It's just one little word. Eleven little letters. But they crush me.
You see, I hadn't planned this. For as long as I remember, I had planned on having lots of kids. My sisters would talk about specific numbers. I would say "as many as God gives me," but in my mind, that meant an abundance - six or eight or more.
I grew up in a big family - I'm one of five, my dad is one of ten, my grandma is one of twelve. Of course I'd have a big family!
I never expected this. I never expected infertility to become a part of my life.
Yet, completely uninvited, it came.
Some would say, "be content with what you have!" or "at least you have one child." I say, you don't understand what it's like to see your dreams crushed every single month. How it feels to wonder if they will ever be fulfilled? What it's like to watch your friends and your family members get pregnant when they want to while you stand by. To have this happen year after year. To see families deciding they are done having kids while you wait to have one child (or another).
So please, don't tell me to be grateful. I am grateful. I look at my sweet girl often and think how absolutely blessed I am to have her - how much of a miracle she is.
But I also see how much she loves babies and I wonder if she will ever get the chance to kiss and snuggle with her own brother or sister. I wonder how long it will take this time. I wonder if the medications will work or what my "options" are.
And while I am on this emotional rollercoaster, I see other young women's dreams coming to fruition as their bumps grow, their babies are born, and their adorable qualities are described.
I love babies. I've always loved babies. But please know, sometimes the very thing that gives me so much joy can also really hurt. Sometimes my heart breaks when I see your adorable baby smiling at you for the first time because I remember what that was like - and I want so much to be there again. Sometimes I can't stand to hold your baby because I already want a baby and the emotional turmoil of touching another baby makes that desire unbearable. Sometimes just hearing another pregnancy announcement makes me want to curl up and sob, not because I'm not happy for you but because it's another reminder that my body doesn't work properly.
Infertility is a strange mix of emotions - ups and downs.
I don't say any of this because I'm looking for pity or sympathy or even thoughts/prayers that we would have a baby soon - I'm not looking for that. I just need you to understand why sometimes I retreat away from babies - why I may not ask you to hold them - why at times I may not seem enthusiastic upon hearing your pregnancy announcement. Just know that I am absolutely thrilled for you, even if it is hard for me to express that.