Life Lesson for Mommy #50:

Words To The Infertile Woman.

It’s not a comfortable conversation for any woman or man. It’s difficult, it’s confusing and it’s overwhelming. The fact is, that some women just can’t get pregnant. It can be for a number of reasons but none of them are anyone’s fault.  The norm of our society has always been that women should just be able to get pregnant and give life- since everyone does it. But does that mean that the women who can’t get pregnant aren’t normal? This is the furthest from the truth.

Pregnancy can just happen perfectly for some women- the like lucky 5% that just seem to get pregnant in a month, have a great pregnancy and just pop out a kid. But for the rest of the 95% of the population, it takes longer to get pregnant and from that 95% millions around the globe just can’t.

If you’re a women who’s struggling to get pregnant, I understand how you feel. It would be wrong of me to say I can relate to the anguish you’re going through.  I took a year to get pregnant. But I was panicking the entire year, so much so that my family doctor decided to send me to the OBGY before the year was up. I took an increase of folic acid, was told that the consecutive years of taking birth control would mean it would take a bit longer for me to get pregnant- but that if I still didn’t, they would run some TESTS… I freaked out at the word “TESTS”. Those tests are never fun.  So though I can’t relate to your hardship, I can understand the shock a woman may experience.

You are not alone, there are millions of women in North America alone struggling or are infertile. A friend of mine, a nurse, 33 years old struggled for 4 years of IVF, with disappointment after disappointment. It was only after she had given up the dream of having children that she was blessed with the news that she was pregnant. For her case, it ended happily with a beautiful baby girl. It was ultimate proof to her that the stress of conceiving can literally prevent you from conceiving. It was by her advice that I finally just stopped thinking about getting pregnant and just enjoyed my relationship with my husband. And I suppose with the combination of my efforts and sleeping with my husband when we wanted to, not when an a ovulation stick said to (and most of the time those sticks are inaccurate). I changed my thinking, and relaxed my body. I stopped putting pressure on me and my husband, and just accepted that what was to be, will be. And this is how my body is.

I was very fortunate, twice with the birth of my son 3 years after my daughter. I didn’t need IVF or tests…but it was a complicated pregnancy. Filled with confusion, overwhelming situations and just high risk, high anxiety- right to the very end when she was born just under 5 lbs. I had to work hard to create her, to nurture and give birth to her and I will never forget that time. So I may be more appreciative of my children then most people, not to say they don’t appreciate their babies. But when you are put through so much and told you might loose the baby- you never forget those words. And with that you earn an extra badge of honor.

But it was because of that experience that I came to understand how my friend must have felt for those 4 long years. How much she would have cried and cried, prayed and prayed. The silent suffering that only she would have gone through. How small and uncontrollable her life must have felt. How big of a failure she must have felt like. It was probably the hardest time in her life. And the relief she must have experienced to know she was pregnant- I can’t even imagine that kind of happiness.

However, she was like me, fortunate. There are still those women, who go through the difficulty of IVF, the years of wondering in limbo, shedding tears, shedding life and still come out with no child. It is hardship that cannot be matched to anything else on earth. To try to finally accept the words ‘I can’t have children’ is not something any woman can just take easily. And I feel you if you are one of these women. I feel your pain all the way inside my heart. It probably doesn’t help that every time you go somewhere, some ignorant well meaning person keeps asking you when are you going to have kids, and then the looks. Some people think something might be wrong with you that’s why you can’t have kids, and others think you’re selfish for not having it- all the while they just don’t realize that you having been trying and just can’t. Is it their business? No, and you don’t have to stand there and give them an explanation. But you know what, you should.

Why not. What a woman who is going through difficulty conceiving shouldn’t do is hole herself up. I understand. Trust me I understand. I for years kept quiet about the private complications I was going through for my first baby.  What finally made me open up about it, is the shame I felt, died. I no longer accepted this idea that we need to be hush hush about these kinds of things because it makes us look like we failed being women. That getting pregnant and having children was the most natural thing on earth for a woman to do and I couldn’t do that right. I killed those thoughts right out of my mind!

It is natural, it probably is the most natural thing in mother nature. But just because you weren’t able to do something; does that make you less of a woman? How is it a failure that if you by nature are not able to conceive? Isn’t that natures fault? It’s God’s fault, its anyone else’s fault but yours. No matter what. A woman who is infertile, doesn’t suddenly stop being a woman, just like a man who can’t make a woman pregnant doesn’t suddenly stop being a man.

Reproducing is the most natural thing, but that might not be some women’s natural ability. Babies are miracles and not all are blessed with this miracle. But that’s okay. A woman who is infertile has a different miracle she can perform- a choice. The choice to take it to a level that is above and beyond what a ‘normal’ woman will do. She can adopt or find a surrogate. She can bring a miracle to a child who wants a mom like her. She can be the miracle. You can’t have children. That’s okay because now you are going to bring a miracle to a child who is already born but doesn’t have the miracle of a mom. You can give a love that may honestly be beyond what a blood connection can produce.

There are millions of children in the world who do not have a mother, and millions of woman who cannot give birth to a child. This was what you were meant to do. This was the greatness and the badge of honor you were meant to have. If surrogate is your path, that is something that is also hard and you might struggle with, but in the end you will have the miracle you ache for.

The point is that you are not alone. And you don’t have to end your dreams of having children there.

You don’t have to look at adoption as the ‘plan b’. Plan B is usually something people plan because Plan A might have been to unrealistic to achieve. This child you adopt or gain from surrogacy will be your child, will be your miracle. The love between a mother and child will still be connected because you will be the person who will go be going through the hardships to grow and nurture him or her. There may not be an umbilical cord, but there is a bond that just can’t be cut.

You by nature weren’t able to conceive. You will not experience the rip of a child being born from you. You will not go through 10 months of vomiting and back pain that you so long for. You will not have any of those. But you will be the light to a child who has no mother. You will be the miracle to a child who aches for you to select him/her. You will change the course of that child’s life and be the beckon of light that all mothers are. You will be all those and much more. You will be a mother in your own right, maybe above and beyond a ‘normal’ mother. Because it is very easy and pretty natural for mothers who have their own babies to just love at first sight their kids. Your love will be deeper and beyond a physical connection- that is something that’s amazingly beyond natural, beyond labor.

You are still a woman. And now a mother just like me. You have a decision to make now. A long conversation with your partner about your options, please consider adoption very carefully. There are children out there who need a mother like you. You are a miracle, you truly are, so don’t think the miracle of life skipped you. It didn’t, it’s just taking a different form.

So naturally I bid you good luck, and happy motherhood.