I remember a time before you.
A time before I knew your name, your face or what your laugh sounded like. A time before I saw you crawl or caught your first smile. A time before I held you in my arms or felt you kick in my tummy. A time before the excitement of announcing your pending arrival to the world. A time before the indescribable joy knowing you were created and coming to us..
I remember a time when the sight of a nursery would make my stomach twist. A time when I was hesitant to scroll Instagram knowing another announcement post could trigger a world of uncontrollable emotions. A time when suggested ads on Facebook featuring prams or play gyms would deepen the pit in my stomach. A time when those around me would pause with uncertainty of how to tell me something or if they should at all. A time when opening an invitation to another baby shower would make my heart ache a little. A time when picking out a gift on the way to the hospital would cause me to push through tears in the car before going inside. A time when holding someone’s precious bundle would stir up tears of more than just joy.
The same time that was also ridden with guilt. The shame of feeling sad over something I didn’t have but others could – because I never wanted them to feel less excited for themselves. I hated the thought of anyone’s special time being dampened by the thought of my reaction. If anyone felt anything less than excited to tell me, I would hate myself for it. A time when it was confusing for myself and friends to navigate how to share news that should be so easy to celebrate and yet had both of us weary of egg shells we weren’t sure were there or not. Moments that were supposed to be flooded with uncontainable joy were at times awkward or delayed. And that killed me too.
Because it was a time where I was so heartbroken for myself, and yet still so happy for others. Talk about emotional exhaustion. I knew in my head that there wasn’t a certain amount of pregnancies per year for the world, and that someone else having their blessing arrive didn’t mean mine never would. I knew that full well. I reminded myself that while I had sent up countless prayers for my own miracle, I would never know how many prayers they had sent up for theirs too. It wasn’t a matter of who had ticked all the boxes or reached the right levels. My head knew all of this. The logic was clear. But that didn’t stop my heart from sinking and splitting most days.
Because that’s the crazy thing about your heart and what it truly wants – it will yearn for it. Whereas your brain doesn’t yearn for things. Your logic doesn’t long for things until it hurts. Your common sense doesn’t draw you to the things you can see but not have and coat your thoughts in the sweet nectar of ‘I wish’ or take you down an emotional rabbit hole every time you don’t surround yourself with tasks and projects and distractions and anything but the broadening reality that what you most want is all around you but somehow not within you.
You see, we sometimes have the ability to switch our brains off. To rest. But have you ever tried to switch off your heart? And I don’t mean, have you had a crush who didn’t like you back in Grade 8. The vast difference there is that you possibly had a crush or two before then, and most likely will have a crush or two hundred after that. I mean, have you ever told your heart that it cannot have what it instinctively wants? Forced your heart to focus on other things, to want other things and to crave other things. Tried to rewire your genetic makeup and nature that has you chasing what is the most common thing to some, but not for you. Because this desire to be a mother is unlike any fleeting wish – it sits within your very being. If you feel destined to be a mother, then that stays with you. Forever. There is no change of scenery or career move that can shift that impression.
And so to be working towards it and doing everything in your power for it, and for whatever reason not see it coming to fruition, the heartache is so very real. And raw. And relentless. Perhaps you have a reason or diagnosis, which can be daunting and overwhelming. Perhaps you have no theories or reasons as to why it hasn’t happened yet, which can be frustrating and disheartening. Either way, it hurts. It really, really hurts.
And whilst it is something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, you also wish there was someone you could talk to about it. To air out your feelings that are so stuffy from being kept in, for fear of sounding over the top or unwarranted. To vent your frustrations to without having to back them up or explain why you feel that way. To ask why or why not me a hundred times over and over without sounding like a negative attention seeker. To spill your emotional guts without any fear of upsetting or offending the listener who hadn’t been there or like they’re the bad guy for being able to have so simply what you want so badly. To cry without having to say anything, because they just get it.
Well, I’m here, and I am always ready for a conversation. And even though I sit here right now checking my snoozing toddler on the monitor as I wipe finger prints from who knows what off my laptop screen, I get it.
I understand. I see you. I hear you. I feel for you.
To this day my eyes still fill with tears reminiscing on our trying to conceive journey. And regardless of how much I love my son, how many amazing memories we have with him, how many years we laugh together, how busy I am, how tired I am, how happy I am – I will never forget those 4 long years that felt like 4 slow decades.
Your feelings are your own and are entirely warranted. I know it is hard to face all the questions from people who don’t know what you’re going through. I know it is hard to filter through all of the unsolicited advice from people who have heard parts of your story. I know it is hard to stay positive heading to yet another doctor’s appointment. I know it is hard to add in another promising vitamin or herbal tea. I know it is hard to try and defend yourself to another person saying you’re so young, you’ve still got time, it doesn’t matter or that there are other things you can do instead. I know it is hard facing another Mother’s Day holding back the tears. I know it is unfair to have to justify what is on your heart, while so many others follow theirs at the very same time without any challenge from society or their own bodies.
I know, and I am sorry. Sorry that it has happened to you. Sorry that infertility is even a word. Sorry that we have a week dedicated to trying to raise awareness on what should never be a taboo topic. Sorry that I don’t have the fix you’re after or the magic words. I am sorry for this time in your life, and I hope it passes soon and you have your miracle in motion.
Because I remember a time when I could be so genuinely happy for a number of reasons, and yet still feel such a heavy void in my life nothing else could begin to fill before I had you. I will never forget that feeling, and I will always remember those years and what it was like to dream, cry and pray for you every single day.