I want to tell you about the hardest time in my life: My struggle with infertility. This was when I hit rockbottom. I felt all hope was lost, and sorrow filled me up until it felt like there was no ”me” left.
My personal struggle
Ever since I was a young girl, I always pretended to be the “mother” when we played house in school or kindergarden. Even growing up, I was nicknamed “mom2” in our household as the eldest of 4. When I later in life found the man of my dreams, he was already a proud father of 2 beautiful children. So for as long as I can remember I have wanted the role of mother.
And that was just one of the reasons why it broke my heart, when it turned out, that I couldn’t become one.
It’s not just about not being able to have a child
When you find out that you will never become a mother, it echoes in many aspects of your life. Not only will you never be a mother, but you will never be a grandmother either. Never see your son or daughter get married, celebrate Christmas with your children or go on holidays together. There are so many things you will miss. And although I am not saying you can’t live a wonderful and most satisfying life, I am saying that learning that for me, was equivalent of mourning the death of a beloved. The life I had imagined since playing the role of mother in kindergarden was dead.
I was blessed, because I was a stepmother and even though I mourned not having my own children, I was lucky enough to be able to borrow my husband’s children and in some sense feel like a motherly person around them.
If you know or are a woman who is struggling with infertility, be warned, we are fragile, even if we seem strong. Receiving the diagnoses “involuntarily infertile” was the biggest blow to my selfesteem! I have always seen myself as a very feminine woman, but suddenly I couldn’t DO what a real woman was supposed to! And that hurt my ego. My strong sense of self was off and I didn’t know how to get it back.
What not to say!
Some of the worst things friends and loved ones have said to me during this periode were :
Don’t worry so much, I am sure it will happen for you.
Don’t dismiss their feelings. They are right to be worried. Acknowledge their feelings and comfort them!
Why don’t you just think of something else? Then it will happen! I heard that happens for many.
Your friend is not “many”, and you can’t just hotwire your brain to think of something else.
Some people just aren’t meant to be parents.
Now this is just being cruel! There is no comfort whatsoever in that kind of comment.
Get over it.
This is not the time for tough love. It might work with a scraped knee but here there is need for love and acceptance.
What can you do as a loved one?
I received so many wrong comments during our struggle with infertility, from loved ones and close friends that meant well. But I was fragile and incredibly oversensitive. If you know someone in the same situation, let me tell you, the best you can do is acknowledge their feelings, let them share and comfort them best you can. Don’t judge, don’t try to explain or comment. Simply be there for them!
So what helped during our struggle with infertility? Well this is the biggest cliché and I can already sense you rolling your eyes at me.
Time is the best healer. (I told you it would be cliché). I cannot count the nights I cried myself to sleep… but I promised myself to wait to see how I felt in the morning, and every day was a little better. And eventually with TIME I could face the world again. It was still a wound, not fresh anymore, but if you pick at it, it will bleed. It is something that never really goes away, even though I can tell you, I later in life received everything I ever dreamed off and more!
There is always hope
I still remember what it’s like to be that infertile, hopeless, broken woman and how dark my future seemed at the time. If I have struck a chord with you and you recognize just a little bit of yourself in what I write, know that there IS hope! Even though it may not seem like it now.
Some of the tools I used to see myself through my struggle of infertility was:
- Blogging; writing about my feelings and sometimes everyday life, let me focus on all the good I have as well as the bad.
- Infertility forums; chatting with strangers seemed extremely freeing to me.
- Meditation; taking time to feel myself and letting my body relax.
- Physical pampering; Getting a good massage and nails/hair done to make myself feel good about myself, even if it was just on the outside.
- Crying; put on a sad movie/song and let go!
What I wish I had done
Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, but here is some advice if you’re in the midst of your fertility struggle:
- Talk to your loved ones. They won’t know how you feel if you don’t tell them. This IS hard, but so rewarding. I wish I had done this. I could have used more of their support, which they undoubtedly would have given me, if I had opened up.
- Physical excersize! I totally shut down during my infertility struggle and sometimes didn’t go outside or leave the apartment for days. And I ate… awful, extremely amounts of junkfood and candies. It was horrible. I so wish I had been able to focus more on making more healthy choices for myself.
- Give yourself grace. I admit I still struggle sometimes to forgive myself for the physical and emotional damage I did to myself in this periode. I was infact my own worst enemy. My inner voice said terrible stuff to myself and I treated my body with disrespect. But we do our best with what life gives us and I am working to forgive myself for this periode of my life.
Don’t let your struggle with infertility define you!
The truth is, I am one the lucky ones. My dream of finally becoming a mother came true. However I did reach the point of giving up. And ironically my blessing of motherhood came, when I had finally accepted that children would not be in my future. And honestly I was ok with that. Not happy! But at peace.
And so my final advice to you is, it’s ok to let go. It’s ok to let go of the dream of being a mother and look for another dream to fulfil you. If you’re anything like me, you need a dream or a goal to strive for. And it’s ok to let go of this dream and find another!
You’re not a quitter or loser because this dream didn’t come true. You have so much potential and infertility does not define you as a woman!
I so wish someone had told me that during my struggle 🙂
What do you find to be the hardest about infertility? As an infertile woman or their loved one.
Let me know in the comments.
All my best,
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