“Maybe you’re pregnant,” she said to me. I said, “I hope not.” Then I remembered. I tried to backtrack, “I mean, It would be a total blessing if I were. I know Nathan is only a few months old, and I’m not sleeping, and I haven’t showered in three days, and I can’t remember if I brushed my teeth this morning, but I could do it. I mean, actually it would be great.” I couldn’t believe after all I had been through, I had not only thought it, but let it slip out of my mouth.
And then there was the time it had been a long day of non-stop whining, crying and baby chimp type clinging… I was making dinner and things were burned, including my arm, because bacon grease can be a real unpredictable son-of-a-gun. I was at the sink and Nathan was behind me, his face against the back of my leg, and I felt his teeth. Now let me tell you, though they be but little, they fierce! He bit me so hard that I screamed, and it scared him, and he started crying, and I yelled, “NATHAN! JUST GIVE ME A MINUTE!” as I slammed the door to the playroom leaving him crying on the other side. Then I remembered.
I remembered the day I asked for it. ALL of it, the good, the bad and the ugly. I begged, I pleaded, I bargained for it. And I remembered the days I didn’t have it because of infertility. When I was in the trenches, I told myself I would never, ever, forget what it felt like to sit (or lie face down) in them. When what I desired most seemed so impossible, and I was so sure I would never have it. When every pregnancy announcement hurt, when baby showers were torture to attend, when hearing someone say they hoped they weren’t pregnant was like a punch right to the ovaries. The ones that had ONE JOB, and they couldn’t do it.
If I’m being honest, sometimes it’s hard for me to remember just how tough (read soul crushing) those four and a half years were. Because the truth is, it’s been nearly two years since my infertility label has been ripped off of me. Pregnancy announcements don’t hurt like they used to. Baby showers can be fun. I don’t have a stash of pregnancy tests under my bathroom sink waiting to ruin my whole day. There are tiny hand prints on my french doors, mom groups, potatoes and sometimes a whisk in my shoes and a newly found mice problem because; cheddar bunnies smashed into my rug.
If you’re still struggling with infertility, I hesitate to say I know how you feel, because in many ways I don’t anymore. I know the moment I crossed over to the, “other side” I became one of the ones who moved on and left you behind. I may not be in those trenches next to you anymore, but know that I have felt the same feelings you feel right now. I know what it’s like to be told motherhood wasn’t going to happen, at least not how I had imagined. I know the emotional roller coaster that every month brings. I know you are one pregnancy announcement away from freaking losing it. I know it hurts. A hurt that is hard to even describe to those who haven’t been there, so most of the time you don’t even try to.
But you will carry what you are going through now into motherhood when you too, reach the “other side.” There will days you won’t have a moment to yourself, and you will eat cold meals and drink cold coffee. There will be days you will walk around with only one shaved leg, because you either totally forgot in the shower, delirious from lack of sleep or you heard the baby on the monitor, and you had to weigh in your mind, “smooth left leg or clean hair.” There will be times when you grow frustrated as a mother and you too will remember. And suddenly, what seemed like a big deal will be put into perspective. Simply remembering, might be the greatest tool on your mama tool belt. Yes, remembering and coffee. Don’t forget the coffee.