Like so many who face infertility, I never thought it would happen to me. When I dreamed of creating my family, I never imagined pain and heartache would accompany something I thought to be so fundamental to my plans in life. But I, like 1 in 8 couples, soon found myself in the quagmire of doctor’s appointments, needles, and disappointment that accompanies infertility.
Here is what I want you to know:
Infertility initially turned me into a person I did not want to be. During our infertility treatments, I found myself turning into a jealous, judgmental person. Why did other people experience pregnancy and family so easily? Why couldn’t it be easy for me? Why did I feel these jealous pangs for people who I cared about at every pregnancy announcement? While I genuinely wanted to be happy for those around me who were expecting or adding to their family, I could not help but be filled with envy. I had to learn to give myself grace. I had to learn to accept the emotions I felt, process them, and move on.
I still feel guilt about our journey. We persevered and were eventually fortunate enough to have our son. It’s not lost on me that many people aren’t as lucky. Many people must face and accept the fact they will be childless. I feel truly fortunate that we were eventually able to have a child, but my gratitude is certainly tinged with sorrow for those who have not realized that dream.
I must accept that my family looks different than I imagined. I always imagined having more than one child. After the financial and emotional impact of having our son, we realized that he was going to be the only child for our family. A realistic assessment of our access to financial resources prohibited us from seeking other options. Many years later, my heart still aches for the family we never realized.
I remain thankful. I never thought I would be thankful for that bumpy road of infertility. But I am extremely grateful for the personal lessons I learned, and for that gratitude evolving into a calling to help others build their families. Most of all, I’m thankful for my little family. Even though it’s not what I imagined, it’s mine.
During National Infertility Awareness Week®, April 18-24th, we want to advocate alongside RESOLVE to show the daily impact of infertility and the challenges people face to build a family through the lens of your camera. We invite you to join us to talk about the issues facing this community and make sure we continue to support those most in need.