The Pregnancy Shadow

(Trying to) Cope with Infertility

Every woman in the world has things in common. One of those things (and probably the most annoying) is when we hit a certain age and the "baby questions" start; not to mention if you're not married then you get the "baby/marriage question" combo! For some women the answer is as simple as waiting until they are ready or just going with the flow and it happens without trying! But what about those women who deal with PCOS, Endometriosis, etc... 

The Questions

Every woman deals with the questions, "Have you thought about kids?" "When are you going to have a baby?" and my personal favorite, "You're the only one without a baby! You gotta try harder or don't you want children?" Although the questions aren't usually meant to be harmful, for a woman who knows children may not be a possibility they can be devastating. As always you are left with a couple different options. 

  1. You can politely inform said person of your fertility troubles in hopes of stopping all conversations out of pity (and risk the pity stares and words of condolences) 
  2. You can simply give the person some sort of fabricated lie (one that you have probably told so many times you don't even feel bad for lying anymore)
  3. Lastly you can just throw it out there that you're not ready (even if that isn't the actual case)

But let's face it, any of those above things lead to more questions and more conversations about a subject that very clearly is uncomfortable. You see no matter what, the conversation is going to come down to pity stares, unwanted stories/unwanted advice, and lastly what I like to call "pity phrases."

Pity Phrases

We've all heard them at some point in our lives for one thing or another, but there is something rather off putting when trying to discuss your infertility (whether it's with family, friends, or whoever) and you get the "It'll happen if you don't worry about it." "Well you just have to patient."

You're sitting there telling someone scientifically your body doesn't work correctly and they totally dismiss it. Look we all know that you're just trying to be nice and trying to help but saying things like, "Just don't think about it and it'll happen," it's not nice for us, it's doesn't help us or make us feel better. These pity phrases can be harmful and make us women who aren't blessed with high powered ovaries feel even more inadequate than we already do.  

So please if you're reading this and know you're guilty of "pity phrases" and the "baby questions" please take this as you're polite, loving wake up call to stop! If you're one of the challenged (like me) I know the questions and the (inadvertently) snide comments can get annoying. They can ruin a perfect day in one fell swoop but like always you just have to push through them and keep your head up.

All Aboard the Emotional Choo Choo

Inadequacy, worthlessness, defeat, anger, sadness, fear, etc... The list goes on and on. You can feel these all in one instant, an instant that is slow motion and lasts a life time. How many of you have just sat there feeling like less of a wife, like less of a woman because you can't get pregnant naturally? The hours of crying, pleading, and begging with your body is exhausting. For some of us we deal with it on a monthly basis. Every single month tracking your cycle, peeing on sticks for this or for that and of course you can't help but symptom search. You keep telling yourself to not get excited and not to get your hopes up.  But we can never help it and then testing day comes and nothing. A big ol' fat negative. So you tell yourself "Ill wait a week and try again" so you do and again nothing. Another month of disappointment and feeling foolish because "something was different this time." Coping with this is never easy. In fact some days I cannot. 

The aftermath of the test is deafening and so silent all at once. We sit there and wonder what we missed, was it because I missed temping that one day last week? Did I miss my ovulation? We sit there and torture ourselves for days afterward wondering what could've gone wrong and why can't our bodies just be "normal." So now here we sit in this funk, babies seem to be plastered everywhere; social media, family and friends sending pictures to you, every baby commercial ever seems to be playing on the television. How do we deal with this? The ever looming shadow of pregnancy just sits above our heads and weighs down on us. Every pregnancy announcement, gender reveal, baby shower and birth is a constant reminder that we can't give our SO's a child, we can't love, cuddle and watch these little human beings grow. Every story of abuse, neglect and abandoned children is like a knife to the heart knowing that we are sitting here pleading with the universe for the very thing other parents take for granted.

Losing the Shadow

We all need to remember that there are things we can do to help ourselves. It can be as simple as getting to a therapist just for someone to talk to, to starting the steps to get medical help in conceiving. Obviously not all of us can afford 11,000+ for IVF (In-vitro fertilization), adoption, or surrogacy. However we can at least take steps to try and make our situations better. There are lots of grants and organizations that will help with infertility treatments. 

The biggest thing is, is that we have to DECIDE to not let our problem get to us. We have to lose the shadow of doubt and fear that makes up our little pregnancy storm cloud. On some days losing our shadow may not be possible. Everyone has bad days and we are allowed to have them. We are allowed to be upset, mad, depressed but we can't let it control us and ruin our lives. We need to remember to take one day at a time with our baby journeys and fight for our unborn children until the day our journeys end. 

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The Pregnancy Shadow