Earlier this week I shared some myths and facts about infertility. But, I wanted to share how infertility continues to affect us personally on a regular basis. If I could sum it up, I would say it can be an 'ongoing soul sucker.' That may sound over dramatic, but there are days that feel just like that. I know our situation is different than others because we've never been told we should give up or that there's no chance of a biological child, so our grief sometimes seems ongoing instead of something we can move on from. Most days Dave and I are filled with so much gratitude of the gift of each other and of our sweet, sweet boy. We are excited about the chance to adopt again and are very happy with our life. But, then there are days and weeks that drag us back down and feel so dark and lonely.
I think the very hardest thing about infertility is the loneliness it brings. I don't really fit in in mom's groups with toddlers because most women spend a great deal of time talking about pregnancy or conception as regular and common conversation topic that I just can't relate to. Even among my friends that have dealt with infertility, the majority of them have now gotten pregnant, which is so exciting to celebrate, but so hard to feel left out of that part of the parenthood process.
Along with the loneliness, we sometimes feel broken since our bodies won't do what they're meant to. We also just long to feel normal. Our bodies SHOULD be able to create life, like everyone else's, right? When that doesn't happen despite years of trying, it's very easy to feel left out from the rest of world and very isolated in your inability to conceive.
Thankfully, many of these feelings were pretty absent for us during the first year of the buddy's life. But, after having spent a year working with a new RE trying for #2 and now moving forward with adoption again, so many of these feelings have been returning. People tend to think that because we have adopted that now everything is "ok" since we have a child that we love, but that's only partially true. Sure, we are now parents and it's such a huge, huge blessing that we are no longer childless. I even lived in that "new mama glow" for quite a while, and pregnancy didn't seem so important anymore. But, as our efforts for #2 haven't gone so well, we realize that the fact is that our infertility hasn't completely been healed. And it may never be entirely.
You know that empty yet sick feeling you have in your gut when you go through an awful break up? Or lose someone you love? To me, infertility and the wait for your child is a lot like that. There's an overwhelming pressure in your chest that you miss someone SO MUCH, but in our case we don't know exactly who it is that we're missing or if/when we will ever meet them. Sometimes that feeling of grief just sits in your chest and makes it hard to get up and move. On those days I want to just lie in bed and cry, unable to even find the words to explain why I'm feeling so sad.
Recently our profile was presented to two different expectant birthmothers, neither of which chose us, so these feelings are so fresh in my heart. I KNOW there is beauty and life on the other side of infertility. We've seen it firsthand with our sweet little buddy. He was brought into our lives in such a miraculous way that we can never stop giving thanks for him and how he came into our hearts. But, being grateful for him doesn't take away the sadness of not being able to add another child to our family. We hope and pray that we will again feel the joy and excitement of bringing home another child. We always wanted 3-4 kids though and the physical and emotional toll that the route to each of our kids has taken makes us wonder if we could actually go through all of this again. The infertility journey is not for the faint of heart, and even if you started off weak, as time passes you will be forced to dig your heels in and find every last ounce of strength within you.
Even though I have maybe shared a bit too much of what's weighing on my heart, I do want to be honest about what it's really like. So often I feel like I need to focus just on the positive side of infertility (our son) when talking with others, but the downsides are still there and still drag us down more often than I'd like to admit.
Although many people walk the road of infertility, each route is so different, so we all have different burdens to bear along the way. So, during this week of awareness my desire is that more people learn that just because you have one child, that doesn't mean that the pain of infertility is gone. It's still there in the background and on days it rises to the surface, we grieve just like we did before our son came into our lives.
We are so anxious to get to the other side again and I like to think that if I am quiet and still enough, I can hear that heaviness in my heart calling out to our future children that we are waiting and ready for them. And that they are so, so worth the wait.