Looking back on 2012, I feel like it was a year lost to my obsession with getting pregnant and coping with a diagnosis of infertility. The year was full of sad anniversaries: January was one year since we had started trying to get pregnant; March was one year since I had seen a positive pregnancy test; May was one year since my miscarriage; November was one year since the due date of my loss. Each milestone left me feeling more defeated, more broken, and more depressed than the last. In 2012, I was diagnosed first with “unexplained infertility,” then Stage IV endometriosis. I ramped up my efforts to conceive by adding ovulation tests and acupuncture to my arsenal. Then I added fertility treatments. At each step, I spent hours scouring the Internet for information on test results, diagnoses, and stories from women who have faced the same challenges. It was like having a second job. It was exhausting.
Through it all, I kept my grief, fear, bitterness, and jealousy (mostly) to myself. Even my husband wasn’t privy to the worst of it, which started to take a toll on our relationship. Recognizing that I needed to make some changes, I started seeing a therapist not long ago. And, I started this blog as an outlet for all the things I couldn’t tell my family and friends.
I don’t have any specific resolutions for 2013, but I want to take advantage of the new year as a starting point for my journey to find balance and peace. I know that sounds cheesy, cliché, hippy….. Whatever…. The point is that I’m tired of letting infertility rule over me and determine my self-worth. I’m tired of keeping all the sadness and bitter feelings to myself. I’m tired of being sad and bitter. I’m much more than an infertile woman desperately trying to get pregnant. My experiences with miscarriage and infertility have become a permanent part of me, and will always play a role in how I approach different aspects of my life. This is true for all experiences, good and bad. Every moment–everything I see, hear, touch, taste, feel, say, or think–gets smashed together to make up ME. So, why have I given this one, tiny sliver of my life majority real estate? That’s a great question, one that I may never be able to answer. What I can do is remedy the situation by restoring balance to ME. Infertility and loss will always be a part of me, but they don’t have to be the biggest or most important part.
I’m not sure how to approach restoring the balance of my life. Do I try to push trying to get pregnant out of the way, or do I focus on elevating other aspects of my life that have been ignored? Common sense tells me that the positive approach is probably the more healthy: I should give more time and attention to the parts of me that I love and want others to see.
What do I want others to see? To start, I’d like them to see that I still care by getting back to doing things for others. I used to show people I was thinking about them by sending cards or small gifts to brighten their day or to remember an important occasion, or simply by spending some time with them. I used to be more creative and thoughtful with my gifts, and it was fun picking out the perfect gift or making something myself. I’ve been so consumed with grief and bitterness for the last year or so that even picking out a birthday card has become a chore.
I want to truly love and look forward to celebrating important occasions with my loved ones. Obviously, the ones involving pregnancy and babies will be a bit more difficult to celebrate with the same level of enthusiasm as before, but I fully intend to embrace those moments, too.
Just writing about this gets me excited! Wish me luck–I have a lot of work to do.