There is something about being a married gal in her early 30’s that begs friends, family, and strangers alike to ask you, “So when are you having kids?” I am the first to admit that I am guilty of pestering people with the same question until I began to experience firsthand the heartbreak of having to lie. “It’s on our radar.” “Babies smell my fear.” “We’re focused on being Aunty and Unkie.”
After receiving some not so stellar results from initial fertility testing a few weeks back, I no longer need to lie. I have a perfectly plausible explanation as to why we have been together for 8 years and continue to be childless. That being said, opening up about our fertility struggles has been incredibly hard hence hiding behind the anonymity of a blog. After taking a few weeks to digest the news on our own, we decided we could really benefit from the support of our nearest and dearest. This week we had conversations with both sets of parents and two of our closest friends.
I have learned that I have unrealistic expectations and that our loved ones are just as baffled as we are about how to handle our news. We have been “reassured” with stories of others who also struggled with infertility “but then they tried “x” or “y” or “z” and PRESTO, they had 8 babies.” When discussing our interest in exploring adoption, we were offered a “congratulations!” We were told “well, maybe you just need to try a little bit longer/harder/have more hope/etc.” I can absolutely understand that all of these offerings were meant to ease our suffering and remind us we are not alone.
I have decided that what I really need right now is to grieve. I am sad, angry, disappointed, frustrated, shocked, resentful, embarrassed, and absolutely terrified that our life as a family may not evolve the way we envisioned. I know there is hope, I know we are not alone, and I know that we will be ok. But right now, I just need to have the space to cry, to be anxious, and to sometimes eat my feelings.
This week has taught me so much about the power of validation. I felt the most peace during an interaction in which the person said: “I am so sorry you are going through this. My heart hurts for you both. What do you need?” I will absolutely remember how supported I felt in this moment the next time I have the urge to offer someone solutions to a problem they are just not ready to solve. But for now, I will eat cookies. Loads and loads of cookies.