We Still Hope (Shining a Light on the Struggle of Infertility)

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I once asked Scott if he thought I was a hard-to-read person. He laughed and said he never had to try to decipher my feelings because usually if I am feeling something, I am telling him all about it in great detail. Still, most people are under the impression that you should…

…bottle it up; don’t let anyone see you hurting.
…fake it ‘til you make it.
…never talk about politics, religion, your finances or marriage with other people.
…keep it to yourself. People will judge you for your shortcomings.

I’m so tired of this nonsense. We are infinitely flawed and broken beings. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. I’ll tell you my hang ups right now if you want to know, and maybe even if you don’t. I don’t think it does any good to bottle it all up. Who do you need to impress?

We are all so afraid of showing our hand; like if we hide our fears or our imperfections, no one will notice. But we forget, THOSE are the things that bind us. You are depriving the world by pretending to be perfect! We go through this human experience for the purpose of HELPING each other. Our experiences are not only meant to help us learn, but we can help others along the way.

Years ago, someone I knew was so ashamed of a divorce she was going through. I believe her exact words were, “I feel like a walking cliche.” I told her, “Our cliches are what bind us with one another. Our cliches are what help us relate, to find common ground, to see our own beautiful imperfections reflected in another.”

We are all billions of bodies who share ONE SOUL. You might think another person’s pain isn’t your problem. Well, I hate to break it to you but it is. We are all connected.

I happen to know one very brave soul who has opened up to share her thoughts on her journey with infertility; an inexplicably taboo issue within our culture, maybe because it has to do with sex…I don’t know. While it is fortunate that so many of us can have a baby the “good old fashioned way,”for a growing number of people in our world, this isn’t a luxury anymore. Some people may think, “I had no problems conceiving, so this doesn’t apply to me.” Yes, it does. Know that your words and attitude are felt. Please don’t say insensitive things to people such as, “When are you going to try to have kids?” or “Just relax! It will happen!” You cannot know what anyone’s journey is.

I want to thank this courageous woman for speaking out about an issue that touches everyone, whether you’ve been through it or not. Wanting a child and not being able to have one or having one and losing them is a deep and devastating pain. The sorrow extends beyond couple going through it. Please read this and think twice before you dismiss the feelings of a person who is going through such a difficult experience.

October is a month I have fond memories of. I love the fall weather, the leaves changing, hot chocolate, football, sweaters, bonfires and everything that every other  Michigander loves about this beautiful season, I do too!

But it’s bittersweet for me.

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month. It is also the the month my husband and I started trying to conceive four years ago. It comes and leaves us (once again) childless. I have begun to dread this month with everything in my body. My heart aches.

I get anxious and depressed. I’d rather stay home than visit with friends. I don’t feel like doing anything that requires putting on a fake smile and being social. Without realizing it, I lash out. I argue with loved ones; my husband bears the brunt of it and I quickly forget, he’s going through it along with me. I’m not a mean person, but my heart is hurting. These emotions leave me feeling raw to everything, so I’m defensive as a way of self-preservation.

I’ve grown to understand that underneath it all, there is still love. There is no other explanation. This experience has tested my husband and me so much that I know love is the glue holding the pieces in place. I love my husband more than anything in this world. He is my back bone, my saving grace. He’s my strength, the one who keeps my spirits up and is always looking for the positive in things.

Many couples in our situation have abandoned ship. They gave up. And I can understand how it could come to that. It is a test! It’s so stressful on a marriage to struggle with infertility. It wears on your marriage. You bicker and the fights can get nasty. It seems like things will never get better. Sometimes they do, but other times they don’t. I feel we are facing this as bravely as we can. We push through it together because together we are stronger. We have made a deal. There is no backing down or giving up hope. We are both stubborn and one way or another, we will become parents.

I have faith bigger than this struggle, God has this amazing plan for us. He knows when the time will be right for us. I try to focus on the benefits of our situation, although I would gladly trade in sleeping in for life with little sleep because of a baby. Maybe this is our “alone time.” It’s time that we get to spend together just us doing whatever we want. We can be spontaneous right now and we’re taking full advantage of that because when that precious baby does come, it will be the most magical thing and that baby will know it is loved beyond words.

The passing of each year of this longing has made me stronger than I thought I could be. I’m able to reflect on this journey and can see how this has made me a better person; a more loving wife, an involved aunt, supportive sister and appreciative daughter.

I know I am allowed to have tough days. I am allowing myself to feel things. I am thankful for this experience because maybe my story will help others going through the same thing. We’re not giving up because against all odds, against all logic, we still hope.