Infertility : Coping with Pregnancy Announcements
When you’re dealing with infertility and your optimism is dwindling, every pregnancy announcement hurts. People you haven’t seen in years and went to high school with. People you have mutual friends with. Distant cousins. They all are painful in their own way. It’s not that I’m not happy for them, but I’m sad for me.
Sad, because it’s been almost two years of negative pregnancy tests and getting my hopes up. Sad, that I was so sure in December that “this is it”, just to be told by my doctor, “I’m sorry, it’s negative.” Sad, that my friends and family have a hard time understanding what this pain feels like.
Everyone attempts encouragement with their well meaning comments. Everyone says it will happen when we stop expecting it.
After so many negatives, trust me we’ve stopped expecting it. Our “when we have kids” has become “if we have kids.”
Did you know one in eight couples struggle with infertility? One in eight! Infertile is what doctors consider you if you are under the age of thirty five and trying without success for over a year.
Before you flood the comments with the stories of your friend’s aunt who tried for years before having two beautiful twin girls, or your coworker’s cousin who was told she’d never have kids and now has a son- I know these people exist. I read their blogs and stories daily. I know a few personally. I know success stories are out there and yes, they are inspiring.
Those peoples’ success stories don’t guarantee me, or anyone else, a happy ending.
Yes, there are options. Yes, there are other ways, other options that cost a fortune. Yes, we have looked into and/or tried all of the crazy remedies, old wives tales, and advice strangers have given us. No, I don’t want anyone else to tell me “oh it will happen”, “stop trying so hard!”, or my favorite “Just relax!” (Stress does not cause infertility- infertility causes stress!) I would take a well-meaning and/or awkward hug over advice any day of the week.
I know my options, I know there is hope- that doesn’t change the fact that my heart shattered into a million pieces when my younger sister told me she was pregnant.
It’s was a new level of pain. A dark, ugly cry filled kind of pain, unlike any I have experienced. A can’t-do-anything-without-crying kind of pain. A jealous, guilty, heart wrenching, indescribable pain. Seeing someone effortlessly getting what you’ve been longing for and trying for is never easy.
I don’t hate my sister and I’m not angry at her. I am excited to become an aunt and watch my sister grow over these next few months. I am thrilled there will be another sweet, little baby in our family. I’m sure I will throw her a baby shower and be in the delivery room when my niece is born. I know I will be the best aunt. I know that little baby will be able to count on me for as long as I live.
None of those things mean I am not allowed feel this kind of pain. The pain of watching my mother excitedly prepare to be a grandma and gush on social media, for a child that isn’t mine. The pain of the congratulations, on her sweet Facebook announcement. The pain of having to hold it together when everyone is showing me her baby clothes. The pain of my family torn between wanting to bubble over with baby anticipation, and being scared of talking about it around me.
It’s a melting pot of emotions. They are strong and they come in waves. Some days sadness and longing consume me. Some days I look online for “I Love My Aunt” onesies.
I’ve felt all the emotions. Guilt, for being envious of this pregnancy. Sadness, for my husband and I, who have been preparing and planning every detail for over a year. Heartbreak, knowing that there is a chance we may never experience the joy my sister will.
She is making baby wish lists and painting art for the nursery walls and I have started medications to prep for the next step of our infertility journey.
It’s hard to know how to feel. Luckily I’ve jumped into my usual super sister mode; flooding her with pregnancy information not chatting about baby names. I went the the first appointment where we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat.
Each day has gotten easier. As she reaches milestones along the way I know it will bring the evilness of envy; but remembering that I’ll get to love her baby almost as much as she does, numbs the pain a little. Knowing I’ve taken the next steps in my journey, helps even more.
If you’re struggling in the same way we are, know you aren’t alone. One in eight couples are going through this too. Some openly, some in silence. You’re entitled to your pain and heartache. I hope for all of us out there: we get our dream one way or another.