Babies. Money. Politics. Religion. I can't think of any other topics that cause more angst, fighting, controversy, or emotion. Today, we talk babies.
I’m pretty sure if I don’t post this blog, I will never be able to get out another one. Each time I go to write these days, it doesn’t seem important enough to post. “Ideas for Food Prep” seems miniscule and unimportant when all I want to do is get this out. I’ve re-written it at least half a dozen times over the past 8 months, each time with an entirely different take. Anger. Sadness. Frustration. Rage. Loneliness. Numbness.
So here it goes.
Having a baby is not as easy as Degrassi Junior High makes it look. As it turns out it’s really damn hard. And when you’re trying, it’s the most lonely and upsetting place to be.
This post is not an ask for sympathy. I hate to sound harsh, but unless you have experienced this in the same way, your pity words and looks makes it all the worse. As one friend said who is also in the struggle of infertility, “I’m about one more pity look away from punching someone.” So please. No pity.
This post is asking for thoughtfulness, and being mindful before dropping the “When are you going to have kids?” or any variation of that on any woman or man over the age of 25 (or maybe younger, depending on how your social circle rolls). I think of myself as a pretty level headed person, but the anxiety even writing that is causing me as I sit here, and the incredibly mean responses I’ve wanted to give people when they ask me that, brings out a cruel side in me I don’t really like to admit exists. One of my last texts to my friend (also going through it) was, “I wish being a cynical asshole was more socially acceptable.” Not really my usual day-to-day feeling. But something about that biological clock ticking and not getting what it wants, has turned me in a psycho that only Hannibal Lecter might understand on certain days.
Unless you are incredibly close with someone, and I mean close, like you know their middle name, you can list all their university boyfriend/girlfriends, know their signature dance move, and you’re in a private setting, one-on-one, I don’t suggest bringing up that question unless you are ready for the possibility of anger, tears, or a combination of both.
This post is for everyone going through this, or who has gone through this. Being there now, I’ve never had such a lonely feeling in the world. For over a year I have had major anxiety before any social event where I know there’s the possibility the “when are you going to have kids?” question will come up. I’ve stressed myself to tears before outings even though most of the time I make it through the night without being asked. When it would come up though usually a rage/cry fest would ensue when we got home, the feelings bubbling up throughout the night. Somehow knowing others are going through or have gone through it as well brings comfort. So if you’re there, I encourage you to reach out to those you trust. The stress of not understanding why it’s not happening is bad enough, you don’t need to add on more stress by keeping it all contained. We only hear about the quick and easy pregnancies, the “I was off the pill for a week and we conceived!” the “we weren’t planning it!” and the “we weren’t even trying!”. By the way, “we weren’t even trying” cannot be uttered if you were not using some sort of birth control. Cause guess what, if you’re not on birth control and you’re having sex, you could get pregnant! “Not trying” means you’re either using birth control, or you’re flat out not having sex.[Sorry… there goes the rage again].
This post is a request to remember the men in the relationship of couples struggling with infertility as well. One of the best things I decided to do as a New Year’s Resolution this year was to stop hiding this. I decided instead of skirting the question when people asked I would hit it straight on and say flat out we’re having trouble. There are some people who get awkward and then move on, but the best part about opening up, is the number of women who have suddenly dove into their own story, with complete understanding of where I’m at. My husband doesn’t find quite the same thing with men, there’s no discussion that follows, usually just a quick “sorry buddy”, before moving on. I’ve had to remind myself a few times that just because men’s tear ducts are plugged up (that’s a thing, right?) unlike mine that seem to pour freely a little too often, it doesn’t mean it’s not rough on my husband. He wants it just as much as I do, but it’s not cool for guys to let down their tough guard. So flow some support to your man, 'cause he needs it just as much as you do, and you really truly are in this 100% as partners.
This post is for me to vent. I really truly am happier than I've ever been in my life before - career, relationship, self-love. I love sleeping in. I love having a flexible schedule. I love the quiet nights of me, my hubby, and our dog, sitting in the backyard with a few beers, totally undisturbed and care-free. Yet there is this insanely strong natural instinct that is bringing me to tears over Pampers commercials, because something inside of me is saying, "I want that. I want that so much it hurts." I don’t smoke. I don’t drink often, and when I do it’s not much more than 2 drinks. I exercise regularly. I eat food that nourishes my body, but also enjoy social meals guilt free a few times a week to keep a healthy balance. I get 8 hours of sleep a night. I’m not overweight. I’m not underweight. I eat vegetables daily even though I would gladly give up broccoli if given the choice. Yet here we are. WTF. I dislike the phrase “it’s not fair” because I feel it’s often thrown around carelessly, when really the case is that one person has put in an extreme amount of work and grit to get them what the other person deems “unfair”. But infertility my friends, is unfair. I know some incredible people who would make incredible loving parents, and they can’t conceive. But then we have organizations like the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Center, and Little Warriors, fighting to end child abuse which in some cases is done by the very people who brought those little ones into this world. That. Is. Unfair.
One of my favourite sayings, spoken during a yoga class, has stuck with me for years:
"Be kind to everyone you meet, for you never know the battles they are fighting.”
Most days we are so thankful for the great life we have created for ourselves, and that our biggest struggle is trying to create a crying, pooping, no-sleep allowed, dependent on you for everything baby, especially when we hear about the struggles other people close to us, or in the news, are going through. But no matter how big or small your battle may be, everyone is going through one, and to them, it’s important, regardless of what it may look like to you. I'm still struggling to think kind thoughts about the woman who belittled my ability to teach prenatal yoga (even though she'd never taken a class from me), since I didn't have any kids of my own. But other days I like to think that the man who cut me off in traffic is mad because he’s also trying to make a baby and is dealing with an emotional wife at home just like me, and I give him a little slack instead of getting mad and honking back at him.
For whatever your struggle may be:
“I’m thankful for my struggle, for without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.” - Alex Elle