When you’ve been trying for a while 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 ninteen months of negative pregnancy tests. Sad, that I was so sure in December that “this is it”, just to be told by my doctor, “I’m sorry, 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, we have stopped expecting it- so where’s my big fat positive, my two pink lines?
Did you know one in eight couples struggle with infertility? One in eight! I hate the term infertile, but technically that is what we are considered (under the age of thirty five and trying without success for over a year).
Before you flood me with the story 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 success stories are out there and yes they are inspiring.
Those success stories don’t guarantee me my 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 and advice strangers have given us. No, I don’t want anymore. 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 sister told me she was pregnant.
It’s was a new level pain. A dark, ugly cry filled pain that is unlike any I have experienced. A can’t-do-anything-without-crying kind of pain. A jealous, yet 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. 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 first niece or nephew 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 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 that came without any effort. 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 I might never experience the joy my sister is.
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, chatting about baby names, and even attending a lunch with her and my (divorced) parents to discuss her pregnancy.
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 bit.
Surprisingly the more involved I feel with her pregnancy, the less it hurts. 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.