It’s a situation no one quite knows how to talk about. But as the holiday season is fast-approaching and I remember it being a difficult time for me back in 2007, I just want to acknowledge a silent hurt that affects so many people I love.
I have several wonderful women in my life who have struggled or are still struggling to become mothers. Some have longed for a baby for months, others for years. Either way, every month that goes by is marked with disappointment, frustration and tears when they find out that they’ll have to try again next month. Their husbands can’t seem to find the right words to say even though they are hurting right along with their wives. It’s a very lonely road for these women. Many ache to begin that journey they feel in some inexplicable way, they too were meant to experience.
Still, they have to smile and be happy (because of course they really are) when their friends announce one by one, that they are going to have their first, second or even third babies. Obviously, they’d never hold it against those of us blessed enough to have children. But they find themselves asking quietly, “Why can’t it be me? When will it be my turn?”
And then those same friends will accidentally stick their feet into their well-meaning mouths and say the most stinging words of all: “Just try to relax! I’ll bet that’s why it hasn’t happened yet. Once you stop worrying, it will all fall into place.” I know I have probably said those words before Scott and I went through our brief nine-month-stint of unsuccessful attempts at conceiving. But I will tell you, those words hurt. Please don’t ever tell a woman who has been trying for any amount of time to “relax.”
Scott and I were lucky that we didn’t need to do fertility treatments and I don’t take that for granted. Not when I see these strong women I love, being poked and prodded, vials of blood drawn, tests that are both conventional or groundbreaking just to find out WHY they aren’t able to conceive. Most of the time, that part doesn’t even do much at helping them get pregnant. This is just the “collection-of-information-stage” to figure out why it isn’t working.
Like a torturous merry-go-round, the seasons go around. Christmases for two instead of three and Mother’s Days for other women who were able to have babies go by and they smile through it all on the outside but cry when the festivities are done.
After only five months of Scott and I going through it, I too had a panic attack before a family Christmas party and chose to go home after breaking down in the car. I just couldn’t be around those happy, smiling, joking people when I was feeling so…broken. And, that was just five months in! What about those who are five YEARS in?
So here I am, tonight. Thinking of you beautiful, strong, determined, intelligent, women in my life. You all know who you are. And I am telling you: Don’t bottle it up. Those of us who are able to have children are cheering for you. I send a prayer up every day asking for you to have a life that is blessed with a baby. However that happens, however that looks for you, and whatever road leads you to that place, I hope you keep on walking. You may feel alone. But you have people who care about you and want you to keep going. We will take our ego out of the times when you just need a good meltdown. We won’t have any words of advice because we don’t know how you feel. But we will keep hope alive for you. And we will listen. That part we can do.
Thank you for being there for our kids’ birthdays even when you want to be able to celebrate the birth of your own child. Thank you for going to our baby showers and buying us diaper pails when you would give anything to be wiping up your own baby’s poopy butt. Thank you for loving our children like your own and for liking every picture or video we post on Instagram. Thank you for never treating us with bitterness or resentment for complaining about a sleepless night with a sick kid.
This selflessness you are showing now is proof that you will be a wonderful mother when your time comes. And on behalf of all moms, we are here for you moms who aren’t moms yet. Much love and respect for you all.