that was what felt normal. i remember talking to parker about it and him saying, “you have surprisingly been much easier to be around recently.” (he didn’t mean it rudely, i was very difficult to be around for a lonnnnng time) i didn’t expect being happy to feel weird.
infertility is such a rollercoaster. and the hardest part: nobody’s journey is the same. we don’t respond to medications or treatments the same. we don’t respond to comments, pregnancy announcements or questions the same. but there are a few things that we can all expect.
you can expect that comments about pregnancy & pregnancy announcements will pop up everywhere. this is not because everyone you know is getting pregnant, it’s pregnancy & announcing your own pregnancy is on your brain. it’s okay to feel saddened by these announcements, but don’t dwell in your sadness. feel the feelings and then make the choice to move forward in your own journey.
you can expect the unknown to become a normal part of your life. it’s okay to not know the answers to everyone’s questions— even the “when are you having kids” question. the unknown is scary and it’s okay to be nervous about it. as you expect the unknown to be a part of your life, you can let faith back into your life, which i promise, will help you with the unknown.
you can expect to experience the 5 stages of grief often. even though this is a hard part to accept, the 5 stages of grief can help you to be a better person. they can help you be more sensitive, aware & kind to people who are struggling. like i said in number 1, feel the feelings and then make the choice to move forward in your own journey. feeling the feelings and moving forward will change your experience for the better, i promise.
you can expect to go to a lot of doctor appointments & to try a lot of things to get your babies here. there are so many treatment options, clinics to go to, supplements you can take & medications available. do what you feel comfortable with. don’t feel like you have to try every single thing or take every supplement, oil or tea in order to get pregnant, but if you feel like it will help you in your journey, do what you feel good about & then don’t feel bad for not trying one thing or another.
you can expect to feel happy. i honestly didn’t think i would be happy again in our infertility journey until we had a baby. i thought that it was all or nothing when it came to happiness. but slowly & surely, i became happier. i used the techniques i teach in my 6 Weeks to a Happier Infertility Journey & honestly, they changed my life. on days where you feel happy, don’t shun it. feel the happy feelings too. don’t let your brain tell you that you have to be sad all the time. you can be happy during this journey.
while no two infertility journeys are the same, there are things you can expect. i hope that as you go through this experience, you remember that you are smart, capable, worthy of motherhood & you can do this. i’m cheering you on. you’ve got this.