Thursday, February 20, 2014

secret club

Seeing these tiny baby mittens makes me want another.

It's hard isn't it? Do you think you'll have more?

No... I think she's it.

Yeah, I understand that. Going through infertility treatments was...

Just like that, I know another person. Another person like me. Another person who struggled to build a family. Another person who knows the pain that comes with it. Another person with scars.

How many of us hide in plain sight? How many of us are afraid to stand up and talk about what we've been through? The things we've experienced? The things that haunt us in our dreams?

I look at others and wonder this sometimes. I wonder if they waited to announce their pregnancy at six months because they've experienced loss. I wonder if they post stories about adoption and infertility on social media because it interests them or because they are living through it. I wonder if that look on their faces when they see a baby or a pregnant belly is just my imagination or if it says everything about their stories. I wonder if they hesitate to speak up in the way that I did, the way that so many of us do, because they don't want people to see them differently. Because they don't want the stupid comments. Because they are scared of silence.

Being this. Living this. Breathing this, day in and day out. It doesn't stop when you become a parent. You forever become a part of this club... this mostly-secret club that you're proud to be a part of because you know how STRONG and how BRAVE your fellow club members are but that you also HATE being a part of because you cannot understand why the universe inflicts this much pain on such amazing people. You watch embryos fail to take. You watch babies die. You watch children struggle in the NICU, and beyond, with health and development. You watch adoptions fail. You watch foster children go back and forth. You watch divorce and heartbreak. You watch people never fulfill the dream that they started X number of years, sometimes decades, ago.

You know all of these things, and it makes you look at others differently. It makes you see them and wonder if they are a part of this club. If they feel what you feel. If they have seen what you've seen. And when they tell you they are members, too, it makes you feel bittersweet. Bitter that you already know how painful their stories are. Bitter that you know their scars. But sweet because you know they are amazingly WONDERFUL and RESILIENT human beings.


missohkay said...

I needed this post after struggling through a lunchtime conversation yesterday about babies and having more of them. I try not to be secret about my club membership so that others can feel less alone, but sometimes I just suffer in silence rather than risk blurting out to near-strangers that they should appreciate that they have the choice. Erm. Yeah.

It Is What It Is said...

Well said. Well said.

Whitney Anderson said...

Katie, Great post, as always. I'm sorry you are feeling that. :( I feel a bit of survivor's guilt for a few of my friends who have been left behind. And, I feel bad for the majority of my friends who were lucky enough to have a child, but now want another and are experiencing secondary infertility. :( We are perfectly aware of how lucky we are to have twins and not have to experience secondary IF.

Also, now when I'm out in public with them, I look around and think is there someone looking at me and rolling their eyes and saying must be nice? I want to put a sign on the stroller that says, 8 years in the making on lucky number 7 IVF with surrogate.

Anyway, yes, secret club for sure.

Kelley said...

It's astonishing the people that you find "hiding in plain sight". I had this experience today too, and the tears are just starting to dry up. It's a horribly un-fair club, filled with amazing amazing people.

Gurlee said...

I almost always come clean, not in a full blown detailed kind of way but I am very up front about how hard it was to have our little boy. People can interpret that however they like and I consider it an invitation to ask questions. When they are asked I am honest-ish depending upon who is asking. I know how helpful it was to hear from others who traveled the same shitty path. But I also know that not everyone is able to be so honest. It is personal.

Great post.

-mrs.inconceivable said...

Beautifully said. I was almost immediately in tears because it rings so true for me. Hugs!