This is my second post for Canadian Infertility Awareness Week and I wanted to talk a little bit about how there will always be some degree of pain associated with pregnancy announcements and births.
You see, when you go through infertility, it is very hard not to become bitter towards everyone who is getting what you so desperately want. Yes, we all deal with this differently and there are various levels of hurt depending on where you are in your journey, but one thing I know to be true is that it will always affect us in some way. That's just the way it is with something so big, it changes everything.
Let me try and help you relate, as much as you can.
Think of something that you really really want. Maybe this is something that you have always wanted or maybe it is something that has only recently(ish) been brought into your radar. No matter, all you know is that you want it and you plan to get it. You look around and see that most of your friends and family have it, so it must not be that hard to get. And so, you innocently start your journey to attain this much desired dream. At first, you are still very optimistic that it will soon be yours, but as time passes, you begin to wonder if maybe it won't be as easy as you thought it would be to get. Still, you keep working towards it because after all, it is something that you desperately want.
You've now been trying to reach your goal for a while and there may have been a few unexpected bumps along the way. You may have decided you needed help to get it and reached out to professionals to assist you. Asking for help was hard, because you felt like reaching out meant you were incapable of doing this on your own. But you remind yourself that if someone else can help you get this thing you really really want, it will all be worth it. Maybe you got so incredibly close to your goal, only to have it snatched away from you once you felt like it was in your reach. Maybe you blame yourself for losing it too. You may have spent thousands of dollars paying someone to help you get this thing you so desperately desire, only to find out it was all wasted money.
You feel like a failure. You feel left behind and left out. You feel like you are broken. You wonder why you can't have this thing that you want so badly while others seem to be given it even when they don't always want it. You hurt. A lot.
Now, how would you feel in this situation? Would you be bitter? Jealous? Angry? Confused? Sad? Depressed?
You can definitely imagine how it must feel to not be able to get pregnant or stay pregnant. But you have to live through it to know the depths of pain you go through. I know that no matter how much I try to make others understand how it feels, they will never really know unless they are struggling with infertility themselves. And that is okay. It's to be expected really. It's that way for everything, like cancer or divorce or abuse. Unless you live it, you can't fully comprehend its depths.
This post though, is talking about infertility. And I wanted this post to be a reminder to be sensitive when announcing you are pregnant or given birth to a new little miracle. You are allowed to be happy and excited, because it truly is a happy and exciting time. We in the trenches don't expect you to feel any differently. But what we do ask of you is to be sensitive and caring and remember that it hurts us. While we may be putting on a brave face and sharing in your joy, a little part of us is also crying inside. It is fully possible to be happy and sad all at once, we know because we have been there. Just remember that our sadness is justified and validated and it doesn't mean that you and your baby matter any less. It is not an affront to you or to be taken as an insult. You are just getting what we want so badly and so it hurts. This hurt is normal and okay to feel, remember that.
Sometimes we can be brave and happy and congratulate you and other times we need space and time from you. What we need most from others is understanding. Understanding that it hurts and always will. We need to be told that we are being thought of, that you know it must hurt and that you don't hold it against us. We need you to acknowledge us and our pain alongside the happy excited feelings that come with the birth of a new baby.
And so, to wrap up, remember that we will always feel this pain, no matter how much times passes. Remember that we love you and want you to be happy for yourself, but also to acknowledge our pain. Be gentle and sensitive and it will go a long way.
I'm telling you this because my pain matters too. It's not meant to be at the forefront of everyone's minds and the center of attention, but it is also not to be forgotten. There should be open communication about how I feel, instead of hiding it or feeling like I'm a bad person for being sad and jealous.
Because it's time. It's time to talk about things like this.