I thought about what to title this post for over a week. Learning to talk about how I felt when I was mourning the loss of pregnancy is a piece of me that I wanted to share.
There was a time (it seems like a lifetime ago) that I had a goal to be finished building my family before I turned 30. I used the phrase ‘Done having babies’. My vision for myself was filled with baby bumps. Me, the hot mom with a perfect post pregnancy body. I was ready. Fast forward a few years: not pregnant, not yet, and not ever. Choosing not to experience pregnancy is a loss that I mourn.
When I was first learning to own this new reality, it was not easy to talk about. I was ashamed and embarrassed. I felt like I was less of a woman. Wrapping my head around the fact that something so common and so easy for some was not going to be my reality wasn’t simple. I didn’t realize how much of my self worth was tied to having control of my family building or how profoundly different my life was turning out than my peers.
Everyone around me was getting pregnant. They were planning showers, complaining about pregnancy, and doing maternity photo shoots. Around every corner, there was a baby bump or a shower invitation. My friend and I both started to ‘try’ around the same time. We would fantasize about our kids being the same age and experiencing motherhood together. She ended up pregnant not once, but twice! I watched as her family planned her gender reveal, her shower, and decorated the nursery. Pregnancy is an event where women rally around one another. They share stories and experiences. It’s a bond. I wanted that. It felt like a right of passage.
There wasn’t a congratulations ‘you can speak about infertility without getting hives shower’. Or a ‘never going to be pregnant photo shoot’. It was isolating. I felt like I would never fit in with other women or other moms. I felt like I was one of the boys. Where was my ‘building my family through adoption never gonna be pregnant woman tribe’ party?
Not being pregnant helped me to learn so many things about myself and the world I live in. Here are three of them…
- Pregnancy is a journey and an experience.
It’s a life changing amazing experience. Most people are pregnant to become a mother. You can be a mother and a parent without being pregnant. I originally thought that pregnancy was a journey to motherhood. It is not the only journey. I was writing letters, creating photo books, and making online profiles. I was learning adoption language, practicing adoption language, taking classes, and being finger printed. I was discussing my weaknesses with our social worker at my kitchen table. Believe it or not, there is not a cake cutting at a ‘we’re adopting reveal’. This is my journey to motherhood. My experience.
2. Not experiencing pregnancy is also amazing.
It’s different not being pregnant. People have a harder time relating to things they themselves did not experience. Being pregnant is amazing, I’m sure. I’m sure because everyone tells me so ;p. Not being pregnant is also amazing. My journey is a testament to how much strength and how much love it took to bring my child into my world (reference your favorite facebook video or meme about labor/ delivery/ pregnancy here) The fierce unconditional bond that flows between my son and I is truth that my journey is amazing.
3. Motherhood is a privilege and an honor.
Infertility was one of the first times I had to learn to accept and live with things out of my control. When I let go of my expectations for myself in regard to pregnancy, I learned that I am enough as I am. I can do hard things. I am worthy of the best life I can dream up. No one is entitled to be pregnant. No one is entitled to be called mommy. Motherhood is not a given. Living with infertility allowed me to own the shape of my life. Having the time (oh, so much time) to consider life without being a mother allowed me the freedom to see the gift of the fray of motherhood.
How has infertility changed you? Was it a surprise?