What if the hole in my heart never goes away?
People walk around with holes in their hearts every day, but you would never know simply by looking. Some carry a hole in their heart made by a lost loved one. Some have a hole made by an old flame or a broken friendship.
I have a hole in my heart created by infertility.
It began with the diagnosis, when a sliver of my heart disappeared. With every pregnancy announcement, every baby event, every question about when we are having children, every ignorant remark, every biased news article, every tear shed, and every negative pregnancy test, this sliver has turned into a gaping hole of emptiness.
The pain I endure from this hole can make the most mundane activities unbearable. I have lost and will continue to lose friendships because of it. Family functions and holidays take on a different meaning. Each one is a reminder, a milestone, of what we have not achieved. Something simple, like running errands, can bring on a wave of emotions if I see a baby or a pregnant belly. Watching television or movies becomes a constant reminder of both how easily others get pregnant and how misguided the public is about this disease. Comments like “relax” and “you still have time” send a dagger into the hole, ripping the edges with such force it feels like my heart is going to tear in half.
The hole aches every day, but not just for me. It aches for the thousands of women and men who are currently in treatment, for the women and men who are unable to afford treatment, for those who have lost, and for gays and lesbians who clinics discriminate against because of their sexuality. It aches for those who have exhausted their options and are living childfree, and for those who are still waiting for that phone call from their adoption agency.
What will it take to heal my wound? I have asked myself this question a lot lately and this is what I have come up with: A positive pregnancy test would place a Band-Aid over it. Making it to week 24, the week of viability, would stitch it back together. But even holding a living, breathing child would not erase the scar of infertility. Slowly, I am beginning to realize that this missing piece of my heart--this piece filled with hope, innocence, trust, patience, and control--may never truly be complete again. Even if this cycle ends in a positive, it is impossible for me to ignore the past two years and what we have experienced. More impossible is to ignore those men and women still fighting to keep this same hole from swallowing their hearts completely.
But what if I wear my hole outside of my heart?
What if I use my hole to make people more aware of our pain and suffering? What if I use it to educate the public about who we are and the challenges we face? What if I let my hole speak for us--let it speak for all that we have been through and all we continue to go endure?
What if wearing my hole outside of my heart allows my heart to heal?
For more information about infertility, please visit www.resolve.org/infertility101. To learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), go to www.resolve.org/takecharge. And to see how "Project IF" started, check out www.stirrup-queens.com/2010/04/bloggers-unite-project-if.