I have a whisker on my chin. Two, actually. (Remember? I celebrated my birthday by telling you all about them.)
I noticed the first one some time right around my 25th birthday. Which was awesome, since I was already in the midst of this whole ridiculous quarter-life crisis, and a whisker was exactly what I needed to feel better about the end of my early twenties.
I obsessed over that stupid whisker.
I’m not really sure when the second one showed up. All of a sudden, it was just there. A faithful companion for the first, determined to prove its solidarity by standing tall next to its pal.
I pluck them. Because I’ve decided that the whole “bearded lady” thing doesn’t really work for me. So, really, it’s not all that big of a deal. Except when you get to that stage where the whiskers start to grow back. And they’re right there. Driving you batty. And you’re sure that the entire world can see them. But they’re not quite long enough to get a grip on them with the tweezers. So, you have to just let them be there. We’re in that stage right now.
I hate that stage.
Then, out of nowhere, the things grow, like, three inches in an hour’s time. While you’re out splurging half of your husband’s paycheck at some stupidly fancy restaurant. Because it’s your anniversary and you told yourself you deserve it since you never do those once-a-month date nights everyone says you’re supposed to have. And right there in the middle of the main course, the whiskers just…sprout.
Because whiskers are assholes like that.
Infertility is a lot like those damn whiskers.
I was 28 years old when I first heard the term Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I sat in my doctor’s office, focusing on the words he spoke, desperately trying to understand what it meant for me. For us. For our Someday Baby. A few months later, in another doctor’s office, new terms were thrown our way. More diagnoses. One mind boggling word: infertility. It held a power over me like no word ever had.
I obsessed. Over the word. The diagnoses. The treatment. The procedures.
The dream of finding our way to the child who already lived in my heart.
Two IUIs and one blissfully ordinary pregnancy later, I rocked my dream come true as he snuggled into my chest. I happily moved into the role of Momma. And waited for the word to lose it’s hold on me. Because that’s what should happen when you’ve finally managed to resolve your infertility. Right? Nearly two and a half years later, I’m still waiting.
The heart wrenching pain of those days has started to fade. But every once in a while, I fall into this stage where the smallest of things makes that all-too-familiar pang return. And my emotional scars start to feel a lot more like gaping wounds. And I’m left waiting for the moment that something is going to send me spiraling. Terrified that it’s going to be the moment when I embrace a dear friend to congratulate her on her pregnancy. Feeling the guilt build up deeper and deeper inside of myself because I already got my dream, for crying out loud! All the while, certain that the entire world can see that I’m the edge.
I hate that stage.
And, like those whiskers, I just want it to be gone already. I’m starting to understand, though, that it isn’t going to work that way. Like those whiskers, it’s always going to be a part of me. Lurking underneath the surface. Emerging just when I’ve managed to almost forget for a bit.
Because infertility is an asshole like that.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t work towards healing. That doesn’t mean that I can’t pull out my tweezers, plucking it away, so that, really, it’s not as big of a deal. Infertility will always be part of me. Part of my story. Of the story of my family. But it doesn’t have to control my life. I can choose to heal. But that can’t happen if I try to just swat the pain away.
Infertility might be as stubborn as those stupid whiskers tend to be.
But I can be pretty damn stubborn, too.
So, today, I choose to stop ignoring…
…the effect that infertility has had not only on my family building journey but also on the person that I am, at the very core of ME. Infertility does not define me, but it has played a very large part in shaping bits and pieces of wife, mother, and woman that I am today.
…the sorrow and anger that I still feel over being forced to surrender control of our family building to this nasty, powerful word.
…the fact that infertility doesn’t begin or end with having a child. I spent so long believing that all that I needed was to have our child, and all of the hurt would go away. That belief funneled into feeling tremendous guilt when I wasn’t immediately healed upon cradling my child in my arms. By fighting against the pain, rather than seeing it and accepting it for what it is, I’ve allowed infertility to continue to control my life.
*Hubster was not thrilled at the suggestion of spending half his paycheck on dinner. Apparently, he thinks we need to pay bills or some such garbage. Guess we’ll be sticking to McDonald’s for our anniversary next month.
This post is part of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association’s Bloggers Unite project for National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW).
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