There seems to be a misconception among outsiders that, once you have set on a certain path to motherhood – such as adoption – or once you have a child, you are no longer infertile. You are no longer in pain. That you perhaps you should consider getting over it.
Some people have negatively portrayed this idea onto me since we made the decision to adopt. As if there should have been this magic switch when we decided that made me go from "infertile" to "expectant mother." There are those who simply do not understand why I still struggle. I see this same expectation weigh heavily on a lot to women who are pregnant or who have a young child (or children) after infertility.
The myth is that having resolution suddenly makes everything better. However, the reality is that the diagnosis never goes away, and neither do the feelings that come with it.
Infertility is not the cockroach in the corner that you spray with Raid, flush down the toilet, and forget about five minutes later. Infertility is the cockroach infestation that you cannot seem to get rid of. Every time you kill one, another appears. And even if and when that day comes, the day when the last insect is finally gone, the memory of the shit you went through is what lives in your mind forever. You cannot escape it.
This is not to say that, for your entire life, you will live and breathe the disease, but there will always be reminders of it. There is the child in line at the grocery store, who is about the same age as the baby who died in your womb would be. There is the tightness you feel in your chest when your girlfriends talk about how they cannot stand the thought of another child, when you would give the sun and the moon to provide a sibling for your own. There is the sadness you feel when you sit in the waiting room at the gynecologist's office and you know that your belly will never look that way.
Even worse are the physical reminders: the doctor's visits, the pain, and, for some, cancer, radical surgeries, and other unimaginable experiences. All of this emphasizes where you have been and where you are or are not going. It is part of your life, whether you want it there or not. Letting it consume you is inevitable at points, but throwing it on the street corner and driving off is impossible.
RESOLVE's name is symbolic of this idea of resolving ones infertility – the point at which we achieve parenthood, regardless of the path we choose. However, people must understand that peace does not always come with a decision or with a resolution. There is no magic switch. There is no sudden transformation. There is no such thing as "getting over it." There is no such thing as a cure.
In some ways, I am writing this for others. To educate outsiders that finding or achieving a resolution to infertility does not always mean closure. Yet, I am also writing this for myself.
We made the decision to adopt back in the fall, and a couple of months ago, we made our first nursery purchase. That purchase - a beautiful decal that will one day adorn the wall of our child's nursery - sits in a closet. Most days, I feel good about the idea of starting the nursery before the baby arrives. I feel like it is the beginning of my healing process.
But for every good day I experience, there is a bad day. There is a day when someone or something sets me into a tailspin of grief. It is at those times when I must remind myself that there is no rush to decorate.
There is no rush to heal.
For more information on National Infertility Awareness Week, please visit http://www.resolve.org/takecharge. Also, take a few moments to learn about infertility at http://www.resolve.org/infertility101.