Over the Christmas holidays I was overwhelmed with news of pregnancies. I learned that two of my husband’s cousins were expecting and one of them was to have twins. Then, I learned two of my cousins were expecting; both of them due in May. As hard as all that news was, I swallowed my tears, put on my congratulatory smile and continued to enjoy my time with my family while my heart was being torn into pieces. After all, did I not find peace with infertility?
Now that I have two beautiful young ladies to care for in my home, I thought these longings would go away. Especially, since both of these ladies are in their teen years and its enough to make any sterile mom want to remain sterile. However, the old familiar pain returned when I learned last week that my youngest sister was carrying my first niece. That is a total of six babies expected this year in my family!
Instead of immediate happiness, the tears welled up in my eyes. Instead of rushing off to congratulate her, I ran home and dove into my chores with a chip on my shoulder. Instead of lying in bed dreaming of the day I get to hold my niece, I wailed into my pillow. Instead of drifting off into a peaceful slumber, I fervently pleaded with God to cure me of my plight.
How is it that the pain of infertility can be so overpowering when I am right in the middle of motherhood? Is it because I felt robbed of the joy of carrying these girls from birth? Is it because I missed the crucial bonding years that every biological mother experiences? Or is it because the right decisions that I made was not good enough to create a welcoming environment for a new life?
The thousands of prayers I had prayed every night, the journaling in anticipation of life inside of me, the dieting, the exercising, the fertility drugs, and the many hours of research seemed like it was all for nothing. Short of expensive treatments that are far beyond the reach of our budget, I have tried everything I could think of. And, now I feel even more of a failure than ever.
I feel that I not only failed myself, but I failed my husband, my step-daughters, my mother, my siblings, my in-laws, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and my cousins. I feel so isolated from everyone else because they know I am the girl who can’t get pregnant. They are afraid to talk to me; because they feel uncomfortable and are afraid they would unintentionally hurt my feelings. But, out of their sweet kindness, they invite me to yet another baby shower where I feel more pain and grief over the loss of my fertility; by no fault of theirs but my own inadequacies.
I was determined to decline all baby showers from now on. The pain and grief became too much to bear. After all, how could I sit through another blatant reminder of my inability to conceive? How could I try to hold back my tears this time when there are so many women around me carrying a child in their wombs?
But, my baby sister wants me to attend her baby shower. She pleaded with me to be there and support her. How could I say no to her and my first niece? And, if I attend hers, how could I not attend my cousins?
I would not be able to handle the guilt of disappointing my loved ones. Showing up with a forced smile on my face, a gift in hand and holding back my tears is worth the warm smiles and hugs I receive from family when I enter the room. This time I will not be alone. I will have my two amazing step-daughters beside me, squeezing my hand tight and reminding me that I finally have the love of children in my home. They will distract me with gossip about their friends and school, and they will encourage my thoughts in another direction.
In the meantime, I contacted my sister and told her how happy I was for her. After all, why wouldn’t I be? This is my niece! The first baby girl among the seven of us kids. Instead of buying baby boy clothes for my nephews, I now get to buy adorable dresses and pretty pink shoes!
Hope remains constant in my life. I still have hope that one day I will conceive. I am giving exercise and diet another try. Then, I will visit my doctor and try the medications, again. There is less stress in my life now that I do not have angry clientele to deal with every day. If I can manage to lose at least 50 pounds, keep the stress level down, and maintain healthy eating habits then maybe I will finally be able to create a hormone balanced environment for life to reside inside of me. It’s not too late, not yet. I still have hope.