Dear Pregnant Infertile Friend,
Well that sounds like quite the oxymoron, doesn’t it? I’ll start by saying congratulations, and I fully understand if you’re feeling nothing more than completely terrified right now. Your brain is most likely fried and your body is probably already exhausted. I’m sure you feel like you’ve been set on autopilot to this destination- pregnancy. Now you’re here, and you’re probably wondering how you’ll have the energy to actually be pregnant now. You just will. I don’t know how, but you will. I promise.
Your Google history reads something like this, “What is a good HCG level? How long until embryo becomes fetus? What is the miscarriage rate after cardiac activity is detected for a second time?” You’re probably afraid to move or lift anything. You obsessively pop your Estrogen pills nervous that you will somehow forget a dose and something bad will happen. That’s the thing, something bad might happen. You know that. You’ve had bad things happen before. I’m not here with the “trust the process” or “believe it will work out” manifest crap. All you’ve been through has made you a bit salty. So, yes, something terrible could happen again. But, something wonderful is possible, too. I might argue that something wonderful is even likely. Even if you don’t believe it, just keep telling yourself that.
You’ll spend awhile quietly hiding away. Friends might wonder where you are, but your secret is safe for now. You’ll catch yourself staring at your belly and start to daydream. Because, you’ll realize that there is a chance that this is finally “it”. What’s growing inside of you really could be a baby you’ll get to hold and raise and love forever. Soon, people are going to start congratulating you. It’ll definitely feel surreal to be the girl receiving the congratulations. They’ll ask if this is your first baby. Usually you’ll just nod and say, “Yes,” because explaining it all is far too complicated. They’ll ask you if you’ve started buying cute little outfits yet. You might awkwardly smile and say something like, “Oh, soon!” You wonder if there’s something wrong with you, because you can’t bring yourself to buy anything yet.
I also want to remind you that it is okay if you feel terrified of ultrasounds. After all, they signify years of an empty uterus being displayed on a screen. You know that not all ultrasounds are fun where they tell you the sex of the baby. You know that some ultrasounds end with devastating news. You know that you can walk into an ultrasound and walk out twenty minutes later being transformed into a completely different person.
You know that it’s okay to feel a whole bunch of ways at once. It’s healthy-especially when you’re in the middle of it all. You’ll cycle between fear and excitement for months and months. Gratitude will remain at the core of it all. Then comes the guilt. Being a pregnant infertile comes with a boatload of self-inflicted guilt. You feel guilty for being pregnant and being anything less than blissfully elated. You’ve made friends with other infertiles who continue to chase their dreams while being met with failure after failure. You watch them pour their hearts, wallets, and souls into it all and wonder, “Why me? Why not them, too? When is it their turn?” You feel guilty that you still carry around a little bit of anger. You’re angry that creating a family took more than just a bottle of wine and a weekend away. You’re angry that all that was lost along the way doesn’t suddenly cease to matter anymore. It still matters, and it still hurts to think about.
Time will pass and you’ll find your belly growing bigger and bigger. You’ll start to let yourself feel excited, but then you’ll have a moment of panic. All of the “what ifs” will flood your mind again. As you replay every possible horrible scenario in your mind, a voice in your head will remind you, “There is a likely scenario that ends with this beautiful, baby in my arms forever.”
As your belly grows, you will become very aware that your presence alone could make someone else feel sad. When you walk into your OBGYN appointments, you try not to lock eyes with the women in the waiting room. You wonder if there’s anyone in there for their post-miscarriage check-up. You’ve been her, and you know how upsetting it is to be surrounded by pregnant bellies.
People will say things like, “Trust your body!” and “Listen to your gut!” You’ll nod along quietly while you know you’ll never be able to fully trust in it. You’ll check off the weeks on the calendar and just keep pushing through. There will be moments of joy, elation, and happiness while you’re pregnant. I promise you it won’t all seem so heavy and scary every second of every day.
So, pregnant infertile friend, I will leave you with this. I don’t have to tell you that it will all be worth it when you hold a healthy baby in your arms. You already know that. It’s what you’ve devoted your heart to all this time. You’ll look at parenting and life in a whole different way. There is one thing I want you to know that I wish someone had told me. The pain never quite leaves you, but it won’t consume you anymore. It will make you look at your life in a completely different way. Sure, you’ll still feel like garbage when your screaming baby wakes you up at 3am, 4am, and 5am. But, in those tough moments, you’ll be able to step back and see it all with the utmost perspective. Your heart will burst open, and you will be born, too . Just as you did through infertility, you will become a different person. You will be come an “infertile mom”, and it will be a beautiful thing.
A Fellow Infertile Mom