October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Heavy stuff. I’ve never heard of such a day, but I saw it on Facebook via a friend who was honoring three babies she had lost.
The subject of pregnancy and infant loss always strikes a chord with me. I’m never sure if I’m in the club or not. I feel like my four early miscarriages don’t give me true street credit to self-identify as someone who has suffered significant loss.
On the other side of the fertility spectrum, I was in a conversation today with a friend who is trying to have a baby. I have numerous friends right now who are facing down the fertility challenge a little later in life. Images of ovaries with padlocks on them, refusing to ovulate because you just blew out your 40th birthday candle flash through my mind as I hear the uncertainty in their voices.
Every time I have these conversations, I get a pit in my stomach because I know what a joke fertility can be. This obscure concept that is nothing short of a superpower can be cruel and misleading. One minute you’re ovulating, the next your ovaries have posted a sign saying closed for the season. One minute the stick is pink, and the next you are getting wheeled into the operating room for a D&C. It’s a joke. Every 14th day of a cycle holds the promise of getting knocked up that month. Every 28th day holds the promise of two lines on the stick. Every stick with two lines holds the promise of a baby in your arms in 9 months. Every ultrasound promises that your baby is ok… for today. And every package of prenatal vitamins holds the promise that someday, your pregnancy will last long enough to get through an entire bottle.
But there is no detection kit, no ultrasound, no blood test that can reveal your fertility future. No one can tell you that it’s going to be nearly two years before you will have a healthy pregnancy. No one can tell you you’ll lose four and win two. The truth is, all you have to rely on is hope.
And that’s what this day means to me. Those of us who are pleading for our fertility to come through, and those of us who have been slapped in the face by it share a real loss – a loss of hope.
This is a day to remember what it’s like to hope. Every fertility journey is an exercise in hope. Today is a day to remember the resiliency of hope. It may be wiped out with every bad news ultrasound or every 14th or 28th of the month, but it regenerates. And every time it’s beat down, it comes back stronger. Hope grows back and embraces your psyche to get you through another month, another fertility specialist, another almost pregnancy. Our challenge is to let it regenerate and lift us to a better place after each and every try or after every loss. The alternative has nothing but pain and distraction to offer.
Don’t let yourself be robbed of the joy of being hopeful. Smile on the 14th, get out of bed early on the 28th, buy your prenatal vitamins and keep going. Because eventually, one of these months, one of these pregnancies is going to be THE ONE and you better not spend one second of it feeling sad, fearful or distressed. You worked too hard for this.
4 thoughts on "F-U, Fertility"
Emily, I remember when all of this happened to you and then joy of your boys when the time was right! I was in infertility hell as well and am so grateful for modern science! Loss sucks, whether its early or later. They all count and don’t get any easier. Thank you for this post today, I wish more people understood. With Ivf baby #3 bouncing around on my bladder, I will end this now for a trip to the potty! Happy pie making! ((Hugs))
Do you feel your losses? Do you mourn for them? If so, then that’s all the “street-cred” you need! I once co-moderated a pregnancy loss forum and my co-moderator wanted to split us up into 1st trimester losses vs. 2nd and 3rd trimester losses. I refused, and eventually left. I’ve had one 2nd tri loss & the rest have been in the 1st, but I mourn all of them. Because they were all my babies, and they all brought with them a promise that was then broken.
Sorry, that was an unfinished comment! (Accidentally hit return)
I just wanted to add that I believe your losses are just as important and you shouldn’t feel like you don’t deserve to remember or grieve for them. I also love the hopeful tone of your post. It really is about hope, and not letting anything–even stupid ovaries or “bad eggs” (as my dr so kindly described mine)–steal it from you.
Hi! I am so sorry for such a late response. Thank you for such thoughtful comments – I enjoyed reading your post as well on your blog. You’re right – acknowledging the loss is important and I think we can all agree that what got us through this was hope that we would understand in the end and be grateful. Thanks so much!