Monday, May 17, 2010

Where's my parade?

I have two close work friends that were diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age. Between the two of them I have attended a wine and cheese party where we were encouraged to shower one friend with gifts, made a meal for another friend's family (the week before one of my IVF retrievals), contributed to a fund to pay for one friend to have her house cleaned regularly, made phone calls, sent emails, and participated in other supportive activities.

I know I shouldn't compare infertility to someone with cancer. First of all, we aren't likely to die from infertility (although it feels like it most days). And our treatments are arguably less arduous (we don't lose our hair, just our minds).

But I can't help but think that it is unfair that most of us can't even get our Facebook "friends" to acknowledge our "infertility outings" on Facebook during Infertility Awareness Week. I can't help but think that it is unfair that most of us hide our infertility and cringe when an article about our struggles appears online because we know the comments from readers will be so painful.

Why shouldn't friends and family shower us with gifts and cook us dinner when stimulation meds are making us feel sluggish?

So what do you think? Am I out of line? And if not, how do we change this? Where did we go wrong?

Shouldn't the community of womanhood band together and fight for everyone to become a mother?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

a different kind of love

When I was in my twenties a lady I worked with told me a story about the birth of her first child. She had endured something like twelve hours of difficult labor followed by an emergency c-section. When it was all over, baby in arms, her husband looked into her eyes and said, "I just fell in love with you all over again."

This story has haunted me lately. It's so difficult to know that I will never give my husband the gift of growing a child in my womb made of part of him and part of me. I will never give him the gift of laboring to bring that child into the world, and he will never look into my eyes and tell me that his love for me has been reborn.

*pause for sadness*

When my husband and I finally got off the treatment roller coaster I didn't recognize our marriage anymore. For a while infertility treatments made us stronger and drew us closer, but eventually the constant disappointment destroyed us. My depression grew stronger than our relationship. My husband became more and more frustrated because he could not solve this problem. He could not succeed as a husband and make me happy. I could not succeed as a wife and give him the child that I so desperately wanted to give. Infertility led to financial problems and destroyed our physical intimacy. We were broken.

I'm happy to say that we are rebuilding. I'm thrilled to report that our marriage is getting stronger. We are smiling, laughing, planning, touching, hugging, kissing, joking, and talking. We are starting to become "us" again.

But still that woman's story haunted me. Can we ever have the kind of love that two people have when they build a family together?

The answer is no. We can't have that love. We have something different. Tony and I walked through hell together. We may not have always been looking into each other's eyes while we walked, but we always held each other's hands. We did it together. Our hopes were raised together. Our souls were rocked together. Our dreams were destroyed together.

We are falling in love with each other all over again. And that love feels so special and so true. It didn't come from a place of joy where love is easy. It came from a place of despair. We had a choice and we chose us.


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