Monday, October 19, 2015

Change is hard....Even good changes.  Like taxes and death, change is inevitable.  A friend recently confided in me that I've changed since having a child.  I'm not sure and didn't ask if the changes were good or bad, but the point is this comment made me reflect as I often do.  

Even though some people are adamant that children will not change them, it is nearly impossible for them to NOT change you...or at the very least your lifestyle.  Most people who plan on having children realize and accept this.   Assuming you're not strictly referring to lack of sleep, lack of time, and divided attention, not all these changes are bad otherwise the human race would have ended long before I arrived!  For those of you reading this that are parents, I don't need to tell you what those wonderful blessings are...the kisses and hugs you get are only a few perks that melt your heart!  

I was one of those naive people who said children would never change me.  The more I thought about it the more ridiculous and impossible it sounds!  If I didn't want my life to change, then WHY did I want a family?  Of course I wanted my life to change!  After some more reflecting I think I meant that children will not change who I am....but realized my lifestyle would change.  And after a bit more reflection, I realized my daughter didn't change experience with infertility did...or at the very least changed me more than having a baby did.  I can honestly say that I really believe had I not gone through the trials and tribulations of infertility and had children as planned on my timeline, I'd be a different mother and a different person....and I can't say that would be a good thing.  While I can't prove this theory, I had a pretty good idea who I was before and after both children and infertility.  

To try to put things into perspective: imagine something you want  so badly with every fiber of your being but can't no matter how hard you try or what you bad that if it were legal and you had no morals or conscience you'd consider killing for it. While everyone has different experiences, imagine it not feeling or being a very positive experience.  There are alot of variable that go into what you perceive:  support system, personality traits,  how you are treated by others and outcomes are only a mere few.  For example some people with cancer have a great support system and attitude while others have the opposite experience which is mostly despair.  I'm not saying people who seem to have a better outlook have a walk in the park with their illness, but perhaps have different coping strategies that puts things into a different perspective.  Much like cancer or any other disease or illness, infertility is life good and bad ways.  For me, I think the most difficult part of infertility was people not understanding the impact and importance on my life and my happiness....often invalidating my feelings.  I recently read an article written by someone who experienced both cancer and infertility (God bless them!) and she said her experience with infertility was more difficult.  Her reflection was because cancer is so sadly commonplace these days that many people are better equipped to understand how to support you, what to say and what not to.  Many people don't "get" and aren't sensitive to the feelings those of us with infertility experience and unknowingly say hurtful things and invalidate our feelings.  You often tend to feel invalidated, de-feminized because your body can't do what it's meant to do, and insanely jealous that others  have what you want so badly and so easily....and so many don't realize what a gift it is!!!!  Experiencing and reflecting on these moments for so many years  is what I believe changed who I am.   While I may not be the funnest, most care free, and available person anymore, I have gained so many more positive traits.  I am more sensitive to my own and others feelings yet have learned to have tough skin,  I tend to think before I speak alot more,  I tend to know "who my audience is" before I say things that may unknowingly be hurtful, I tend to be more compassionate and sympathetic....something simply (or not so simply) having a baby didn't cause me to do.  Also, because I learned what really is important my life, how fragile it is and how hard it was to come least for me....I have little tolerance for any unneeded drama and negativity.  I take many relationships more seriously and value them more because I realize the importance and fragility of them...yet have had to bow out of some relationships because they were more draining and toxic than rejuvenating.  I think that my daughter would always be number one and even without infertility I'd put her first and make decisions accordingly...but I have a totally different perspective on what's important in my life as a direct result of infertility.  For that I am thankful.  I don't think I would have realized this as soon, if at all, had it not been for my experience.  

Any life altering experience is bound to change person.  I realize not all traits I gained were positive as this was truly a traumatizing time in my life.  My coping strategies could have been better but I played the cards the best I knew how at the time.  I tend to trust alot of people less as a result of being let down by them, tend to hide my feelings out of fear of having them hurt or invalidated, am a bit more jaded, definitely frustrated, and resentful at times that we had to deal with this.  The first step is to realize next step is to change these feelings into more positivity.  While my struggle with infertility doesn't define me, it has definitely SHAPED me. Change isn't always a bad thing.  Everyone has some emotional baggage and how we react and change from it is different person to person. Change only shows you hopefully learned and grew as a person as a result of your experience.   Regardless of what life throws at you, most people aren't the same person they were 10 years ago...I am learning to love my new skin as my personal evolution continues.  I have learned that I may need to help friends and family realize, respect and accept, and learn the "new" me and hopefully they will love me for it.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


After failing miserably with keeping up with this blog "post infertility" (if there is such a thing), I've decided to rename and repurpose this blog.  Originally this blog was started a few years back in the midst of infertility treatments.  Not only was it cathartic, but it was an outlet to educate friends, family and anyone who'd listen and who's interested on the topic of infertility.  Upon numerous comments posted, it proved to be helpful to enough people out there struggling (including me)!  It seems a shame to give up writing about something I know so much about and something that is so close to my heart.  Afterall it has shaped who I am!   Just because our attempts to have a child finally came to fruition, doesn't necessarily mean that we have "beat" infertility and still don't have issues and feelings that arise.  Our sweet baby girl finally came into the world 16 months ago and life will NEVER (thankfully) be the same...but I must admit there are still several times when infertility feelings rear their ugly head.  So with some soul searching I've decided to re-name this blog from "Our journey to the baby bump" to "Our journey to the baby bump: before, during and "after" infertility".  I am doing what I like and do best and like to think helping a few people along the way.  Stay tuned for some upcoming posts.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Today I'm filled with mixed's a bittersweet day.  Today, May 20th, is the love of my life's (my daughter's) FIRST birthday!  I didn't think in a million years today would be so hard.  I expected today to be filled with only joy and celebration.  While it was filled with happiness, I am also a little sad to say goodbye to her infancy and move into the next chapter.

I'm sure this is hard for most people to understand.  I would suspect that most people reading this struggle with infertility and would give their right arm to be in my situation right now.  I've been there.  For years, I felt like I was always on the outside looking in, mostly sad, jealous and angry I couldn't and didn't have the family I so desired...what everyone else seemed to be able to create so easily.  It was hard and even to this day it is still difficult for me to hear pregnancy announcements.  Even though I have dealt with these feelings, it still conjures up past memories that aren't all that great.  And because I don't feel like my family is complete, it still hurts.

Why is it so easy for others to make a family, yet so hard for us?  It's not fair.  Even so called "beating" infertility, I still can't get over the unfairness of it all.  I love my daughter to bits and to the moon and back a million times over but I want a brother or sister for her and likely won't be able to make that happen.  I cherished every day with her so far and didn't take a day for granted.  It's hard knowing that she will likely be my sole experience at motherhood, albeit so far a great one.  I'll never get to be in the delivery room again and have that moment when you meet for the first many firsts....I remember them all and long to have them again with another child.  I know this sounds a little selfish as I should be happy I have her.  I am.  I truly am.  But no one calls someone calls a woman selfish who isn't experiencing infertility when she wants another baby.  Kinda sounds like a double standard if you ask me.  Infertility is hard for people who haven't experienced it to relate.  People say some pretty hurtful things at times like telling the story of how it only took them ONE time to get pregnant.  People think that because I have my daughter I should be 100% happy and fulfilled and "get over it"....that I'm lucky enough to have her.  Half of that IS true.  I AM lucky to have her, especially after multiple failed treatments.  But she was such a blessing and a joy that I want to experience it all over again.  So while this day is a happy milestone for me, it is also somewhat sad and reminds me of my shortcomings.  Granted when I look at her, most of the sadness melts away....but it is still hard knowing I can't provide her with a sibling.  

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Do I stand alone?

It's NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week) and it's time for me to get on my soap box again.  Better late than never I suppose.  Even though I rarely post or keep up with this blog since our miracle baby arrived I assure you infertility and all it's glory is still very much a part of me.  Just because we supposedly "beat" infertility doesn't mean we were cured.  I guess most people think that just because we finally succeeded in having our miracle baby that we somehow are free from all the traumatic feelings infertility has brought us.   Many of the feelings still remain and likely will for quite some time, if not forever.  Infertility is a BIG part of me and has proudly made me who I am, but yet doesn't define me.  I am learning that some wounds take a long time to heal and nothing but time can make that happen.  Struggling with infertility is just something you never forget.  If you have had the unfortunate chance to experience what it has to offer then you can understand what I'm talking about.  Unless you lived with or through it, you could never fully grasp all the implications it has.  I've learned it's not easy to brush these feelings aside...even on the other side.  It's even harder to sit with these feelings, reflect on them, and learn from them.  Upon reflection of my experience, infertility is not all bad and traumatic.  It has made me a better person and has shaped who I am today.  

If you have walked down the path of infertility, man or woman, young or old, gay or straight, black or white, we ALL share a common denominator that's part of our fiber.  It's HARD.  Nothing about it is easy.  It didn't come with a manual.  All our stories are unique but each of us shares the same feelings to some extent.  For example, you are not alone when you are devastated at yet another pregnancy announcement that isn't your own...yes, even AFTER so called "beating" infertility.  It's not because you aren't happy for them, but because you are hurting so badly for yourself. You aren't alone when you think to  yourself, "if I hear one more piece of useless piece of advice" after you've heard the typical "just relax and it'll happen" or "just adopt".  You aren't alone if it's draining your bank account...and draining you emotionally.  You aren't alone when you crumble to the floor at yet another negative pregnancy test.  You aren't alone if you "lose it" when you accidentally walk down the baby isle in the grocery store or happen to stand in line next to a pregnant lady.  The list is endless.  We've all had these and so many other feelings.  It's normal and okay to have them.  It's downright human.  It's okay if you can't attend your best friend's baby shower.  If she were in your shoes, she'd probably do the same.  Don't let ANYONE invalidate your feelings and how important they are.  I promise for most of you, whether you come out on the other side of infertility with that baby you so longed for, that it's these very feelings that will make you a better person.  It may be hard to see this in the midst of injections, invasive exams and dollar signs....but it can happen.