(I will be posting this on my regular family blog and facebook for the fertile world to see!)
In light of National Infertility Awareness week (April 24th-May 1st), I wanted an opportunity to describe what infertility is to those who have been lucky enough to walk outside its shadow; what it is like when every fiber of your body has ached for a child for years on end only to realize that it may always remain a dream unfulfilled. My words will most likely seem over-dramatic and yet will still underplay what infertility is to the millions of people who have experienced it.
What Infertility is...
Infertility is the deafening quiet of an empty house, the hollow 'extra' room that has echoed with a silence only your heart can hear.
Infertility is combing over your family tree and wondering whether your branch will end with you.
Infertility is walking past a children's clothing store and strollers, seeing a mother with her baby, hearing the song of children's laughter, all with your heart in your throat.
Infertility is not being able to plan or even know what the future may hold, turning it all into 'if' rather than 'when'.
Infertility is the family picture you get in the mail at Christmas and the knowledge that if you sent one out, all you would see is who is missing.
Infertility is the death of what could have been, and what may never be, ushering a grief you must re-experience. Every. Single. Month.
Infertility is a box of used needles, a bruised abdomen, an emptied bank account. And two weeks later, despite all that, it is yet another single line on the test stick.
Infertility is the cold rush of immense guilt as you cry tears of sadness rather than joy over a loved one's pregnancy.
Infertility is avoiding get-togethers, holidays-it is your life on hold so that you may not have to walk into another unexpected announcement or mask the utter devastation life keeps handing you.
Infertility is exhausting.
Infertility is innocence lost as you now learn to always expect the next fall.
Infertility is the deepest understanding that life is not fair.
Infertility is your heart's desire always on hold.
Infertility is the same longing others have-to feed, love and nurture your child, to feel their breath on your cheek, hear their cry in the next room, to see them grow and be a part of the world, and to know that all of this may never take place.
Infertility is not a sisterhood I signed up for, but nevertheless one that gave me amazing friendships with some of the strongest women I've ever met, ones who are still standing, still fighting.
Infertility is a silent loss, one that is so rarely recognized for what it is.
Infertility is NOT a choice.
Infertility is a theif for if you are lucky enough to finally be with child, it is with a trepidation that leaves you at first whispering your good news rather than shouting it from the rooftops, leaving the pregnancy journal empty for fear of jinxing your immense fortune.
Infertility is a crisis I lived through for almost 5 years that in the end made me stronger than what I was before, more understanding. Infertility made me a better friend, wife, and now, mother.
Infertility is something that will always be a part of who I am, in my heart, in every breath I take, and when I hold my child, no matter how far I appear to walk away from it.
And yet still, infertility is something I would have lived through a thousand times over to bring my baby boy home.