I don't feel like I reached any new people or made any difference for people in the world of infertility. But, hey, at least I tried. Sometimes when I try I feel like I get chewed up and spit back out and I kinda feel like that's how this past week was for me. It was like trying to doggy paddle through rapids in a river and just being tossed and turned. I thought I would feel so victorious this past week and like I had really made a difference and I had really reached people... I was so wrong.
By the end of the week, I didn't even want to utter the word "infertility." Normally, I can talk and talk about anything for hours on end, but this week... due to the overwhelming sound of crickets chirping in response to everything that was posted, I truly believe that my ramblings have fallen on deaf ears. Deaf ears and hardened hearts.
It's heartbreaking to go through infertility, and the support of loved ones makes all the difference. Infertility is very difficult to understand and even more difficult to describe.
As we move closer to Mother's Day or as I like to call it, "National-Remember-You-Aren't-A-Mother-Day," more things overwhelm me.
Conversations have begun to have been had about where Jack and I will spend our day on Sunday. We have not been successful in explaining why we will be where we will be (or where we won't be).
I have found myself mourning all sorts of different things in the past week. Things that Mother's Day really reminds me of.
In a perfect world, Jack and I would have at least one child that was a little over 2 years old. We would have never had to answer to people about how we are spending Mother's Day because it would be expected that we would do whatever we want and it would be no big deal. I imagine that this year our small child would have been old enough to somewhat understand what was going on. Jack would get up early and make me some pancakes and orange juice and bring me breakfast in bed. He would have gone shopping and taken our little munchkin with him to go pick out THE PERFECT gift and I would get to sit in bed and revel in the amount of love my husband would pour on me for being the mother of his child/ren. I would marvel over the tiny hands and arms that hugged me and clung to me and said, "I love you Mommy." I would bask in the memories of every single day since the day we saw the two pink lines show up on the pregnancy test and love every single crazy moment of it.
I mourn every single loss. I mourn that right from the beginning of Motherhood... I have never seen a positive pregnancy test. I mourn every kick that I have never felt. I mourn every day that I have never felt morning sickness. I mourn the fact that my husband and I have never rejoiced over the positive pregnancy test. I mourn that my many ultrasounds that I have had never included a small sack or a growing baby. I mourn every stupid blood test that my gynecologists have insisted that I have only to confirm what I already KNOW, that I am not pregnant.
I mourn every time I am in a circle of women where the conversation inevitably turns to giving birth and I have nothing to contribute. I mourn not ever hearing the words, "it's a girl" or "it's a boy." I mourn never having a baby shower where I am surrounded by my family and friends oohing and ahhing over every outfit and contraption. I mourn never having gotten to announce to our families. Every single time another family member announces their pregnancy and everyone looks to Jack and I to gauge our reaction, my heart breaks. I mourn never having named our baby.
I mourn never having gotten up in the middle of the night to soothe or feed a crying baby. I mourn never having breastfed. I mourn never having pushed my little bundle of joy out of the hospital and home for the first time. I mourn never having experienced first smiles, crawls, steps or words. I mourn every time I see other babies hit their milestones. I mourn birthday parties with themes and birth announcements.
I mourn baby pictures and seeing how our animals will react to their new human family member. I mourn never having seen Jack take our child for a ride on the lawn mower. I mourn never having my child in a car seat in my vehicle. I mourn never having taken a child to the doctor and never having baby bottles in the house. I mourn family portraits where our family has only grown in the 4 legged variety from year to year.
I mourn the mountains of laundry that I would be doing for my children and the ridiculous amounts of clothes that they will get dirty. I mourn not folding little baby clothes and putting them away in little baby drawers. I mourn never having to pick up a pacifier off the floor and clean it off to give back to my child.
I mourn never having made Jack a father. I feel like I have failed as a wife and as a woman. And I mourn the loss of what I have wanted more than anything for my entire life. I mourn the naivete with which I once looked at the world. I mourn every single month and every single time my heart has broken from infertility. I mourn every person who has not understood our struggle and has caused us more pain than necessary. I mourn people playing the blame game between Jack and I over whose "fault" this "problem" is. I mourn the life I had always imagined we would have.
Not only do Jack and I mourn the loss of the past we believed we would have at this point, we grieve the future too. We look ahead in our life and picture the rest of our lives spending Mother's Day and Father's Day without macaroni necklaces or cards with Elmer's Glue and glitter and finger paintings. It's a dismal and sad vision to look down that road. We mourn the possibility of Christmases without small ones in the house. We mourn every family event and our heart aches as it appears that the world around us grows and families grow as naturally as breathing, and we are just waiting with empty arms.
So on Mother's Day (and Father's Day) I spend the day grieving everything that has been lost to Jack and I these past years. Jack and I grieve every normal and amazing thing that goes along with parenthood. We long for every single crazy or mundane thing that comes along with it and hope and pray that we will experience that soon.
We have been called selfish, and I can understand why we look that way to someone who doesn't understand what we are missing. We are missing every precious thing that goes along with being a parent. Everything that NO parent in their right mind would ever trade for anything in the world.
Of course, we believe that God has a plan for our lives. We have no idea what that plan includes, but our heart's desire is to have children. To have our union come together in the flesh, as a combination of our DNA that is unique only to mine and Jack's combination. We long to be parents in some way shape or form.
Jack and I definitely recognize and appreciate our own Mothers.... if we didn't have such great Moms, neither of us would have had this indescribable desire to become parents ourselves. I love my mom and I love my mother-in-law dearly. Our hearts breaking over us not being parents does not make us love them less or the fact that we just have to be alone to just lay in bed and hold one another as we cry if need be, does not mean that we find them any less important. There is a point in life where the continuum shifts and Mother's Day and Father's Day are no longer about your parents, but they become YOUR day to celebrate. And while in a normal and perfect world, that would have been the case already for Jack and I, until that day comes where Jack and I are a Mother and a Father to babies here on Earth, we will continue to preserve ourselves on these days that break our hearts.
It's not like we are having a "we hate all moms" party at our house. We are broken hearted and grieving fiercely on days like this. We don't have a problem with people who can have children, this isn't about anyone else. This is about us and our broken hearts. I think a big problem that a lot of people have with infertility and not understanding it is that they take infertile people's feelings personally.
If Jack and I don't want to go to a baby shower or a little kid birthday party, it's not because we don't love your kid or that we don't wish the absolute best and most happiness for them... it's because our own losses are so great, that we can't handle situations like that with grace. We try to bow out of situations so that we can mourn in the privacy of our own home.
It's not a pretty situation by any means to watch someone mourn or grieve. No one wants to watch me sit in a corner an bawl uncontrollably or see my face as puffy as the stay puffed marshmallow man and red because I've been crying for hours. No one wants to hear retching in the toilet because sometimes crying is so painful and exhausting and intense and sorrowful that vomiting happens with it. No one wants to be eating a Mother's Day brunch with Jack and I off in the other room and all you can hear is wailing and yelling as both of us grieve in our own way and get our own hurts and frustrations out in our own way.
We just want privacy to grieve in our own way. We don't mean anything personal by it. When I say that I hate Mother's Day, I don't want all of my friends to think I don't want to see pictures of their kids or hear about this or that. I love children. And I love my friends. But there is an appropriate time and place to do things like this with a couple who struggles with infertility.
There are so many struggles in this world, but one Jack and I know all too well is the pain and loss involved with infertility. The same way that someone who lost their mother will mourn on Mother's Day for the rest of their life, Jack and I will mourn the loss of parenthood on Mother's Day and Father's Day for as long as we are in this situation.
I can only hope and pray that somehow, I have been able to explain better what so many struggle to understand. Have compassion for those who are hurting, no matter how they are hurting. Try to be understanding if Jack and I skip some event that you find very important. Maybe Jack and I just need to deal with our sorrow, if you have never dealt with sorrow and pain in your life that is so all inclusive and cumbersome that you are unable to do normal every day things, then count yourself blessed. But just because you don't understand our pain, doesn't make it any less real or any less important. Try not to minimize our pain. And also, try not to compare it.
Infertility is like no other loss. Infertility is continual.
Just wanted to get some of the heavy weight I feel and have been feeling this past week and the past years off my back. I don't mean not to sound hopeful or excited for our future, but this blog is and always has been 100% honest and 100% real. This is the truth of it, ugly as it is. This is our life.
Mother's day is about how much work goes into being a Mom. How special moms are for doing what they do. How most of their work is thankless and goes without ever being noticed. Mother's Day honors moms for what they go through and every miracle and amazing part of motherhood. So consider this mine and Jack's way of honoring the mothers in our lives. We understand what you have and what an honor it truly is to be a Mother. We truly hope that you are pampered and loved and appreciated.