Jews and infertile people have a lot in common. So while other women are disappointed in and appalled at how their relatives treat them when they're trying to cope with infertility, infertile Jewish women are, yes, a little irritated with our relatives, but that's nothing new. Most of our relatives are an irritating bunch. We're certainly not disappointed in how they're handling our infertility issues. We've never been dumb or naive enough to expect compassion and understanding. They're not a compassionate or understanding group. I love my background and am extremely proud of my people as a whole, but something happens to them when they're relatives... and they gather together in a furnished home.
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.
Let’s talk about October. Yes, it is spooky, terribly bad for your diet and can be very difficult if you are dealing with infertility. Personally, we loved (note the “ED”) Halloween. All things pumpkin come out! Pumpkin latte, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer… Am I starting to sound like Bubba, from Forest Gump? You get the point.
Can you remember back to the moment you heard the words, “We are referring you to an infertility specialist” (aka Reproductive Endocrinologist or an RE). You probably felt a wave of emotions – sad, mad, confused, shocked, frustrated, jealous, or maybe you were just numbed by the news.
I remember when my OB-GYN told me there was nothing else they could do for me at their offices, and that I would have to see a new doctor. My issue was amenorrhea (or lack of a period). I got off the pill and nothing, nothing happened.
If you have spent any amount of time dealing with infertility you will have quickly learnt the lack of understanding and compassion that comes along with this diagnosis. Even your closest friends and family just don’t get it. You want to reach out, be understood, be heard and mostly be loved but you sink back down into the pit of despair and frustration.
Does anyone know the appropriate person to petition to have the date of a holiday changed for my own convenience? Would that be Santa or the Easter Bunny? I do feel a six foot chocolate-producing bunny may have access to powers that I clearly do not. I do believe we should have Mother's Day and Father's Day fall on the same weekend so that I could condense my black-out-drunk-from-vodka experience to one dignified, annual, 48 hour period. I do not enjoy that I have only just freed myself from a Mother's Day hangover and here comes Father's Day.
There is nothing vague about my uneasiness, the wish-I-could-jump-out-of-my-skin kind of feeling. Inside I feel sick and heavy, while outside I move my lips to speak and legs to walk, routine motions that make people think I’m doing OK. But most of the time, I'm not, wanting to throw a tantrum or turn the clock back or do things differently--to change reality is what I want. Too bad life doesn’t work that way.
This Sunday will be the first Mother’s Day I get to celebrate with a baby in my arms. I have dreamed of being a mom all of my life, and in some ways, it’s still hard to believe my dream has finally become a reality. I spent so many Mother’s Days trying to forget the day even existed. Going to church only resulted in fighting back tears as I watched baby dedications, and was constantly reminded that I still was not a mom...even after all of my efforts.
If you can relate, then I’m writing this for you. I have been in your shoes, and know how hard it is when the one thing you want more than anything in this world remains missing from your life. I have cried more tears than I can count, screamed at God in anger, begged God to fulfill my request, collapsed in my husband’s arms each month for years, and continually asked one question throughout it all...why me?
Every woman dealing with infertility will tell you that there the reminders of this struggle are everywhere. From the pregnancy announcement on Facebook to the strollers that run over your feet at the grocery store- bellies, babies, and other reminders are at every turn. When you are an infertility patient, this seems to always be the case. But if reminders are ever present, this is doubly true on Mother’s Day.
For those who are still trying to build their families, Mother's Day is not just for mothers. It's for the mother-to-be and for those still trying to build their families through fertility treatments, adoption, surrogacy, or other family building options. YOU ARE SPECIAL TOO! Think of it as a day to honor special women, which you all are. Make it a day all about you!