Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Life on the other side

I've been thinking a lot about infertility and its impact on my life. Recently I found this site and I wished I had found it back when I was ttc Camden or after my miscarriage or when we were trying for Easton. I didn't start this blog until Camden was about 8 months old and I haven't fully shared my infertility story on this blog (coming in the next few weeks). When I was going through the infertility, I had a small support group, but one by one those girls got pregnant until I was mainly alone. I wished and wished for a bigger support group, which I have since discovered exists in this great world of blogs, but I knew nothing of blogging at the time. I'm so glad it exists now because I would never want another infertile person to feel as alone as I did during that time. At the worst of it, I just wanted somebody, anybody, to understand what a toll being infertile can take on a person's body and soul. I can say with certainty that infertility has been the hardest thing I have gone through to date and it still defines who I am as a woman and person.

Now I find myself on the other side. I have been blessed with two beautiful little boys - two boys that, at one point, I was told might never exist without major medical intervention. At one point I believed they would never exist and that I would never be a mother. Yet here they are. They complete me in ways I never thought possible. I often feel like I was born to be their mother; they are the reason I exist. They have brought more meaning, more light, more joy to my life than I ever expected. I would do anything for those two boys. There is not a day that I don't thank my Heavenly Father for these children.

It's a weird dichotomy. I have children, yet still define myself as infertile. Even though I am the mother of two, even though I have created, carried, and birthed two children, I still see myself as infertile. Not a day goes by that I do not think of myself as an infertile woman. But to anybody just meeting me, to anybody who does not know my background, I am a lucky mother of two. Most likely, they see me as a fertile being. They see the blessings I have received. They see the two children at my feet. They haven't seen the trial or the pain.

The more children I have, the more removed I am from the infertile world. Not necessarily by choice, but by the circumstance of being a mother. How is another infertile woman to know that I struggled, that I feel like I was granted two miracles? How is another infertile woman to relate to me when they are still going through the struggle to get a child? I know that 5 years ago I would have scoffed at such woman, who, with two children at their feet, told me they knew of my pain. I knew they could never imagine the pain and hurt I felt because they were blessed. Now I am that person I so dreaded not that many years ago.

I wonder where I fit in now. I still feel part of that infertile world, but yet I am also so far removed by the very nature of having children. Do other infertile people read my posts and then scoff because I do have children? My goal since having children has been to hopefully give hope to somebody else in the same situation, for somebody seeking for a happy ending story. But does that happy ending story hurt more than it helps? I don't know.

I know that I am not done having children. I also know that for each child I try for, fertilty medications will be involved. It's a fact - I rarely, if ever, ovulate on my own. I have PCOS. So by that definition, I am still infertile. Yet I also know what doses of medication will work for me. I know I have been pregnant three times now as a results of those medications, and that two of those pregnancies have resulted in living children. So by that definition, I am a mother.

Every day I think of infertility, in much the same way that a person who has survived cancer thinks about cancer. (No, the two are not equal and I don't mean to offend anybody in that comparison, but just like cancer changes ones live forever, so does infertility in a different way). I often wish that I could wear a shirt that proclaims, "These children are the result of years of trying, heartache, testing, medications, loss, more medications, and more trying" so that people, especially those who may resent me for my children (as I so often resented others), will know what a small bit of what I went through to get these children. I want people to know that I remember the pain so clearly; I remember the heartache, the longing, and the hurt. I want to reach out to those who are struggling and let them know there is life on the other side. I never want to get so far removed from the infertile world that I forget what it is like to struggle.


Meemer said...

i agree, it's almost like you want your kids to come with an asterisk.* by the way, this child is the result of charting, temping, drugs, weird positions and so forth, just to get him here.

as a person who also struggled, i never want to take for granted the fact that i have kids. and i never want to loose the perspective that came from such a trial.

great post!

Maine Mom said...

I am so glad you are blessed to be on the other side. You will always have the experience of infertility which you will be able to share with other women who struggle with infertility, but you will also be able to share with mothers. You have a gift to be able to relate to both.

Enigmatic Kid said...

You mention the distance you now feel with others like yourself, but feel the urge- the responsibility, even- to relate to others and provide them hope with tales of your success.

I think this is a commendable goal. It's useless to ponder too long on whether your accounts help or hurt more- people are too variable, too unpredictable. You'll never please everyone, so just take the optimistic route and try to support other optimists.

It's really about the audience you write to, just like you once said to me.

Olivia said...

ditto Meemer. I feel so lucky to have my two, but also feel like others need to know what a stuggle it was to get them here. I guess to show that all things are possible.

Clyda and John said...

Great post Rachelle. It's your cousin here. Thanks for leaving a post. Although I have never been pregnant (have PCOS too, must run in the family) and we ended up adopting our little boy. I too, can relate with what you are saying and also would love to give hope to others. No matter how our children come, they are ours and the struggle to get them is so worth it in the end. I would not change my experience for anything (although at the time it may have been tempting). Great post. Love the blog.

smart mama said...

I know those feelings- Great post

Sweetpea said...

I know those feelings well Rachelle--I now have three children and it's funny how those feelings never dissipate. Perhaps because they are some of the strongest feelings possible--

Great post.

Melzie said...

Just remember- you can't change the way people think. Just like they don't know this- you don't know that. You know?

It's like when you told me you were expecting... I was happy for you- been there, did that- but I've come out on the other side once, almost 10 yrs ago. Certainly not twice, and heaven forbid twice so close together! Yet, I couldn't talk to you about invitro- because you couldn't relate to that. Or to the fact that I've been trying for almost a decade...

It is what it is-- and that's why there is so much information out there, so that way everyone can find what they need to find. Period. :)

PJ said...

Wow. Ten rounds of medication. I completely respect that and only have admiration for you.

No, the only people I resent are those who do not appreciate what a blessing children are. You know, people who have children, but are not parents. As a fellow teacher, I'm sure you see some of that.

I'm glad I found your blog. I cannot imagine going through IF without the blogs. I flipped out when I found Mel's Lost and Found. And was ON there. It's been a great support, but IF is still a lonely road.

I'll be reading. Happy (pending) summer!

Sunny said...

(((HUGS))) You are such a good mother to your two little miracles. The infertility has become part of you, and it's something to not forget - but to use to reach out to others. I feel the same way about my PPD, though it's not at all the same. You are a strong, wonderful woman!

Heather Johnson said...

I'm visiting for NaComLeavMo - Hi!

I completely know how you feel. I have one child that I conceived after about a year of TTC (but with no medical intervention). After that we did years of treatments trying for a 2nd child, but with no success. So I'm sort of in an odd place too, and I often don't know how to respond. Yes, I have a child. But no, I can not have another (barring a miracle). Do I share my struggles w/ others in the IF world, or will by lack of success be a downer for them? Really, I'm ok with it now (althoug it took years to get here) ... but will THEY be? I just never know.