I remember being a little girl and imagining my life when I was older.
Being married and having a house full of kids and pets. In my innocent youth, all of this would be accomplished by 25 and not a day later! I always used to think I will NEVER be as old as my mom was and just having my first at 28! 28! She was SO old at 28 to be having me. No, I certainly would not be that old having my first baby. Well, next thing you know it’s today and I am 4 days away from being 31. This week we’ve officially been trying for our first baby for 3 years. 28 is now just a tiny blip in the rear-view mirror.
All my childhood ideals went flying out the window.
Some of them had already changed as I grew up. I realized that 28 really wasn’t that old. In all honesty, there were times it seemed like the absolute perfect age to have a baby! I was married at 27 and I still felt so young then, but I knew I was ready to take that motherhood step. It took my better half a little longer to come around to the parental bandwagon but he eventually caught up to me on my crazy train to wanting kids.
Neither of us imagined it would be harder than just having sex.
I mean you go through your entire school career being told that if you have unprotected sex just once you WILL get pregnant. They never ever mention that it’s not that simple for all couples. They don’t tell you that 1 in 6 Canadian couples will suffer from some form of infertility diagnosis. They also don’t tell you that 1 in 4 pregnancies can end in miscarriage. We’ve had the pleasure of learning about both those statistics first hand and I can honestly say I truly wish we had been more informed before we entered in to the blind hope of starting our family easily.
The other thing they don’t warn you about is that awful pit of despair you will fall into.
And the green-eyed monster that will follow as you try and pull yourself out. There was no warning label after our miscarriage that said “Beware! Looking at your perfect, sweet, laughing 3 month old nephew will cause your heart to shatter in to a million pieces.”
That same nephew just so happened to be the only family member we even told we were pregnant. I mean what 2.5 month old can’t keep a secret!? Have you ever felt so in love with a tiny little human being before, yet so broken-hearted? You want to see him and snuggle him constantly. But even while doing so your heart just aches because even though you love him and you know he loves you, it’s not the same love between a mother and child.
For so long I bottled up every emotion to do with our miscarriage.
As the months went on and we still weren’t pregnant the resentment and anger grew. I hated people I didn’t even know. And why? For the sole reason that they had what I wanted most and that I felt no closer to it than the day we officially started trying. It’s honestly not something I am proud of whatsoever. You flip back and forth between anger/jealousy and guilt, and it’s something that is honestly so guttural. It was completely out of my control. Then when we got the official diagnosis of PCOS.
It was just the final nail in the coffin.
It made me feel as though it would just never happen. I was doomed to be bitter and hateful forever. I mean there was a small tiny voice in my head that said “at least now you know and it’s treatable.”. But the voice in my heart was louder and more overbearing saying “shut up brain, we hate everything and everyone”.
I despised who I was becoming, because this certainly wasn’t me. My heart was always something I was proud of. My empathy made me a better person so I started to try and turn myself around. When I’d see people post pregnancy announcements, rather than immediately jumping to the “I hate them” conclusion I’d try to make myself think about it. I didn’t know if they struggled to conceive or if they had had a previous loss. Sure, there were still moments where my initial reaction was unpleasant, but I tried to not let those moments define me. I realized that you never truly understand what’s happening in a person’s life unless you’re directly involved.
That was my first moment of clarity.
As the days went on I very slowly shared things on Facebook, starting with things about miscarriage. Our families and friends knew at this point, so I felt safe in letting the cat out of the bag to the world. From there it became sharing things about our struggle with infertility,. A post, a picture, an article, you name it, I shared it.
At first it felt as though none of it really mattered to anyone but me. On the day I received that first Facebook message from a friend, who was feeling some of the same pain I was, I felt so vindicated and justified. She was struggling in silence like I had done for so long but the moment she saw that someone else understood her pain and fears she was experiencing it’s almost like it normalized it for her. She may think that I helped her feel better, but in all honesty she helped me so much more. I felt this weird sensation that I had pretty much forgotten existed. Instead of grief or anger or jealousy, I felt pride.
My words had had a positive impact on another person. My struggle had inspired someone else.
That was the first moment that I really realized I prefer to stand up for people rather than tear them down. I don’t want them to feel the same pain I did.
It’s been an uphill battle since then. Some days I slip back down a few feet, but most of the time I am confident on our path. I know things are still unclear. It feels better to help to educate people on infertility and miscarriage than it ever felt to hate someone for no good reason. So, here I am, on the cusp of turning 31. My childhood self would probably lose her mind to know that I’m this “old” and still don’t have an earthy child, but adult me knows that all things worth having take a little time.