“Coming to the decision to build our family through adoption for us was somewhat simple. We needed all of the information about our fertility first. From that point, we felt like we had wasted enough time TTC to pursue anything other than adoption. ”
I thought about what to title this post for over a week. Learning to talk about how I felt when I was mourning the loss of pregnancy is a piece of me that I wanted to share.
There was a time (it seems like a lifetime ago) that I had a goal to be finished building my family before I turned 30. I used the phrase ‘Done having babies’. My vision for myself was filled with baby bumps. Me, the hot mom with a perfect post pregnancy body. I was ready. Fast forward a few years: not pregnant, not yet, and not ever. Choosing not to experience pregnancy is a loss that I mourn.
When I was first learning to own this new reality, it was not easy to talk about. I was ashamed and embarrassed. I felt like I was less of a woman. Wrapping my head around the fact that something so common and so easy for some was not going to be my reality wasn’t simple. I didn’t realize how much of my self worth was tied to having control of my family building or how profoundly different my life was turning out than my peers.
Everyone around me was getting pregnant. They were planning showers, complaining about pregnancy, and doing maternity photo shoots. Around every corner, there was a baby bump or a shower invitation. My friend and I both started to ‘try’ around the same time. We would fantasize about our kids being the same age and experiencing motherhood together. She ended up pregnant not once, but twice! I watched as her family planned her gender reveal, her shower, and decorated the nursery. Pregnancy is an event where women rally around one another. They share stories and experiences. It’s a bond. I wanted that. It felt like a right of passage.
There wasn’t a congratulations ‘you can speak about infertility without getting hives shower’. Or a ‘never going to be pregnant photo shoot’. It was isolating. I felt like I would never fit in with other women or other moms. I felt like I was one of the boys. Where was my ‘building my family through adoption never gonna be pregnant woman tribe’ party?
Not being pregnant helped me to learn so many things about myself and the world I live in. Here are three of them…
- Pregnancy is a journey and an experience.
It’s a life changing amazing experience. Most people are pregnant to become a mother. You can be a mother and a parent without being pregnant. I originally thought that pregnancy was a journey to motherhood. It is not the only journey. I was writing letters, creating photo books, and making online profiles. I was learning adoption language, practicing adoption language, taking classes, and being finger printed. I was discussing my weaknesses with our social worker at my kitchen table. Believe it or not, there is not a cake cutting at a ‘we’re adopting reveal’. This is my journey to motherhood. My experience.
2. Not experiencing pregnancy is also amazing.
It’s different not being pregnant. People have a harder time relating to things they themselves did not experience. Being pregnant is amazing, I’m sure. I’m sure because everyone tells me so ;p. Not being pregnant is also amazing. My journey is a testament to how much strength and how much love it took to bring my child into my world (reference your favorite facebook video or meme about labor/ delivery/ pregnancy here) The fierce unconditional bond that flows between my son and I is truth that my journey is amazing.
3. Motherhood is a privilege and an honor.
Infertility was one of the first times I had to learn to accept and live with things out of my control. When I let go of my expectations for myself in regard to pregnancy, I learned that I am enough as I am. I can do hard things. I am worthy of the best life I can dream up. No one is entitled to be pregnant. No one is entitled to be called mommy. Motherhood is not a given. Living with infertility allowed me to own the shape of my life. Having the time (oh, so much time) to consider life without being a mother allowed me the freedom to see the gift of the fray of motherhood.
How has infertility changed you? Was it a surprise?
If you are familiar with infertility, you have probably heard of Resolve. If not, Resolve is the national infertility association.
Today, I learned about the 19th Annual Night of HOPE, specifically the Best Blog Award. The Best Blog Award is given to a blog written by someone who is living with infertility and whose blog posts raise awareness about what life is like when you’re faced with infertility.
I choose to share this here because when I was in the thick of infertility, I felt very alone. Infertility blogs were a safe way for me to connect with women who were like me. They provided hope, insight, and a glimpse of what my future could look like. The women who chose to share their stories provided me with a guide to life with infertility. Here are the best according to Resolve. I spent the day reading through these. They really are amazing.
Excerpt from #StartAsking for Support In All Its Forms:
So for me… I want to #StartAsking for people to share their struggles, not just their successes. I want to #StartAsking for people to not get uncomfortable when I talk about infertility. I want to #StartAsking for better insurance coverage for infertility, as it is a disease. I want to #StartAsking for people to have empathy and compassion, and put themselves in other peoples shoes… because I would trade anything for your morning sickness… telling me how horrible it is, isn’t helping. I want to #StartAsking for the world to get educated on infertility, and acknowledge that it isn’t just a women-centric issue. Infertility affects men too! And men need just as much support! Read more.
Excerpt from We All Start Somewhere:
I would also add that I’m open to talk. We have held this in for more than 10 years. I guess I would like to talk. About whatever. No bad questions. There are no, “should I have not asked?” questions. And if you don’t want to talk, that’s ok too. But encouragement is always appreciated. A hug, handshake, comment, wink, smile, “like,” whatever works. Read more.
Excerpt from #STARTASKING:
The more we open up and #startasking ourselves and others these tough questions, the more people will become aware of infertility and all it entails. Once more and more people #startasking, the dialogue can begin so that we (both those who have and have not encountered infertility) can better support one another. I shared my story to get the conversation going, so now I must #startasking, will you?. Read more.
Excerpt from WHY I’M GRATEFUL FOR YEARS OF INFERTILITY:
The reality that we were now one of those couples — you know, the 1 in 8 who experience infertility — was almost too much of a burden to bear.
I felt like we had done everything right. We had good jobs. A beautiful home. We were paying off our student loans, and we were financially secure. We started asking ourselves, What’d we do to deserve this?. Read more.
Excerpt from START ASKING: For Infertility Awareness Year Round
My point is PLEASE – Start Asking for awareness year round. When someone asks you why you don’t have kids, ask them if they’ve ever heard about infertility issues and then educate their fertile and innocently ignorant selves. Read more.
Finding really great quality blogs to read takes a lot of time! You can thank me later 😉