I was visiting my husband at work the other day, and was talking to two of his colleagues. One of them is about 42 months pregnant, and the other is trying to adopt after having a son around the time Meg was born. I commented on bulging belly of the first, and the second turned to me and said "Yeah, aren't you glad you adopted? You didn't have to deal with any of that."
She didn't mean to ruffle my feathers, but she did. I instantly jumped into the role of infertile woman, insulted that she would think there was any reason I was "lucky." Didn't she have any idea what I had been through to get my child? Didn't she have any idea of the loss I had suffered? That I am still suffering? Didn't she know all the things I had done to my body, and was still doing to my body to achieve what others had gotten so easily? Had she no idea that she offended me?
Then it dawned on me. No, she hadn't. She wasn't viewing me as an infertile woman. She was viewing me as a Mom with a beautiful child who had never had to deal with cankles.
It made me think.
I have been dealing with infertility for almost five years. In that time it has become not just something I deal with, but a main part of my identity, if not my entire identity at times. And now? It's time for that to end. It's time for me to stop feeling bad every time I see a maternity dress, or think "why not me" when I hear a friend is pregnant. Or, if not to stop those feelings, to not let myself wallow in them, and wear them like a corsage. There are so many prettier things I could pin to my dress.
I am not saying that my feelings of frustration, and sadness, and anger, and envy, and hopelessness aren't valid. I am just saying I don't have to, or want to, validate them every day any more. They can be a part of my story without being the center of it. Who knows, maybe the story will be even more fascinating because of it. And maybe I can help others dealing with infertility get past the soul numbing, all consuming yuckiness to expand their own stories too.
After all, I'm lucky. Damn lucky.
In case you didn't know, this is National Infertility Week. For more information, visit Resolve.org.