no, i haven’t forgotten to post. no, i didn’t get busy. i took it down. i took it down because right now we are no longer bringing a little one home. in a nutshell: we hit a snag a month ago and have had to indefinitely postpone our plans to adopt. i had thought that perhaps i’d continue to write about our efforts to grow our family but the simple truth of the matter is that i don’t want to talk about it anymore. our lot in life (at least in this area) seems to be riddled with twists and turns that eventually dead end. while we do hope to continue on, i’m not sure anymore that i want to document all of it. concise stories with a happy ending are more fun to write and make for much better reading.
there is however, something i really do want to talk about that is very near and dear to my heart. i would like to share more about what it is like to be a woman and be infertile. marco and i made the decision to try to adopt because of infertility – something that affects one in six couples. if you are reading this, chances are a woman you know is dealing with this. chances are, in spite of how close to her you are, you may not know that she is dealing with this. it is an issue that, unfortunately, is little discussed or talked about. i hope that someone will read my sporadic series of posts. not because i feel that i am so articulate and eloquent but because i feel that i have something to say. i’m not the only one saying it; but considering the lack of local support available for women in my situation, it would appear that no one is listening.
as an infertile couple we found very little local support for an issue that has been one of the most painful we’ve dealt with both as individuals and as a couple. none of the churches we’ve attended in the past offered any kind of support group for couples who cannot have a child. there are groups for divorcees, groups for widowers, groups for singles, and groups for just about every other chapter in life but the infertile couple. unless you have been there, you have no idea what it feels like to grieve an empty nursery. i have often thought that if perhaps other people (women especially) knew what it was like and knew how to empathize and reach out, infertile women might then be spared the additional grief of having to suffer alone, suffering numerous insensitive comments and suggestions however well-intentioned they might be. i think the majority of us have found a listening ear somewhat anonymously in the safe haven of a private chat room. i don’t know what i would do without my small group of ladies online, few of whom i have actually met in person (i know they read here, ladies please stand so you can be recognized. thank you! ) for the past six years or so they have stood with me and my husband (albeit virtually) as we’ve progressed on this journey that seems to have no end.
i had thought about logging all the posts in a separate blog but at this point i don’t know if i have enough material or the time to commit to writing about one subject on a regular basis. i had not wanted to have an “infertility” post category on the sidebar of my everyday blog. i don’t like being identified as infertile. much as i would like to ignore it though, it is a huge part of my life and the driving force behind much of what i do. we moved to our beloved older home with a smaller yard when we realized that the home on a quarter acre, bought with lots of children in mind, was too large. while we still plan for a family, a large family is no longer within realistic reach. i became a gardener because planning and growing a garden was therapy in the midst of frustration over our inability to conceive. our little doggies have provided the much needed opportunity to nurture something small and warm. they occupy an otherwise empty lap.
while it sounds like i am painting a dismal picture, we have been able to be happy in spite of the fact that life at this point hasn’t turned out the way we had hoped. we’ve traveled together. we live for friday nights where we uncork a bottle of wine, cook together, and listen to jazz. we love our lazy saturday mornings lingering over several pots of tea. we are soul mates and have created a life together that is almost idyllic. it is just that every so often, usually at the most unexpected times, we’re reminded of what we had hoped for and the reality of infertility hits us with a sudden jolt. it is usually in small, ordinary ways that most other couples would not even notice. a parent in the line ahead of me at the grocery store, buying the makings of a birthday party. a poster at the mall advertising a photographer – a poster of mommy and daddy hands cradling tiny feet. we look at things like that and wonder – “will we ever plan a party for our child?” ” will there ever be tiny feet in our life?” and if the answer to those questions is “no” then how will we come to terms with that?
do not look for any answers to the obvious questions, and please don’t ask. i am not going to tell you why we are infertile. i am not going to tell you why our plans to adopt were placed on hold. i am not going to talk about where we plan to go from here or what sort of treatment we may or may not consider and why. i am not going to go into whether or not i feel assisted reproductive technology is ethical or healthy. i am not going to discuss my personal views on whether or not infertile couples should adopt, and if so, how. i am not going to go into whether or not it is right to choose to remain childless.
i am going to talk about what it is like to attend a friend’s baby shower when you’ve waited years to have one of your own. i am going to talk about what it is like to wonder if you will ever frost a cake for a first birthday, or if that corner in the kitchen will ever host a highchair. i do want to discuss why it hurts so bad to receive a pregnancy announcement when you’ve just learned that this was not your month. i do want to discuss what it feels like to be in a group of women sharing birth stories when you have nothing to say. i want to talk about what it is like to wait month after month, year after year, and nothing seems to change. your prayers seem to go unanswered. your biological time clock continues to tick. friends move on with life as parents while you feel life has passed you by.
i would hope that if anyone reads this they would then be mindful of those in their circle who are most likely suffering too. if you have no idea who your infertile friend is then just take a look around you. the next time you are in a room full of women talking about their children, a baby shower perhaps, she will most likely be the silent one, metaphorically sitting alone. she might be sitting right next to you, but the event and conversation have isolated her the same as if she was in a corner by herself. talk to her. don’t ask her if she has any children. don’t ask her why she doesn’t have any. don’t suggest she relax and let nature take its course. don’t ask her why she doesn’t “just” adopt. ask her how she is doing; take her hand, ask her how she is really doing, and then just listen.