*Note: This article contains discussion of infertility and pregnancy loss. Please take care of yourself as you see fit with that information.*
For me, I have always known I wanted to be a mom. From a young age I had dreams for myself as far as career, travel, and other plans, but I always knew being a mom would be a part of that. Well it turns out life has had other plans, at least so far.
Anyone who has been on this infertility journey knows what the emotional rollercoaster is like. Some days you feel beyond hopeful and optimistic and other days you just feel like dying. The holiday season, while filled with joy in many ways, can also feel like a stab in the heart to anyone who is not able to hold the family they have dreamed of in their arms.
While the roller coaster is going all year long, the holidays can present some particular challenges. Maybe you have always dreamed of holiday traditions you would like to share with your little one. Or maybe you know that you will be spending time with family members who are pregnant or have young children that you love dearly, but at the same time remind you of everything you have lost. Perhaps you have memories of a loss that occurred near the holidays.
The year is quickly coming to a close and with it any lingering hope from the 1st of the year that “this will be the year!” For me this is not new. For me this year marks 8 years since I decided I was ready to have a family and 5 years of actively trying everything under the sun to conceive. The end of 2022 marks the end of another year gone by, another year closer to the conclusion of my “fertile” years.
If your story is similar, whether you are just starting out on your fertility journey or have been at it for years, just know that you are not alone. Someone else out there gets it. In fact, there are millions of us.
I hesitated to share my infertility story for years. Only our closest family members knew when we were starting IVF. A handful of family and friends were informed when we had to say good-bye too soon to the tiny little miracle growing inside of me two years ago. It was just too painful and I needed to be able to hide behind my ever-present facade of a smile and just keep pushing on, as women are taught to do.
But the longer this journey continues on, the more I realize the importance of holding space for what is. That means no longer hiding, but opening up my story for the world to hear in hopes that even one woman will feel less alone. This also means allowing space to grieve the life you have dreamed of. With infertility and pregnancy loss comes a profound grief that is unlike anything else and allowing space for that can help to allow yourself to heal.
This also means allowing space for hope and light, and that can be the hardest of it all. It can be so very easy sometimes to wallow in the darkness. Words like “appreciate what you have in front of you” and “keep your chin up” just fall short and hollow compared to the depth of the darkness.
But the truth is that there is light and there is hope. I will risk exposing my inner nerd here and quote Professor Dumbledore “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.”
Remembering to turn on the light during this challenging and seemingly never-ending time may be the hardest, but most important thing you ever do. The cold hard truth in front of us is that some of us will have a happy ending to our stories and will eventually hold our miracle child in our arms, be it naturally, through IVF or IUI, or through adoption. And some of us won’t. Only time will tell which is which.
Whatever the road in front of you has in store, your life is happening, right now. When someone loses a loved one, many find comfort and push ahead because they know that their loved one would want them to go on living and find joy and happiness. I promise you that if your future children, children you have lost, or children you have only dreamed of, could speak to you that they would say the same.
So go on, live for them. Find joy and happiness in their honor. Treat yourself like the goddess that you are as a tribute. And you know what? If and when you do hold that child in your arms you will be that much more ready to take on parenting and all its beautiful moments and trials.
And if that is not in the cards for you? You can still live a life full of love, joy, and family.
Remembering to turn on that light doesn’t mean that there isn’t still grief and sadness. It just means giving equal airtime to the beauty and light.
To you, the woman who has been through so much…
…the woman who is tired of having to be resilient
…the woman who just wants to know what the future holds
…the woman who would have given anything for this to be the year
…the woman who has become a warrior with strength beyond anything anyone could imagine
…you are not alone. We as a community of strong women can raise each other up and provide each other support to lean on.
We can do this. And who knows? Maybe next year will be the year.
Much love, my friend.
One way that I have found of turning on the light in my own life is by digging in and learning about how to heal infertility and endometriosis from the inside out, truly getting to the root cause. Click here if you would like to learn more.
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