Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Infertility is so much more than.....

Infertility is so much more than not having a baby in your arms.

That’s why you can’t hand your crying baby to the infertile woman and say things like, “Here, this will make you feel better. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to put up with this?”

The woman experiencing infertility doesn’t want your baby. Certainly, your baby is squishy and lovely (even when crying) and smells so nice, but that’s not it. That’s not even a consolation.

Nor is saying to your infertile neighbor, “You should just adopt. If you adopt I swear you’d get pregnant. It’s happened to like, three of my friends/relatives/coworkers.”

Because, that’s not it either. It’s not about achieving some ends to a means. It’s not about belittling adoption so you can achieve a pregnancy.

And adoption is not a scientific cure for infertility—and it’s not an emotional cure either.

Infertility is an all encompassing state of being. It has the force to completely take over the core of a woman’s belief about who she is and what she is capable of. It’s not about having a biological baby or an adopted baby or a foster baby, it’s about feeling whole even if no baby ever comes at all.

It’s about overcoming those days when you are called to repentance (by well-meaning family members) for “lacking the faith to conceive” or for being selfish because “what is taking you so long to have a baby?”

It’s being able to love your body even though it’s not functioning in a fertile way. It’s about ignoring the statements like, “just get drunk and you’ll get pregnant,” or “just stop trying and it will happen” or “maybe you should take a vacation”

My own battle with infertility has ripped me apart. In these heavy years I have felt every emotion given to mankind to feel. Jealously like a furious ocean. Anger, rage and self-directed disappointment. It isn’t just the inability to conceive, it is the inability to believe in myself.

There is a lot of misunderstanding everywhere I go.

My weakness is not seeing who I really am, with or without a baby. I can only see myself as a person who wants to be a mother. I am incomplete.

I feel when or if we ever do conceive to full term, I will never get over the entire experience completely. But I remember saying to myself during those extremely lonely days, “I want hope more than I want a baby.” I didn’t mean hope that someday we’ll conceive, I meant hope that someday it wouldn’t be so painful to be me.

The light at the end of the tunnel comes when the light inside of yourself illuminates who you really are, and what you’re really capable of.

That’s when infertility becomes less about having a baby in your arms and more about gratitude for having experienced it.


  1. Wow. The line "It isn’t just the inability to conceive, it is the inability to believe in myself" was really powerful. My struggle was a whisper compared to yours, but I remember how it made me feel like I failed as a woman - on the most basic and primal level of life; that I couldn't even fulfill my gender's role, the whole purpose for existence.

    I was cringing today when someone posted comments on your FB status update about having faith, adopting, just relaxing and how her friend got pregnant. I just wanted to scream "shut up!" and post a link to your blog. Because you are finally giving people information about how to provide better support and not be insensitive asses.

    As usual, your blog and ability to express yourself so intensely and clearly amazes me. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I say it again, you are the most honest and amazing woman. Love you.

  3. Dear Amanda,
    I heart feels your pain... There was a time when I was told I would never have anymore children. I had an allergic reaction to birth control that sent my body into a spiral of "female problems" Yes, I had two daughters at that time... but I felt broken! No one understands. I actually switched to a female GYN so I could possibly get some sympathy since I wasnt getting any help otherwise.
    Not many people know that DJ was a twin... I lost the other baby somewhere between 12-20 weeks. They call it "disappearing twin syndome". Two babies in the ultrasound at 12 weeks... one baby at 20 weeks. Not a mirrored reflection/mishap of the equipment... but one baby head up & the other head down. I'm sharing this with you because I also know the pain of "comments" others make in their pitiful effort to help you cope.
    "Aren't you glad your not having twins anymore?"
    "Everything happens for a reason?"
    "Probably for the best, sometimes twins have physical issues"
    OMG!!!! The things people say...
    What I will say to you is that I will pray for peace to come to your soul... Whatever God's plan for your future will come to pass... He doesn't always answer our prayers in our time frame, nor do we always get the answer we desire. But he loves us and he does want your heart to be in this state. His desire is not for you to feel "less of a woman".

    Jeremiah 29:11
    "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."