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Thank you for all of your support over the years! xo

Monday, November 8, 2010

what a fertile woman doesn't know

What a fertile woman doesn't know is . . .

the pain an infertile woman feels when she wakes up in the morning to an empty uterus, empty arms, and an empty heart.

why we keep the doors to our spare bedrooms shut - because we can't bear the thought that one of those rooms should be a nursery by now.

that we would die to experience her morning sickness or her swollen feet, just to know what it's like to have a baby growing inside of us.

how badly we want to have sleepless nights with a colic-y baby, more so than we want to go out drinking with our girlfriends.

that we go grocery shopping early in the morning, just to avoid running into her pregnant belly or her adorable toddler.

that while she is jealous of our latest vacation, we envy her messy house, her unwashed hair, and her stained T-shirt.

how difficult it is to sit through a baby shower when all we can think about is, "Will I ever experience one of these?"

the tortured feeling of not being able to give our parents grandchildren or make our husbands fathers.

why we dread going to family functions, change the channel when we see holiday commercials, and avoid the baby aisle at Target like the plague.

what it feels like to be trapped in a room and be the only woman in that room who has not experienced motherhood.

what it feels like to be trapped in a world where the only thing that makes a "real woman" is the ability to birth a child.

the pain an infertile woman feels when she lays her head on her pillow at night, and all she can think about is her empty uterus, empty arms, and empty heart.

69 comments:

The Steffens said...

Oh, Katie. Yes, they will never know. You wish they would understand and know what it was like, but at the same time infertility is a purgatory you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. What a sad and lonely world. And they don't even know it exists.

Kelly said...

Jesus, Katie. Not crying today would have been nice. :)

You know I'm kidding. I make comments like that when things are too painful for me to handle. Honestly, that's one of the best things I've ever read and it couldn't be more true.

Kim said...

So simple and straight forward, ye so very painstakingly true Katie. They will never know. This is one club nobody wants exclusive membership to yet, the best most amazing women on the planet are part of. It's a our secret soceity. xoxoxox

Marla said...

*tears* It's all true.

Randi said...

I think Kim really said it. I so value all the women in this community. Thank you for baring your soul.

The Infertile Scrapper said...

wow ... I am a longtime reader but rarely comment. you summed things up very well ...

The Domestic Princess said...

Oh so true.

mare said...

Exactly.

My So-Called (TTC) Life said...

Oh, Katie, I'm crying. Lord, you hit the nail on the head and it hurts so badly. Thank you so much for writing this. I'm going to post this on my blog, too, and link to yours.Thank you for writing this.

Rebecca said...

Yep, Katie, as usual, you've summed it up beautifully and perfectly.

I agree with pp, though, what she will also never know is the wonderful women we've met along the way.

Willow said...

Oh, so true.

(By the way, the Target aisle--I linger there now that we have adopted our son and I'm allowed to look at things like onesies and sippy cups. It's tough to tear myself away. I've waited so long to be granted admission...)

Danielle said...

I guess I may be the only one commenting here that doesn't know what infertility (or fertility for that matter) is like. Reading your blog and others like yours, though, has given me insight into what y'all go through. I hope I never understand this post or what you guys go through on a personal level, but I do know that you're all very strong. You deserve to have a family and I hope that some day you do.

Kaitlin (ahmymarriedlife) said...

Such a great post!

Michelle said...

Thank you for posting this. It is so honest, raw and real and only could be written by an infertiloe heart.

Jennie said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. After nearly two years TTC, we finally are on the road to having our miracle baby. But I still feel the sadness - it's something you can't understand until you've been there.

Heather said...

You said it best!

Francesca said...

I'm not infertile but I do attempt to understand what it must be like to not be so lucky. I constantly reminded my husband when I was pregnant with Mr3 that we needed to be grateful that we were able to conceive him because there are so many couples that struggle to do that. I am pregnant again now and am starting to feel morning sickness rear its ugly head but this time I am very aware of trying to be grateful for it. I have a cousin who has just started IVF and the minute I got my BFP, she was the one I thought of. Despite not being infertile, and therefore not being able to fully understand, I do attempt to understand and to be mindful of how it must feel. I admire you all so much and am glad that the internet exists so that there is more support available and it isn't so lonely. Just wanted to say that not all of us are oblivious to being "lucky" xo

Marica said...

:-( so true!

someday-soon said...

{{{HUGS}}}

Tillie said...

the tortured feeling of not being able to give our parents grandchildren or make our husbands fathers.

never have truer words been spoken.

Your whole post is brilliant and exactly my thoughts.

Mrs. Brightside said...

Oh, this post breaks my heart, it rings so true. Everytime I start to feel like I'm crazy, like I'm wrong to be in so much pain, I read something like this, and is so reassuring that I am not alone in this journey, and certainly not crazy to feel the way I do. Thank you!!

AplusB said...

So true, and beautifully said. And you're absolutely right...a fertile could never ever understand.

JL said...

So true. So sadly, sadly true.

Courtney said...

Excellent post my friend. Definitely sharing this with ... EVERYONE <3

AL said...

SO very true. hugs.

Moby said...

***blinks away tears*** - couldn't have said it better...perfect post

suchagoodegg said...

Tearing up reading this. It's all so freaking true, and so freaking unfair.

Waiting Lisa said...

Well said.

Alex said...

So very true...

waiting and wishing said...

Perfectly put. Raw, sad, painful, but most of all... honest. I can always count on that from you!

Hayley said...

Oh Jeez you know how to bring me to tears. I love you boo.

sunnymama said...

Thank you for this very moving post. I'm now a mother after many, many years of waiting but once you know you always know. :)

Jessica said...

Sad...but true!! Thanks for always saying what we are all thinking.

Erin said...

Oh, Katie. I'm in tears. This is so, so true. They will also never know that the pain doesn't go away. It changes you forever.

Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Thank you. Today my co-workers told me how lucky I am to get to sleep during the extra hour yesterday with the clock change. Their kids didn't sleep in, so they couldn't either. They don't get that they are the lucky ones. Just another reason to feel left out of the club. (And I didn't even sleep the extra hour!)

Crossing My Fingers said...

Great post! Maybe this should be our FB status and then do you think they would get the hint? Beautifully written!

loribeth said...

YES. Yes yes yes yes yes.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

great job katie, as usual. hugs.

One Cycle at a Time said...

This post was like a checklist of emotions I've felt this month. Thank you for putting it into words far better than I ever could.

cOLey24 said...

Absolutely in love with this! I was having the same thoughts today... a woman that I work with found out that she's pregnant with a baby girl and all she could do was complain about how upset she was that it wasn't going to be a boy. I wanted to stab her in the neck with my envelope opener... I don't even have the words to describe her. This totally made my night, and I am stealing it for my own blog :) Big hugs tonight, Katie. Thinking of you from WI.

Christie said...

So very true. :(

Stefanie Blakely said...

Oh, Katie, you're right-- they'll never know and I'll never forget.

foxy said...

You have the most incredible way with words Katie. Seriously, I feel so often that you are writing just for me, just the words that I need to read, just the things that I need to hear.

I feel so lucky that I get to read what you write. You are simply incredible my friend.

Another Dreamer said...

Very well written. (*hugs*) So true.

Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

yep - once again you have said beautiful exactly what I feel! Thanks for writing this.

Princess Andy said...

i never thought i would be classified as "they"...what an odd feeling to experience.

nobody can understand an experience that someone else lives unless they too have lived it, so for that...i give my empathy.

with that said, you know not of my pain...and for that i should not be hated, feared, or avoided.

social networking has provided me great solace from my own inner turmoil, i have found many kindred souls...love...support...and kind words from those who i would have never crossed paths with if it weren't for living in 2010. you are certainly not alone in your world, for i can see by all the love around you that you are far from it.

i try every day to accept and embrace myself, but also i fight against the thoughts and physical pain of not wanting to have to do so.

too many of us are quick to judge others without proper knowledge. the only things that judgment will gift you is anger, hate, jealousy, and self inflicted mental anguish.

i would rather be enlightened by the experience of others...and not add to my own pessimistic demons.

with all this said, i give you my best wishes that you find peace...and all else that you desire.

<3

Marci said...

Princess Andy,
It is odd to be they, and it's something I experience alot since most of my friends have children. The parents, they are usually the us, and the childfree are usually the they. I can identify with the oddity of realizing you're suddenly on the outside, when you never even realized there were sides to be on.

The advantage to social networking and other mediums is that you get to see and understand what the other side is seeing and experiencing to the best of your ability to comprehend.

The readers here aren't closing themselves off to the world, they're opening themselves up. Merely to post is an act of deep faith and hope and openness. A willingness to enrich the world and share experiences, no matter how alienating, how painful, and how isolating.

Pregnancy and parenting are communal activities, as described in the saying "It takes a village to raise a child." Infertility, not so much. People who want to eat your cake when it's baked do not want to help gather eggs, thresh the wheat, or milk the cow. With infertility, you stand alone. Until I found these people, this community, I felt alone.
Yesterday, my therapist asked me if there was a culture that doesn't stigmatize infertile women, and I could think of none. I could think of cultures that ignore the existence of infertile *men*. Here we've made our own culture and removed the stigma, but not the pain. The best we can do with the pain is talk about it, and let people share it with us and so reduce the burden. Another famous saying, "A burden shared is a burden halved." Katie and people like her who are bold enough to share their real feelings made it easier for the rest of us to share ours. You never have to like it, but you should respect it.

Princess Andy said...

marci,

i totally loved your response to my comment.

thank you for being so very eloquent...

plus, i absolutely respect your feelings...please don't take my opinion as anything other than that:)

i have to avoid grouping others as "they" myself...and i am grateful to have found a community of people online who really get me and my life struggles as well.

i think what really stirred me about this post was that i wanted to say "i hear you, i get what you're saying...but please don't colour all people with the same brush".

also, what happens to a member of the secret society when they no longer qualify as such? i wonder where these women end up...how alone they must feel; now classified as "one of them".

again, thanks:)...and <3

Kakunaa said...

This might be one of the best posts I have ever read, and one of the most painful. But that is important. Thank you.

Marci said...

A very cogent point. My therapist and I also discussed this yesterday. Are you not infertile because you're pregnant? I've been talking to a lot of people with secondary infertility (in fact, the first people I talked to about infertility was a couple with whom I'd been friends for a long time who were going through secondary infertility) and they frequently voice the opinion that the childless infertiles don't really view their struggles the same way; despite having the same issues. There's a dismissive sort of attitude that having had one child should be enough, and why get greedy?

People with secondary infertility are viewed as successes, even though their story and their struggles are not over.

The thing is that being pregnant, giving birth, having a child; it doesn't wipe away those years of yearning and emptiness. It makes them hurt less and seem more distant, but they don't go away.

And the scary thing about classifications is that you can be both them and us. But part of being at Square 10, is remembering what Square 1 felt like. And Square 2. And all the squares in between.

When Katie says that fertile people can't understand some of what infertiles go through, it's not meant to be divisive, it's a simple statement. There are feeling fertile women have that I never will. I can never, for instance, feel the dismay of knowing I'm in a short term relationship with a guy I barely tolerate and realizing I'm having his kid and will be tied to him forever. I will never be able to understand what it's like to have a man realize I'm pregnant and take off never to be heard from again. Fertility has its own set of problems that come with it, and I'll never appreciate that. I'll never have the feeling of sailing through a homebirth because I'm considered high risk because of my age, even though I've always imagined myself having a home birth. There are a million things I'll never experience. But the things listed in this post, are things I have experienced. There's no value judgment here. I'm not a better or worse person for having experienced these things. I'm just me, the sum total of all my experiences and my lack of experiences.

kayee said...

How perfect, Katie. Your words truly jump from the "page" and turn in the the real emotion that we all can feel. Thank you for being a voice - a beautifully written voice - to so many who have remained in silent pain.

Anonymous said...

Your words are everything I have always thought and felt....

spark! (Ada-Marie) said...

Thank you for this post. I am struggling with secondary infertility and I relate to the pain and emptiness infertility, but at the same time your poignant post a good reminder to count the blessing that I do have. Wishing you the best of luck in your journey!

Jennifer Skoog Photography said...

One of the best infertility posts ever!! Thank you and prayers to for all of us infertiles.

one-good-egg said...

Your post is very true I completely get you.

myinfertilitywoes said...

Here from the Friday Blog Round-up. You do a great job of describing what it feels like. At a support group last night, one woman put it simply: unless you've gone through it, you just don't know how painful it is.

Thanks for your beautiful words, painful as they may be.

gailcanoe said...

Wow, that said everything I've been thinking and feeling. Thank you for putting it all out there much more eloquently than I ever could.

Kristen said...

Visiting from Mel's roundup...

You captured perfectly the yearning and emptiness that infertiles must cope with every day.

R. said...

My thoughts exactly.

rebecca said...

Stopping by from blog round up...wow you summed it up so perfectly! I'm so thankful to know on days like this when I feel so alone in a world of fertiles that there are other people out there who get me and understand how painful this journey is. Thank you for sharing!

one-hit_wonder said...

here from mel's roundup. well said.

Bea said...

Heartbreaking and true. Such a blessing to never know these things.

Bea

Marianne said...

You sure hit that one spot on.

Dawn said...

So well said. I know that I never went into our spare empty room in our house in Virginia. I was thankful when we moved and I didn't have to be reminded of it.

Lauren said...

Hi Katie. I'm a new follower to your blog and I just want to say that this sums up exactly how I feel about life right now. I hope you don't mind if I use this on my own blog.

www.notjustanarmywife.blogspot.com

DaisyGal said...

I am here from the Blog Roundup...and I just wanted to tell you that this post was just wonderful..and one that every fertile woman could read so that they would understand, how this feels to be infertile.

(even on the other side, I always feel nfertile) HUGS to you.

unaffected said...

Beautifully and succinctly put. Thank you for this.

Carrie said...

So beautifully and aptly put: a life of morning to night sadness and a feeling of life being on hold and doors being shut. That was my world for so long. Now I suddenly find myself the mom of three incredible children - the result of some pretty serious fertility treatments. I expected that I would regain my sense of wholeness if I were lucky enough to have children. But the pain never goes away and the deflating realization that life is NOT fair after all. I used to think that things happen for a reason. The women I met during the process, many of whom do not yet have children, haunt me and always will. The only consolation is that when you do have a child, Kate, you will indeed treasure every cry, every booboo, every stinky diaper. You will never ever forget how lucky you are.

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