I LOVE FALL! I love almost everything about it. The smell, the feeling of crispness in the air, the colours of changing leaves, and let’s not forget, all things pumpkin spice! For as long as I can remember, I have lived for this time of year and the beauty that comes with it. However, like anything else, things can change, and while I still love this time of year, recently it has brought heartache with it. One I never expected and was certainly not prepared for.
In the days before social media, September was just the beginning of two and a half months of pure beauty, however, things evolved, and we now share our daily lives on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. When you deal with infertility there’s a lot of things that can become a daily struggle. Mother’s Day, pregnancy announcements, Father’s Day, weekly “bump” pictures, baby showers—you get the idea. Before social media it was a little easier to ignore all these things. But nowadays, we share it all with the world. And don’t get me wrong, I love it and I’m happy for your blessings.
I’m just a little sad for me.
One of the things that a lot of people don’t always think can affect you, are those adorable back- to-school pictures parents post. While I absolutely love seeing them, and how your little one has grown over the summer, it definitely puts a lump in my throat, because I know that there is chance I may never get to experience the joy and emotion of a first day of school for my own children. With a history of infertility and miscarriage, my days are filled with a lot of ifs and maybes, rather than whens.
Over the last week my feeds on all forms of social media have been filled with that bright-eyed wonder for the first day of school, some for the first time. There have been pictures of kids holding signs stating their grade, what they want to be when they grow up, or pictures of themselves from last year’s first day of school. And as I scroll through “liking” posts as I go, I can’t help but wonder, would I really be ok if this were never me? Would I ever be able to accept the reality of not getting to have these experiences? On the day that most parents were taking pictures and sending their babies off to school, I was having testing done to make sure there was nothing left from my miscarriage.
Irony at its finest.
I know I am not the only one experiencing these feelings of angst and uncertainty. Over the last couple of years, and through many struggles, my group of friends within the “infertility community” has grown exponentially. No one quite understands what you’re going through, like someone going through the same thing or something similar. We just kind of “get” each other on a different level. It’s a club you never really wanted to be a part of and it’s something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, but you are so glad you have it. So many people struggle with this time of year, even those who already have kids and are now battling secondary infertility. It’s not knowing if you will ever get to experience the first day joy again, or ever at all.
It’s also knowing that this week, back to school, is just the first in a long string of painful moments. Thanksgiving, Halloween, and most dreaded, Christmas guarantee that you will see more than your fair share of holiday-related pregnancy announcements in the coming months.
Fall has turned from a season of beauty, to a season of dread with each passing significant event.
But, through it all, there is beauty in infertility. Not in the process or the pain we all feel, but in the support from the friend who gets it and lets you empty your heart and soul while they just listen and understand. It’s the beauty of the community of people who stand together to share their stories as a means to help educate and end the stigma surrounding infertility. Most of all, there’s beauty in the hope we allow ourselves to feel. The hope for the day we finally get to experience all the firsts, from a pregnancy, to a birth, to the first giggle, word, steps, and someday, to be the one posting our beautiful miracles’ first day of school.
My hope for each and every one of you reading this is that you’re able to find some solace while struggling through what can be a very tough couple of weeks. Hang in there, you’ve got this.
By Brittenay Bell, journeytobabybell.wordpress.com