Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What IF

I am taking part in a project that is a collaboration between Mel at Stirrup Queens and Resolve, called Project IF.

Project IF is to honor National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), which ends May 1. If you'd like to know more about NIAW, please go here. The project started out with many women struggling with infertility (IF stands for infertility for those not in our not-so-desirable club) posting on Mel's blog their worst fears, of just the things they wonder or worry about, in the form of "what IFs." It has expanded to a second step, and bloggers have been asked to pick one "what IF" from the short list they created and blog about it, in the hopes of spreading the word about us IFers, who we are, and maybe even how you can be supportive.

If you are interested in learning more about infertility, go here.

And, please, take the time to visit the list of "what IFs," I believe the list is both eye- and heart-opening. To see the list, go here. There is research to suggest that the stress of infertility is comparable to the stress a person experiences when dealing with cancer diagnosis and treatment. People rally around those battling cancer, but they shy away from those fighting infertility. Please do not allow us to be invisible any more. ANYone can take part in the project, not just IFers, and write about your hopes and dreams for someone you know struggling through infertility. Now, moving on to the "what IF" I chose to explore...

"What IF despite my (hopeful) ultimate success I never let go of the resentment at and jealousy of the women who got to do this the "normal" way and who never experienced pregnancy loss?"

I chose this particular "what IF" instead of another one about adoption, because this issue has been heavy on my heart lately. When I started the adoption journey, I thought that adoption would heal me in a way that would make this not an issue. I knew that I would always carry my identity as an infertile woman with me. I did not know that my heart would still experience excruciating pain every time I see a pregnant woman, or am invited to yet another baby shower. Today, there was a pregnant woman in every meeting or session I was in. Every. Single. One. And I struggled to not cry in every single one. They ranged from 16 year olds living with their parents to middle-aged woman pregnant with one of many children.

And it dawned on me in these meetings...pregnancy is natural, easy and simple. I know, I know, it's a pain, it's uncomfortable, blah, blah, blah. But, for the most part, for most woman, they get a positive test, they dream of their healthy baby, they have 9 months of pregnancy or so, and they have a healthy birth and are handed that healthy baby they dreamed of 40 weeks or so ago. It's that simple, people! I know some of you know this, and may have experienced this. But my view on pregnancy is warped beyond belief. And I am angry about this. And I am jealous of others who can be "blissfully ignorant," who can assume a baby is to follow after that probably easily achieved BFP (big fat positive, again, for those not a part of our club). I do not see pregnancy as a beautiful time of hope and change and new life. I see it as, first and foremost, a mythical thing that happens to people in a different dimension than I am living in. I see it second as another opportunity for incredible loss and pain. What I never see pregnancy as is a natural, healthy, simple process that leads to a baby.

So, back to my "what IF." I think I will always be sad about my learned, albeit warped, view of pregnancy. I will also be angry that others get to experience this "other reality," often over and over again. And I will be jealous that they don't even think about the possibility of loss, death, pain and life-altering grief every time they see a positive on that test. It doesn't even cross their minds. Instead, they complain about aches, pains, their bodies changing, their lives changing, whatever...always taking for granted this amazing gift they have been given. Honestly, me having that pregnancy experience and giving birth to a healthy baby is as foreign and mythical to me as those other ("normal") women imagining carrying a unicorn for 9 months and giving birth to it. It is that outside of my realm of reality.

And that makes me sick. I cannot even see something that is supposed to be natural and beautiful for what it is. And I honestly don't know if that will ever change. And that prospect frightens me to my core.

The last part of the Project is to end our posts with a positive "What IF," something we see as best-case scenario for ourselves. Here it is...

What IF I hold my first child in my arms, who came to me in a non-traditional way, and I think "This was who we have been waiting for. This is the child who was meant for us, and us for him/her. Everything is clear now. The stars are truly aligned. Life finally makes sense again" and my heart fills with only love and I am able to let go of my anger, grief, jealousy and pain...for good? What IF?


  1. oh Faith, so many heartfelt thoughts here that so many of us feel. I am one that does not even see pregnant as something achievable, I've told my husband for years that dtd does not equal pregnancy, I don't know why people think that! haha.

    but about your final IF, I've held that first child in my arms and yes your heart will explode with love and that love will push those feelings of anger, grief, jealousy and pain away.

    Joy to you my friend, and very very soon!

  2. AAGGHHHH! Faith, you seriously ROCK! Just when I think I've found my favorite post of yours, bam you post a new one that takes its place. This is my favorite post. EVER!

    I love how you describe your concept of pregnancy as mythical. That could not be a more accurate description of what it is like for us IFers. When I look at my belly, the concept of it growing with child seems as unlikely as the chance that it would one day sprout a mouth and strike up a philosophical conversation with me!

    I hope you don't mind but I am going to link this post on my blog and then hop on over to check out the "What IF" project because damn if I don't ponder the "what if's" on a daily basis!

    Like Barbie, I hope that the relief of holding your first child finds you very, very, soon :)


  3. I've given birth twice through IVF. Prior to that we had ttc for 6 years and had an ectopic pregnancy and also tried to adopt in the US and from Ukraine. I have to say that what you have said is true. I still do struggle when I am reminded that for some getting pg is easy and even pleasant whereas for us it took many years, many shots and other unpleasant experiences, and tens of thousands of dollars. of course being a mommy now has eased the pain, but it hasn't taken it all away. I don't connect sex and getting pregnant AT ALL since that never happened for us and we haven't used birth control for 8 years. I hope you are holding your child in the very near future!!!

  4. As always, beautifully written. And I hope it made you feel a little better to get off of your chest.

    I can't relate to the loss part, but I can most definitely relate to the feelings of pregnancy being some mythical creature.
    You always do such a wonderful job of putting mine (and I'm sure so many others') feelings into beautifully written words.

  5. I know this wasn't the intention of your post, but it reminded me of that very precious moment:

    on a day when I really needed reminding. Thanks, Faith, and I'm hoping your moment comes soon.