Very few people knew about what Steve and I were going through, but due to the fact that the doctors appointments occurred during the work day, I filled my co-workers in, very briefly, about our situation. Unbeknownst to me, one of my fellow co-workers and his wife were also trying to get pregnant but after eight months they were becoming frustrated. My co-worker asked if I would be willing to talk to his wife because she was really struggling. Sure…why not. Their journey was still in the beginning phase, but I knew the frustration and I had learned a lot about the in’s and out’s of trying to get pregnant. I had hoped that the stats I had learned would be comforting to her. I met up with her after school and listened as she fought back tears and vented out her anger. I continued to tell her that I understood how she was feeling and to maybe start the plethora of tests that I was told to take, so that, if and when, they had to go in to talk to their doctor, they would be a little ahead of the game. I walked away feeling like maybe I had helped and hopefully made her feel a little better.
Well, was I unprepared for the can of worms I had just opened up. Soon I began receiving text messages from her, venting about how no one understood her pain and heartache. I became the recipient of way to much information about what took place in their bedroom, to which I responded by flinging my phone across the room as if it had just turned into a poisons snake, and then, I felt the need to shower. Any run-ins that we did have included her running up to me and talking about everything infertility. I kept looking at her, wondering how she hadn’t passed out from talking, because I don’t think she took a breath between words. However, what I began to realize, was that her struggle defined her. It consumed her, and she assumed it did the same for me. I became her “infertility buddy” and that was all I was to her, someone who she felt lived and breathed the need for a baby.
I soon began to get a pit in my stomach every time I saw her name pop up on my phone or her face in the crowd. I hated that she had made me feel like I was a label. I did not want to be defined by infertility and what I was going through. I have never been defined by anything, and I didn’t want to start now. Even though this was a monumental thing that Steve and I were going through, it was not the only thing. I was going to school to get my masters degree in education. I was an Aunt to two little boys, a sister to my wonderful sister, a daughter to two amazing parents, a wife to my loving husband, and a mom to my two adorable fur-babies. I was writing a book and hoping to one day get it published. I was a volleyball coach and a special ed assistant who took pride in the students I worked with. I was so much more then a person struggling to have a baby.
My co-worker and his wife became pregnant and welcomed a healthy baby girl. I became unnecessary, as I was no longer needed as an “infertility buddy”, and I was ok with that, because even though I became frustrated as hell with her, she actually taught me an incredibly valuable lesson. She taught me that I don’t want to be defined by infertility. That I needed to take some time to remember who I was before this struggle.
It is so easy to become completely consumed by the infertility journey and I have had my moments where the sorrow, heartache, and pain has overtaken my entire body and shut me down for days. However, at some point, in that ugliness of sorrow, heartache and pain, I crawl out from under it all and remind myself that this does not define me and it will not run my life. If you find yourself in this struggle, remind yourself that there was a you before all of this. That you have so many wonderful parts that make you, you. Find those things and hang on to them. If you have a hobby or sport that you love, make sure to take the time to do them. If you have something you have always wanted to try, do it! It truly helps! It takes you out of the dark, the ugly moments and days, and reminds you that you are a person that is not defined by your struggle with infertility. Be kind to yourself and remember to continue to live your life through the ups and downs of your journey.