"Do you still see pregnant women and wish you'd been pregnant?"
I get this question quite often, mostly from other infertility sufferers who want to know if part of me still feels that painful stab to the heart when I see a woman who is pregnant.
My answer is complicated.
Do I still want to be pregnant or do I regret not getting to experience pregnancy? The answer to that part of this is no. I think I was afraid at the beginning of our adoption path that I would regret not experiencing a pregnancy. I thought that, by not carrying our child, I would be missing out on a crucial part of motherhood. I thought that part of me would always have this missing space in my heart where activities like feeling my baby or nursing my child should go. Yet, that's not the case. I do wish that I could have felt K kick in the womb, as much as I wish that I could have breastfed her. However, it doesn't leave a void in me. I don't feel like less of a mother because of it, and I certainly don't feel like my connection with her is any less significant because of this. Caring for her every need since birth was enough to make me feel complete.
The second part of this is a little more complicated.
I still pause for a moment when I see a woman who is pregnant. I don't want to be her. I don't want to experience what she's going through. I don't desire to have what she has in the physical sense. Instead, my mind instantly wonders whether it was easy for her.
I can't help it. I wonder if she and her husband had a night of passionate sex, she missed her period, she peed on a stick, and BAM - their lives were instantly overcome with joy. I wonder if she surprised him with a onesie or a cake. Then, I wonder in what creative way they decided to tell their families the good news, or if they held a gender reveal party.
It's ridiculous, right? I'm a mom to a gorgeous baby girl, I have zero urge to be pregnant, and yet I can't help but automatically wonder if every other pregnant woman on the planet somehow had an easier go of it than I did to become a mom. The truth is, my conclusions might be incorrect and maybe a little immature, but I know I'm not the only one who thinks and feels these things. It's sort of like when you are the last of your friends to get engaged. You notice women everywhere with gorgeous diamond rings and wonder how long they had to wait for their boyfriend to pop the question. I see pregnant women, and I wonder whether how they got pregnant: was it after a nice bottle of wine or was it with two doctors and five nurses in the room?
Again, this doesn't mean I desire to be pregnant. It certainly doesn't mean that I resent our path - how long it took us to become parents and the way we went about it - because I don't. I think that, in hindsight, all of this happened for a reason. It sucked when we were in it, but I'd go through it all over again for K. I'd endure every heartbreak, every tear, every tough choice we made if it meant that I had her sweet face waiting for me at the end.
Yet, all of this doesn't change the fact that I don't think I will ever stop pausing to wonder how it went for others. I will never look at family building the same way again. What about you? Do you find yourself looking at pregnant women (or other families) differently now that you've experienced infertility?