The Silent Struggle

This past Sunday, I was driving to church with my two babies riding peacefully in the back seat. I looked back at them: one asleep, one looking out the window, and felt so grateful. I am so, so thankful for the two babies that God has given me, especially because, at one point, I truly thought I was never going to get to have a baby. During this time of feeling so grateful and having one of those moments where I think, “Wow, I’m really a mom”, I also felt a pang of sadness for the baby I never got to meet, and then for all the women that haven’t gotten that chance, either.

Also, a disclaimer: While I’m not sure we can really compare levels of difficulty/grief, I realize that my infertility journey was shorter lived and much less painful than some women have to endure. It took a year of Clomid and Femara to get pregnant the first time, then the waiting and healing from miscarrying, and then about six more months of ovulation meds and waiting to get pregnant with Hudson. I am fully aware that some women struggle much, much longer than that and with much more intervention than just ovulation meds. If you’re in the trenches of your infertility journey, I hope you know how strong you are.

Having a miscarriage is easily the most traumatic and unsettling thing that’s ever happened to me. I was pregnant, and then I wasn’t. I waited weeks for my body to realize that I wasn’t pregnant anymore, and then finally miscarried at home. I truly do not wish the experience of a miscarriage on anyone, but I know it is far too common and so many women suffer silently, which is why I talk about my experience that much more candidly. I wrote about my whole experience here.

I didn’t know that I would still think about a tiny, barely formed baby three years later. I especially didn’t know that I would still think about this baby when I had two babies Earth side with me. This has been the most surprising thing about the struggle with infertility and having a miscarriage for me; the fact that it’s stayed with me. Although it’s really not talked about very openly, I imagine this is the case for many, many women.

My heart still hurts in an indescribable way when I hear about someone else who is struggling to get pregnant. I still feel combative when I hear someone complaining about pregnancy pains when there are women who would do anything to have that pain. I still feel jealous of people who have no difficulty at all getting pregnant, even though I have two babies of my own now. The infertility struggle is long-lasting and confusing, and I definitely didn’t expect it to be.

I am an outspoken person, and I don’t shy away from discussing infertility or miscarriage, even though I realize it makes people uncomfortable sometimes. To me, it feels like the only way I can truly honor the baby I didn’t get to meet is by discussing all that I know about it. I know that my honesty has helped someone, and that’s the reason that I keep being candid about my experience.

I also really hate the word “struggle” that is associated with infertility. It doesn’t really fit. It’s hard to describe something that can consume your entire life; your thoughts, your emotions, your body, your marriage as just a “struggle”; the same word someone might use to describe the difficulty they had getting out of bed that morning. If you’ve ever been through any version of infertility, you know that babies and talk of babies is everywhere. On one hand, it’s amazing that this is the reality because babies are miracles. On the other hand, it makes it extremely difficult to stay positive and hopeful when all you want is to have a miracle of your own.

If you’re “struggling”, just know that there is hope for you. It may not be on your timeline or the way you pictured it, but there is a better plan than you have for yourself in the works. You’ll come out stronger. I firmly believe that the “struggle” sets you up for taking in every ache and pain of pregnancy and every sleepless newborn night and seeing it as the blessing it is. I’m praying for you, and you are so much stronger than you think you are.

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