Anyone who knows anything about me at all, knows that I am inordinately honest and open about our infertility struggles. There is literally not a question in the world people cannot ask me about what we've been through to bring our babies home. There is not a question that has ever offended me. Some that have surprised me yes, but never offended me. There's never been a single question asked that I didn't want to answer. The main reason for this is that the more people talk openly about infertility the less taboo it becomes - and that is something I desperately want for the sake of the younger women whom I love, and frankly the ones that I don't even know. The ones who aren't even thinking about marriage or babies right now. I hope none of them can ever relate to our struggles - but if one day in the future they can, I want them to live in a world that gets the struggle and is supportive of it and understands that it's no one's "fault" - just like cancer is no one's fault - it just sucks all to hell.
There is one question that always surprises me, no matter how many times I am asked it. Every few months some one will ask me something along the lines of "Are you ever embarrassed about how long you've been trying?" Honestly, there are a lot of emotions I feel when I think about the four years we've spent trying to create our family. Embarrassment is not even close to any of those emotions. Not even in the same ballpark.
What always amazes me is that these questions almost always come from people who, not so elegantly, stumble in to parenthood in ways that I would be embarrassed about. Recently a friend of mine had a piece of jewelry made to honour her embryos created through an IVF cycle. On the piece there were various charms with the dates of her embryo transfers. She then told me that she liked it but now seeing it was a little worried that it was too obvious. My heart immediately ached for her, because honestly... there's no such thing as "too obvious" when there's nothing to hide. My response to her was the same as it always is when people with infertility ask me about overly sharing about their journey... I told her "I think it's amazing, and honestly.... if people can proudly announce they got drunk and knocked up - I'm sure as hell not going to be embarrassed to say that long before conception, we loved our kids so much their dad and I went through hell and back together to make it happen."
To be clear, I'm not at all saying that people who have unplanned pregnancies don't love their children as much, or don't value their pregnancies. In fact, just the opposite. Nothing has been more infuriating for me than having to listen to friends or acquaintances talk about how it's the wrong time, the wrong guy, or how ridiculously unprepared they are for it... all the while knowing that in a few short months these people are going to fall so hopelessly head over heels in love into the best blessing of their lives that none of the concerns that cross their worried minds are going to matter. Not in the least.
So to all the women and couples who have known the road that my hubby and I are on: Celebrate! Celebrate every single minute you spend planning for your baby. Celebrate every pregnancy test you take, regardless of the result. Celebrate every RE appointment, every embryo conceived, every minute of this journey. Celebrate the fact that one day, when your child asks you the story of where they came from, you can tell them a story of love, partnership, dedication, perseverance, and most importantly wanting, and the knowledge that there was a place in your heart that only they could fill. That is the most precious gift we will give our children.
So frankly, No, I'm not embarrassed. It's pretty hard to feel embarrassed when you're this proud of yourself, your husband, your marriage and the incredible strength you draw from adversity.