Infertility changes everything.
In the two years we suffered, my body failing cycle after cycle after cycle, I watched my whole world change around me.
The way I interacted with others.
My relationship with God.
What I spent most of my time daydreaming about.
What I spent most of my time talking about.
What I spent most of my time crying about.
The amount of time I spent in a doctor's office.
The number of medications I took.
My willingness to undergo a diagnostic surgery.
What I ate.
My feelings toward baby showers and pregnancy announcements and big bellies and the diaper aisle at the grocery store.
Who I befriended.
My plans for our married life.
All of this changed instantly. Along with about 500 other things.
Infertility takes normal, happy-go-lucky life and turns it on its head, with barely anytime to breath between.
Thoughts go from, "We're going to be parents in 9 months!" to "I'm not sure we'll ever be parents" in a matter of 6 unsuccessful cycles.
What a sad, lonely, tumultuous time.
While there were still many fruits during our 2 years of infertility -- growing closer to God, trusting in His will more than my own, strengthening our marriage, and so on -- it was still very raw, real, and painful. And not at all what we had expected and planned.
So it should come as no surprise that infertility has colored this pregnancy too.
While we're over-the-moon excited, feeling blessed beyond belief, and so thrilled to have our dreams finally coming true, I can't shake the feeling that our time spent with infertility has changed the way I'm experiencing this pregnancy.
But actually, I think it's for the better.
While I don't love that I'm still absolutely afraid every single day, even now at 15 weeks, that we will lose our sweet baby, even though statistics say there's only a 0.5% chance at this point (I feel as if these fears wouldn't have been so strong if we had gotten pregnant right away, as we would have been living in a "la la la, life's so perfect, life's so easy" kind of world)...
And while I don't love that being pregnant means I've "crossed over" and unintentionally left all my amazing IF friends behind, still suffering, and in addition, that I may be causing more of their pain...
Now that I can look back and reflect on all we've been through, I do love many of the lessons that my 2 years as an infertile taught me...
Our infertility has helped me realize just how much of a blessing this baby, and any baby, is.
Our infertility also makes all my crazy pregnancy symptoms feel like a dream. Puking and migraines and low energy? BRING IT ON! I love it. These symptoms are nothin' compared to what life without them was like.
Our infertility will help us welcome any of our possible future pregnancies with only joy and excitement, (probably) even "oops" babies.
Our infertility has shown me just how precious human life is and, as a result, acts such as IVF and abortion hurt me to my core more now than ever before.
Our infertility gave us a completely different perspective on suffering, and now when John and I encounter suffering of any kind in the future, we will try to approach it in a much more spiritual way, more trusting of God's will.
Our infertility helped me realize that being "open to life" can take on so many different forms, so long as we're "open to God's will." I will never again look at a family of 2 and assume that's the way they want it, or that their lack of children means a lack of fruit.
Our infertility has also helped me be more compassionate toward everyone, especially those still in waiting. I will never forget our suffering. Even though it's not part of our day-to-day anymore at this point, it's still very much a part of us, and therefore a big part of how I'll interact with others.
And finally, our infertility has helped me to try to put others first more often. I know that now my blog (and life!) has shifted gears a bit, many of you may have to look away from certain posts or on certain days or maybe even forever. Trust me, I know what a bump pic or a post about baby gear can do to a suffering heart. If you're hurting, please know that even though it seems I've moved on, a big part of me worries a bit whenever I hit publish on a pregnancy post. My thoughts and prayers are with you always.
(Side note -- If I ever write or say or do something insensitive (I'm aware, I'm not perfect :P), please please please let me know. This blog will probably look a bit different from here on out, but it is never my intention to hurt anyone.)
Whew! Infertility sure has taught me a lot!
And who knows... maybe I would have figured this all out even if pregnancy did come easily. I obviously can't say for sure because I never lived that fertile-myrtile life.
Also, it's worth pointing out that I'm most certainly not trying to say that couples who do get pregnant right away have no clue. I'm very happy to acknowledge that there are folks out there WAY smarter than me. If you already knew all this stuff, you rock!
I just know that infertility has changed me. And I'm ok with that.
Because, while it was hard to see all this while we were still struggling, hindsight sure is powerful. I've been changed for the better. And life will never be the same.
Stay tuned for my next installment, coming your way approximately 6 months from now, in which I discuss Parenting After Infertility. It'll sure be somethin'!