We don’t often think of the word “good” when we think of infertility. There is so much pain and heartache that comes with it, especially since it’s so often accompanied with loss. Somewhere along the journey, you change. You become a hardened version of yourself, perhaps more bitter and jaded by the struggle and unfairness of it all.
But infertility doesn’t just change you for the worse. Yes, it’s a rough road, but if you take a moment to really focus on what this journey does to you, I think you’ll agree that infertility forces you to become a better version of yourself.
So while this battle to become mothers is littered with so much negativity, self-doubt, and sadness, let’s take a moment to toast the glimpses of goodness that shimmer through all that. This, my fellow fertility-challenged friends, is for you!
1. You become more aware of yourself — and your limitations.
In 37 years, nothing has pushed me to become more self aware than my fertility journey over the last three-and-a-half years. No longer can I compare myself and my life to the lives of others — something I didn’t even realize I did. Struggling to become and stay pregnant while everyone else around you gets knocked up at the mention of sperm, forces you to realize that your path is nothing like the paths of others.
It won’t be that simple.
It requires something greater of you. It forces you to dig deep and ask and answer hard questions about your life and what is and isn’t good for your soul. When I started this journey, I assumed it’d be like everyone else’s: plan to have a baby and have one. Realizing that this would not be my story, I was forced to become more self aware.
2. You become more hopeful for the future.
You’ve got nothing on this journey if you don’t have hope. I could cringe at how cliché that sounds, but it’s so outrageously true. The road ends when you lose hope. And, I’ll tell ya, after three-and-a-half years, a second-trimester miscarriage at 17 weeks, numerous failed IVF cycles, a 12-week loss, a 10-week loss, countless tests, injections, pills, suppositories, transvaginal ultrasounds, blood work, and heartache, you learn to cultivate hope in the darkest of places. It filters into all aspects of your life, and you realize you can get through anything with just a little bit of it.
3. You become a kinder, more empathetic version of yourself.
Living through some seriously hellish experiences of your own makes you keenly aware of how tough other people’s lives can be. As bad as your story and struggles are, there is — sadly — always someone else who’s had it worse, even when you don’t think it could get worse. And it doesn’t have to just be about infertility. It applies to any type of struggle. Realizing what it’s like to live though pain and heartbreak of any kind forces you to look at the world a little more softly. Sure, loss can make you bitter. But it also makes your heart more open to the struggles of others, and it makes you kinder.
4. You become braver than you ever imagined.
Infertility is scary and uncertain and dark. You’ve got to be a warrior to get through it. There’s no other way. It will make you stronger and braver than you ever imagined you could be — perhaps even more than you ever wanted to be. You’ll push through disappointment. Through negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test. Through failed cycle after failed cycle. You’ll cry at the first blood of your period, but you’ll march through those days ready to begin again. You’ll see and feel the remains of what should have been your baby pass through you, but you’ll collect the pieces of your still-intact self and begin again.
Because you are a warrior now.