Mother’s Day Musings: 2017

“There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that never come.”
~David Platt

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Mother’s Day is a tricky Holiday, isn’t it?

On the one hand, I am so lucky to have had not one, but four amazing women that have been mother’s to me in my lifetime. I know that I am the person that I am today because of the influence of each and every one of them. Today is a day that I wish to celebrate those great mothers, and great mothers everywhere.

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On the other hand, our infertility struggle is coming up on four years, and this day always fills me with so much heartbreak, as it serves as a painful reminder that I am still not (and may never be) a mom.

And it isn’t just me. This day is painful to so many people for so many reasons.

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Today, I think of these brave women as well.

This holiday is also tricky, because it reinforces some kind of twisted ideal that seems to imply that women are not wonderful, whole, or complete unless they are mothers. I cannot stand when people tell me that, “I don’t understand because I’m not a mother,” or something equally as ridiculous.

No woman is better than any other woman just because they were able to conceive a child. Hell, all evidence would show that for most woman, it isn’t even that HARD to become a mother. You know what is hard? Wanting to be a mother so badly, and constantly being denied. It is hard to put on a happy face every single day and try to live a life that can still feel fulfilling and remarkable even though you are breaking more and more every day.

Becoming a mother isn’t that hard for most people. But I do think that being a good mother is difficult, and today I am so thankful for those wonderful mothers who helped make me who I am; to the fathers who must fill the roles of both wonderful dad and wonderful mom, for those women who will be wonderful mothers someday; and for those woman who are wonderful mothers of angels.

I am also thankful for those woman who may never get to be the wonderful mothers they would have been. Your strength has helped me in so many ways, and the reminder that I am not alone in my infertility makes me stronger every day.

Earlier this week, my husband and I made the decision to partially crowdfund some of our upcoming IVF expenses. It was a difficult decision, not only because we think it is hard to ask for this kind of help, but also because we know that IVF is still no guarantee. However, the love, kindness, and support that has been given to us during our battle with infertility made us both feel that we owe it to those in our support system, to let them help us if they choose.

We have been overwhelmed with the support the campaign has been given so far, not just through donations, but also just through people sharing our story with others.

All of this love and support made me feel a little better about Mother’s Day for the first time in a long time. I had the day off, and so I made the last minute decision to invite my Mother (and Dad) to join me for the weekend.

We had dinner out last night, a nice brunch at home this morning (with mimosas) and an amazing lunch of steak, shrimp, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, and salad, before they left to head back home.

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This is a difficult day for me, no question. But I know that this day also means something to my own Mom. Not just because she is a wonderful mother who deserves to be celebrated today, but also because her mother is no longer with us. Spending the day with her seemed like the right choice, and I’m so glad I asked her to come. It sure beats moping around the house all day while my husband works.

To all of you who read my blog, who struggle with today as well: I hope you found some small amount of joy or peace in this day. I hope you know that you are loved, that you are worthwhile, and that you are not alone.

I’m here for you,

~Sam

Our Infertility Story: The Eye of the Storm

“In the eye of a hurricane there is quiet, for just a moment, a yellow sky.”
~Hamilton: Lin-Manuel Miranda 
 

Our Infertility Story: The Beginning

Our Infertility Story: The Specialist 

Our Infertility Story: My HSG

After my super painful HSG test, my husband and I went back to trying to conceive naturally for a few months. Apparently, just having my stenotic cervix opened could have been the only thing we needed to do to be successful.

The next few months were not easy. I allowed myself to believe we would get pregnant this time around, and was therefore disappointed cycle after cycle as my period made yet another appearance (and another).

May was a really difficult month for me. Despite going to visit close friends for a wedding in California, I found that I was incredibly depressed.

Mother’s Day was heartbreaking. I was at work on Saturday (the day before Mother’s Day), and I had just gotten my visit from Aunt Flo. I was in a lot of pain, I was hormonal, and well meaning women kept asking me if I had children. I know they just wanted the chance to wish me a happy Mother’s Day, but it ended up being too much for me to deal with.

I had a panic attack, and escaped to the back room where I ended up collapsing in sobs. This was the first time (though not even close to the last time) that would happen at work.

One of my co-workers saw me in the back crying, and he quietly walked up and sat down on the floor beside me. He asked if it was “okay if [he] just sat here” for a moment, and I nodded.

After a while, I started talking. I shared our sad story, for the first time at work. It was difficult, but it also felt somewhat liberating. I had been keeping our infertility, even the very fact that we were trying to conceive, a secret from so many people in our lives.

I made a new friend that day; someone who has helped me check in with myself ever since, and for that I will forever be grateful.

The actual day of Mother’s Day was also pretty painful for me, but starting that conversation at work ended up being a positive thing.

I learned something new that day. I learned that I needed a break. I couldn’t keep putting myself through that pain every month. I stopped trying to get pregnant, though I never really told my husband. I just quietly stopped having sex when I was “fertile.” I needed a few months off, a few months when I would just know I wouldn’t be pregnant so I could quit waiting for that positive.

It brought me a few months reprieve from the pain, but left my husband wondering why I had backed away from his affections.

I realize now that what I thought was a break in the rain, was really just the eye of the storm. Or perhaps, the first eye of many, many storms to come. “In the eye of a hurricane there is quiet, for just a moment.”

Nothing got better. It was just a momentary break, before things would get much worse.

When a close friend privately told me about her own pregnancy in August (she got pregnant without even trying) I totally lost it. I shut down. I shut her out. I shut out everything.

My husband was incredibly upset to see me so distraught. I finally told him everything. About how I felt on Mother’s Day; about how I had to give it a break; about how doing nothing didn’t really help, anyway.

He wanted to do his part. We finally scheduled his seaman analysis. It was time to find out if he was also part of problem.

I wanted him to be.

I didn’t want his results to be bad. I just didn’t want them to be perfect.

I was hopeful that we were in this together. I was hopeful it wasn’t just me. I mean, I wanted anything wrong with his sperm to be easily fixable (diet, vitamins, lifestyle changes). But I needed it to not just be about me.

The reality of our situation would blow the storm right back on top of me.

We were no longer in the eye. We were in the midst of a full blown hurricane. We wouldn’t find our way back out.

~S