I've written a lot about the before and after of infertility - how different life was/is before and after the diagnosis. There's no doubt that it changes the type of person you are, for better and for worse. I've written about how it has made me more sympathetic and compassionate toward some, but I also know how it has made me less patient toward others.
Yet, aside from changing us, I believe that infertility teaches us. The diagnosis becomes a defining point in our lives that we can't forget. So, we embrace it and learn from it.
I've learned from infertility that the old cliché of "everything happens for a reason" is true. So is "you can't always get what you want." Because what you want isn't always the right thing for you. If I had gotten what I wanted, we would have a child right now just over the age of three. When Joey lost his job in 2009, we would have been broke. We wouldn't have been able to move home, buy a house, or go back to school. As it turns out, we're in the best position now - financially speaking - to raise a child compared to where we've been these last four years.
I've learned that silence is not always golden. I often come across couples who suffer through this disease without telling anyone - not even their closest family or friends. While the risk for negative and insensitive comments certainly exists, in general I've learned that the more open you are, the better. Not only is it nice to not sneak around, it's also a wonderful feeling to have your friends and family truly step up and go to bat for you. As for those with the idiotic comments, many won't stay in your lives. It's hard to watch them go at first, but you also learn you're better off without them. Infertility brings with it enough negative emotions. You don't need other people generating that for you.
Finally, I've learned that becoming a mother will not and should not define any woman - including me. I used to think that being a mom was everything. It wasn't just something I wanted to do. It was something I had to do in order to fit in with society's expectations. And I had to do it a certain way (by drinking wine on vacation and getting knocked up by accident, of course). Now I know that neither this journey nor the goal at the end of it should define what kind of woman I am. Do I want to be a mother? Yes. But if my fate is not to be one, I'm ready to accept that, too - and the grief and anguish that may come with it.
Infertility sucks. It truly does. But I believe you can deal with that suck-age in one of two ways. You can spend every hour of every day crying, "Why me?" Or you can spend five minutes crying "Why me?" and then blot your eyes, come out of the bathroom, and spend the rest of the day learning from this experience.
What has infertility taught you that you didn't realize before this journey?