After struggling with infertility for a while, I have been blessed with many friendships in the TTC world. It's a blessing to be able to pray for them, and see their dreams come true as well. Sometimes I feel like a fake or a phony to still be a part of the TTC community. Here I am not actively trying right now (AF still hasn't came for me actually) and posting tons of photos of my sweet boy and I have my "mom problems".
However I try to be encouraging and supportive, because I have been there and I didn't have a community when I went through it. It was such a scary and lonely place. I think that is a big reason why I try to be so outspoken and so accommodating to the TTC friends I have. When I was doing IVF the first time I only knew of two other women who had done it. An older woman I once went to bible study with, and a friend of a friend who I (at the time) had never actually met. I tried to meet the woman from my bible study after we hadn't spoken in two years, but as a mom with two children it was hard for her. We tried to meet for lunch and when it fell through we didn't try again. The other woman had a successful IVF and had boy/girl twins! While we weren't able to meet up at the time, she was very supportive in the late night text messages full of questions and doubts and prayers.
Anyway, now social medias have opened me up to a world of TTC/infertility/IVF that I've never known. I'm appreciate that this women are able to look at my photos of my son and allow me to be a part of their journeys. I know there was a time in my past that I wouldn't have been able to stand who I am now!
I often think of the many different attitudes I've had over the past few years while TTC...
I've hated seeing pregnant women. I couldn't stand seeing them out and about, or doing things I (at the time) thought to be inconsiderate. Working at Starbucks, it killed me to see a pregnant woman get a caffeinated drink. I couldn't stand to see them by smoke, or looking tired or uncomfortable. They didn't deserve the blessing of pregnancy in my eyes.
I can't believe how much hate was in my heart. I can't believe how cold I was. Who made me the god of deciding who was worthy? As a pregnant woman I often drank coffee or Coke. I even had a few alcoholic beverages, took many hot baths, ate red meat (not even cooked well-done), and was (rightfully so!) uncomfortable! My goodness. I can't believe I thought I was going to be the first pregnant woman ever to not complain about being uncomfortable! Granted, I did it appropriately. I didn't need to whine on Facebook or to my TTC friends... but there were times where my husband and my mom got an earful. I couldn't sleep, my hips were constantly in pain, and I was just so anxious to have my baby boy in my arms.
After I found out I was pregnant I (of course) was ecstatic! I was nervous and scared, but I was thrilled. It didn't take long for the "survivor's guilt" to weigh on me though. I constantly asked myself "Why me?" but it was no longer in pity because I was dealing with infertility. I often asked God why I got blessed with round two. Every day I was meeting more and more women battling infertility and IVF. They quickly, by simply living their lives, taught me a hard lesson. I was allowing myself to be a victim. I all-too-often let me struggle become who I was. I was Jen, the infertile woman, who would do anything for a baby. My hobby was researching protocols to have a baby, my marriage was all about having a baby, my job was preparing for a baby... I had nothing to talk about to anyone except my desire, my need, to have a baby. That conversation inevitably led to "Woe is me, I'm trying and nothing is working". So when round two worked and I got to meet all these great women I, pridefully, at first thought I had a lot to give to these women. Instead, I met women I'll never forget. I know women who have done cycle and cycle after cycle. Who not only don't let their identities become all about the struggle, but who still love God and all He is. These women still get up and put a smile on their face and just fight. I sometimes feel so unworthy to know them and call them friends. They are the true warriors.
Walter and I plan to have more children, I'm just not sure how that will be. I would like to say I don't worry about it, but I do. I wish I could be happy with the now. I promised myself I would when I was TTC afterall. However, there have just been so many things I have done that I swore I would never do. I've come to realize that that is just life.
There was a time I said I would never do IVF.
There was a time I said I would never complain during my pregnancy.
There was a time I said I would never drink caffeine while pregnant.
There was a time I said I would never let my child sleep in our bed.
There was a time I said I would never ask for another child if I just had one.
Never say never.
I will say though, to those beautiful friends of mine who are still actively TTC, to never say never. I hear you saying you'll never try again, or you'll never get that child you're dreaming about. I was there at one point in time. I was there thinking I would never have a baby shower, or never get to decorate a nursery. I would never get to experience baby's first kick inside my tummy or have a maternity photo shoot.
Don't ever give up. You'll get there.
You'll get to whine to your best friend about how you have to pee every five minutes. You'll get to ask your husband 1,000 times if he still thinks you're pretty with stretch marks. You'll get to tell your friends you plan to have your baby sleeping in his/her own crib from the first night. You'll get to make a liar out of yourself and co-sleep until he's 3. You'll get to buy cloth diapers with good intentions. You'll get to, you'll get to, you'll get to.
There were many times I thought of giving up, (even in my 'shorter to some' journey) but there was always something pushing me to keep going. Of course it was by God's strength that I continued, but it was also this snapshot I had in my mind. I was sitting in this rocking chair my grandma left me, rocking and nursing a sweet swaddled baby to sleep. I would sometimes be singing (in a much prettier voice than I actually have) and stroking baby's chubby cheek. I would try my hardest to smell that sweet baby smell through my vision. I would try to imagine what my child would look like or how their laugh would sound...
It was very much a Johnson & Johnson commercial. But it kept me going.
I've since learned that life with a baby isn't like those commercials. I wasn't able to nurse my son for three weeks and had a hell of a time pumping. I haven't sat in that hard rocking chair once. However, the baby scent, the laugh... What I had envisioned couldn't do it justice.
Keep dreaming mommas. Keep envisioning the very best you can- but know it will be even better.
You'll get there, you'll get there, you'll get there and it will be heaven.