The full, happy life my husband and I now share with our four boys often makes me feel like our journey with infertility was a lifetime ago. There was a time not so long ago that I was told I would probably never have kids. If someone had told me twelve years ago that I would have four beautiful little people calling me Mommy, I wouldn’t have believed them.
My husband and I married as teenagers, but we always knew we wanted a house-full of kids. Six years later I had finished college, we both had good jobs, and we purchased our first home. It was finally time to have a baby! I had never known anyone who struggled to get pregnant, and had no reason to think we wouldn’t be pregnant within a few months. Over a year later, I sat in the room with a doctor who coldly told me that I had “unexplained infertility” and might not ever have a baby. I’m pretty sure my heart shattered into a million pieces right there in that exam room.
As time passed, I became painfully aware of every pregnant woman I encountered. It seemed like everyone else was getting their happily ever afters, and ours would never come. It’s painful to admit it now, but I was jealous and judgmental of teenage mothers, friends who were having babies while unmarried, and people who I deemed “unfit” to be parents. I always painted on a smile, but the thoughts that filled my mind were not loving, kind, or faithful.
If you’ve never personally struggled with infertility, it might be hard to imagine what that journey can be like. For me it was the one of the lowest points in my life. Not knowing if I would ever be able to carry a baby was a struggle that took a toll on my mental health, my faith, my relationships, and my marriage.
Infertility is a life-changing journey.
Photo by Three Bees Photography
It’s doctor’s visit after doctor’s visit.
It’s expensive. Like, empty-your-life-savings expensive.
It’s a calendar marked with stars each month so your husband will know which night you “have to” try.
It’s crying in the morning because you missed a “trying night” because you were so mentally and emotionally exhausted it just didn’t happen.
It’s hating yourself because you cried when your best friend/sister/co-worker announced her pregnancy.
It’s getting painful injections.
It’s lying on the bathroom floor in agony because of the side-effects of the medication.
It’s hundreds of negative pregnancy tests.
It’s asking God what you did to deserve this.
It’s hating your body for failing you.
It’s having horrible mood swings and feeling out of control of your emotions.
It’s seeing the pain in your husband’s eyes, and even thinking deep down somewhere that he should be with someone else who can give him the child he’s always wanted.
It’s being afraid you’ll get pregnant with multiples.
It’s getting pregnant with multiples and then losing them.
It’s being confused because you got pregnant easily the first time, and now you are unable to give your child a sibling.
It’s people asking you “why don’t you just adopt?”
It’s thinking that with the money you’ve spent, you could have given a beautiful baby a home through adoption.
It’s wondering if anyone will ever say “Mom” and be talking about you.
Sadly, this list offers only a small glimpse into what infertility is like. Each person struggling to conceive walks a unique path filled with different trials and emotions. There just isn’t a one-size-fits-all guide for navigating this type of journey.