Infertility and Pregnancy Loss and When You No Longer Fit In
Pregnancy loss is lonely.
Infertility after pregnancy loss is really lonely.
You don’t fit comfortably in any group.
It’s been over three years since we started trying to add a baby to our family. In the first two years of that, we had two miscarriages and a stillbirth. And then…nothing. All the tests came back fine, but we still don’t have a baby. And so often, it feels like everyone around us is getting pregnant, staying pregnant, and birthing living babies.
And that’s when I feel like I don’t fit.
Because when you’ve experienced pregnancy loss, you’ve been pregnant. That means you’re a mother. I believe this incredibly strongly; pregnancy equals motherhood, even if you don’t get a child to mother. Pregnancy (no matter how long it lasts) and miscarriage change your body. And stillbirth…it’s still childbirth.
I’m a mother in my heart; I’ve been pregnant three times.
I’m a mother in my body; I’ve given birth.
But I have no living children. So I don’t fit.
I don’t fit with my friends who have kids, because I don’t have any to raise. I can’t join in their conversations about motherhood and sleep deprivation and toilet training. When I try to participate, I get comments like, “You’ll understand when you have a baby” or “I thought I knew how to parent before I had kids too.” And it hurts so much. Because I am a mother…and yet I’m not.
I don’t fit with my friends who don’t have kids, either. My priorities and my dreams are all wrapped up in my hope of being a mother to a living child. Theirs usually aren’t, or at least aren’t yet. I have a room in my house that’s been set aside with a crib and drawers of baby clothes. They don’t. I plan my vacations around the hope that maybe, just maybe I’ll be pregnant by then and thus have to scratch any Zika-positive countries (pretty much all the beaches) off my travel list. They pick up and go wherever they want.
Most people don’t understand what this is like. It took them less than a year of trying or “oops!” they weren’t even trying, and they got pregnant. And then, from that first pregnancy, they got a living baby. They’ve never experienced infertility or pregnancy loss. And often, they can’t even imagine it. So they don’t know what to say or do. And so they ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen. But that means they’re ignoring the biggest hole in your heart. And too often, that means they ignore you. They don’t know what to say, so they say nothing. And that’s lonely too.
It’s really lonely not fitting in anywhere. It’s really lonely waiting and waiting and waiting, hoping and hoping and hoping that this is the month you get a rainbow.
The point of this blog post is simply to share what I’m feeling. Life after pregnancy loss isn’t devoid of joy. Life with infertility isn’t devoid of good things. But they make life harder and lonelier.
My request to you, if you’re reading this and fit into any of the groups I don’t feel like I fit in, is to be kind. Have grace for your friends who are fighting this battle and let us know that you care—about us and about our babies.
And if you’re feeling lonely and like you don’t fit either, let me know. Comment below or email me at trishajennreads @ gmail.com or DM me on Instagram or Twitter. We fit in with each other. We’re mothers, even if no one can see our babies. We’re warriors and can fight this battle together.
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash
Dear Trish, I hope you have some older women in your life. The kind who have been through stuff and can tell you how to reach out, in what direction. Mentors who are not in the thick of infertility, but have the long term perspective.
Being a woman means reaching out and I’m glad you did with your blog today!
Thank you, Nicola. I’m grateful to be blessed with some amazing women in my life who consistently speak to my heart with their kindness and wisdom.
This is the most accurate thing I ever read. You have ordered the thoughts in my head in one blog post. I totally agree. And sometimes even when trying to explain this to people, they still don’t get it. Or they treat you like your feelings are not valid. It really is a struggle. So thank you for your bravery in sharing this. It doesn’t have to consume you, but sometimes it’s good to just be heard.
Hillet, I’m so glad my words have helped you organize your feelings. You’re so right—sometimes we just need to be heard and acknowledged.