It is impossible to know what infertility feels like, until you’ve faced it. Does anyone know why that is? I had the realization a little while ago, and the statement isolates a sad feeling for someone like me who longs to be “understood.” Until a person has been in our shoes, he or she cannot fathom that curious mix of loss, fear, hope, panic, desire and grief that we struggling ones feel.
I find proof of this impossibility to fully grasp ‘infertility’ within my own history, when I reflect on how I processed infertility six years ago, when I had a dear friend facing it. I felt sad for her, I felt distressed for her, but I couldn’t always fully understand her. I tried and tried. I really did, but it was always, close, but no cigar. My compassion was not the infinite river it should have been. It flowed freely, but it came clouded with confusion. I was illiterate in her language. So I just couldn’t fathom her journey close enough to truly walk with her.
And I feel very guilty today that my friend had to face people like me, years back, in her hour of need. All these blank faces, with their pity and love and blameless ignorance. Those, on the other side of infertility, often try to be our fixers. Bless their hearts. Our problem-solvers. Our solution-getters. Tossing words out like “relax” and “cheer up” and “strong” and “adopt” that softly cover the receiver in stings. How clueless we are that we are not helping.
I’ve done all that. I think. I can’t remember. The details are fuzzy, but I imagine I may have been deeply incomplete to my treasured, struggling, grief-filled friend.
I know better now.
I entered the secret society of sufferers. We, who are dealing with infertility. We, who deal with people who try to get it – who really do, but can’t. It’s It’s not their fault. We need to love them anyways. And we need to take care of each other. We are the only ones who get it. Who understand each other.
We’re sisters in this fight.