*Written April 28, 2017 – in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week
The hardest thing I’ve ever done was create life. The hardest thing I’ve ever done was create Leif. (To my non-Danish friends, the Nordic name Leif is pronounced Life).
Now that you know the inspiration for our baby boy’s name, I ask you to send out your prayers, wishes and good vibes to the patient souls out there still waiting to start or complete their families. National Infertility Awareness Week – every year, the last week of April – is a week dedicated to them. My people.
Last July, we took home our miracle boy, and what a delight he is. Sometimes I think he knows how hard we fought for him, so he tells himself to be extra cute for us. And yet still. I grieve for those still waiting for their baby. For me, the hardest part of my infertility was not just grappling with the darkness, day in and day out. It was explaining how I felt to others. To the unknowing who didn’t share this struggle.
So here’s what infertility was like, for me. It was homesickness. It was longing. Before I had Leif, I knew Leif. My whole life had been spent preparing to give my heart and soul to a child. When you face infertility, you feel like the universe has played a cruel trick on you. That everyone around you would get the gift of babies, except you. You. You, who wanted it desperately from a very young age. You, who needed a baby like you needed oxygen or water. You. You’re going to have to wait. And maybe, you’re never going to get it.
You have seen your baby, but your baby cannot find its way to you. And you ache, and your arms feel heavy, because they cannot hold the baby that you miss.
That is the heartache I carried that we channeled into something useful. It was the fuel powering us through so many terrifying, zombie-like rounds of endless IVF.
For us, we needed to keep going, always. Even long past the moment when the good doctors and well-intended friends advised us to move on with life. Every needle in my body, every sob-fest into Martin’s arms was part of a process I needed to experience.
Because for me, the only thing worse than waiting and wondering if my baby was going to find me was giving up the search for him.
Infertility is a tough one, guys. It’s not sexy….it’s not rare. It’s not malignant or fatal. It is underfunded and rarely talked about in polite circles. It’s considered by some, somewhat cruelly, a “First World problem.”
But it hurts, and it’s hard.
I’ll always be someone who has or had or still has and will always have infertility.
I just got lucky. I got Leif.