Throughout my own struggle with infertility, I’ve noticed some things. I’ve noticed that it sometimes feels like everyone is getting pregnant. I’ve noticed that every Tom, Dick, and Harry has some piece of advice to offer about infertility (usually well-intentioned, but ultimately, trite). I’ve noticed that the tick-tock of the biological clock gets louder with every passing month.
These are things I expected. I figured they just come with the territory. However, there’s one thing that I’ve noticed that I never really expected.
I’ve noticed that many of you, my (more) fertile friends, have an uneasiness about how to talk to me about the fruits of your fertility.
*me- opens email*
“Hey, I wanted to give you some time and space to digest this news…”
*me- sees pregnancy announcement on social media and sends a congratulatory note*
“I’m so sorry for not telling you, but I didn’t know what to say…”
*me- walks in on conversation about a baby shower*
“Well, anyway, I’m not even sure I want to go…”
And, I get it, friends. You don’t want me to feel bad. I absolutely love and appreciate the heart behind why you do these things. I guess I just never expected this side effect of having an empty womb.
I recently had a conversation with a newly pregnant friend who said she didn’t tell me she was pregnant because she was feeling so guilty that she just couldn’t find the heart to spill the beans.
Why?! I wondered. How could you possibly feel guilty about sharing such incredible news?!
Then, it hit me.
We infertile folks have been sucked into this culture that often endorses bitterness and anger and jealousy towards our friends (and strangers) who have what we so desperately desire. This culture expects us to roll our eyes when someone who wasn’t even trying to get pregnant shares their news. This culture pushes us to check out (physically or mentally) from conversations about other people’s kids. This culture even encourages us to cancel plans with our other formerly infertile friends who have finally been blessed with their miracle.
Now, listen. I’m certainly not saying that the feelings behind these kinds of actions aren’t valid. They’re perfectly natural feelings to have when we’re not getting something we want so badly, through no fault of our own.
What I’m saying is that for me, friend, I’ve found that these feelings do more harm than good. They take over the parts of my heart that want to celebrate your joy, the parts that want to support your growing families, the parts that want to help you raise up the next generation in meaningful ways.
Struggling with infertility is hard. NO DOUBT. I spend at least a few days a month wallowing in a swirl of sadness and at least a few more being a little agitated that something every woman was LITERALLY born to do is more like climbing effing Everest for me (and yea… I get a little sweary on those days, cause… HORMONES).
The thing I want to let you in on, my friends, is this. In spite of the days of suck…
I want you to ask me how it’s going.
I want you to ask me to baby sit.
I want you to share your big freaking news and invite me to the baby shower.
I want you to talk about how you’re worried that your kid will be anti-social because he hits other kids with blocks at day care.
I want you to ask me if I mind holding your little bundle for just a minute (FYI: just understand that that “minute” is about to become like hours).
I want you to complain to me about how it straight up sounds like a cow is being milked when your breast pump is running.
Well, a little selfishly, it makes me feel normal. But more than that, it gives me hope.
I absolutely understand that I may be in a small minority of women who feel this way about your sharing, and that is TOTALLY okay— our hearts are made and broken in all kinds of different ways.
But for me, sharing with you is precious gift because it reminds me that despite all the scientific advancement in the world of fertility, there was still less than a 25% chance that that kid of yours was going to happen, but by the grace of God, there he is.
So, stop feeling guilty people. Share with me.
Your babies remind me that we are chosen. That we are loved. That there is always hope to be found even when the odds are stacked against you.