An important lesson I’ve learned in recovering from infertility’s trauma and loss is that the grieving process cannot be rushed. It’s not linear and it’s not something that we can prescribe with an artificial time line. There can be no easy “to-do” list (such as the following that most people would casually suggest) to be implemented over night:
- Stop thinking about infertility (that’s all but impossible as every day brings a new pregnant woman appearing randomly in places ranging from the workplace to the library to the grocery store, or another story about parenthood).
- Embrace other’s newborns and children unconditionally (It works until I start thinking again … comparing them to the ages our children might be today).
- Move on and be the bigger person (easier said than done amid the latest cult of mommy and the ignorance that exists among those who assume that fertility can be bought with the right amount of time and money).
I’ve also learned that the pain of infertility can only be managed, not eliminated. On those days when I find myself longing for what might have been or feel acutely the losses we’ve endured I search for peace and strength in the little (and sometimes humorous) things that bring comfort:
- The closeness with my husband after years of fighting side by side the demons that come with infertility.
- The satisfaction that comes from knowing that that which didn’t kill me has made me stronger.
- Random acts of retail therapy that come with knowing we’ll never have to save for a college fund.
- Helping to save the planet by not buying copious amounts of petroleum-based plastics molded into children’s play toys that will end up filling landfills for eons to come.
- Waking up after a delicious impromptu nap or a long, uninterrupted night of sleep.
- Knowing the raw honesty and difficulty of disclosing my experiences has elicited warm support that has all but eliminated the feelings of failure that colored my world for far too long.
- Having a trimmer figure and firmer ta tas than fertile myrtles.
- Appreciating more deeply that families are forged from more than pure biological connections, and that just because someone can conceive and deliver a child doesn’t necessarily mean they are deserving of the name mother or father. The best prove it every day through their actions, compassion and sacrifice.
- Helping others who are also struggling with infertility has made me feel less alone and brought a different sort of bonding and reward.
- The connection I have with kids from never having to utter the words, “because I said, so!” and instead delighting them with unexpected treats and the words, “okay you can have that extra xxx and stay up late, but this is our secret!”
What are some of the ways you find peace and strength?