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Choosing Joy

a blog by Madison Rae, November 11, 2013

I think one of the things you quickly learn with infertility is that you cannot always control your emotions as you counter certain scenarios. You often times think you are completely in control and then hearing about friends or even a stranger being pregnant can reduce you to a hot mess. The tears falling no matter how hard you fight to hold them back.

It can be really easy to fall into the trap of bitterness, especially in the beginning stages. I remember the first time that I got upset over a friend's pregnancy. My thought process at the time was that it wasn't fair and that she never even wanted kids. I wasn't prepared for feeling and thinking those thoughts, and I wasn't overly happy with myself.

As the years went by, the emotions would come & go in waves. There were instances that I never really had a reaction and then, still others, my heart would deem those particular ones "more difficult" and I would find myself overwhelmed and at a loss.

In the nine years since I had my second endometriosis surgery and we started trying, I have thrown 14 baby showers. Yes, 1.4. and of the 14, 9 couples didn't know each other when we got married, 5 of them didn't even know each other when we celebrated our FIVE year anniversary and the hardest ones to date were the three that were still in high school when we were married ten years ago.

A lot of my friends who struggle with infertility express their shock at this and question how I have done it. As several of them will not even go to baby showers. And it is because somewhere along the way, I chose joy over sorrow. It is not the easiest decision, but one I am glad I did.

Here is one story as to what really gave me second thoughts as to how I dealt with what seemed like an endless stream of pregnancies, as if everywhere I turned...everybody was walking around with a big belly, almost mocking me it seemed. A friend of mine and I were (actually probably more so acquaintances) discussing my desire to get pregnant and our struggle and she relayed how her best friend had waged the battle with infertility for over 4 years and that when she and her husband started trying and got pregnant rather quickly, her friend got somewhat angry with her, pulled away and then even refused to attend her shower, informing her it "was just too much".

She told me that it absolutely devastated her, she was in the process of one of the biggest moments in her life, she was nervous and excited, simultaneously, and she felt punished by her friend. She reiterated that she understood completely where her friend was coming from and even went out of her way to not talk to much about it around her. A few months later her friend finally became pregnant and excitedly called her to share the news and talk about everything and she said she fought bitterness because she was excluded from sharing her own experiences with this friend. She felt her pregnancy was less important because she hadn't struggled.

And that hit home with me, many times I have wanted to back out, many times I have dealt with envy or jealousy. I have shed tears over the happiness of people that I love dearly and while it makes me human, it doesn't make it easier. for anyone involved.

Each person is different and you have to handle your situation in a way that works best for your life and your health, but I can promise you this, I have absolutely no regrets at being a part of any of their special days. I love the relationships I have with their children. It is the best way to get baby snuggles in and when I look back at pictures, even remembering how desperately I was hurting, I was present when it mattered.


Comments (1)

My emotions about infertility range between anger, sadness and, sometimes, I am even able to convince myself I am happy to be infertile. I have forced promises of early retirement travel plans into my head to dampen the emotion. It doesn't get any easier to see my friends who have surprise pregnancies excitedly announce their news. Or, worse yet, when I hold a baby that was conceived and born within the same time we have been ttc. Thanks for your thoughts, it helps to know others out there have the same feelings I do.

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