By Lisa Hand
Eleven years ago, I stepped into the infertility club with a dream on my heart and innocence that would never be returned to me. The nights were long, the weeks were filled with ups and downs and the months felt like I was watching a clock literally tic-tock away. My marriage felt more like a job and intimacy felt more like a responsibility. It was a very hard, very long 7 years in the trenches of it all. Although most of it feels like a blur at this point in my journey, I have very clear memories of the pain, frustrations, and fears. I didn’t know that it was even possible for a human to shed so many tears in a lifetime, let alone a decade. Looking back, I wish I had known a few things along the way that may have encouraged me a little bit more each day, each cycle, each loss and through each falling tear. I wish I had known this:
I wish I had known that infertility may have been my diagnosis but that it was not necessarily my fate.
I wish I had known that my marriage would end up stronger despite the arguments, tears and quiet nights where there was little to be said.
I wish I had known that people meant well along the way. I wish I hadn’t been so offended by the efforts of others who cared, even if they didn’t know how to show it in the best way.
I wish I had known that so many other women were struggling like I was, maybe I wouldn’t have felt so alone in the process.
I wish I had known that infertility wouldn’t consume me forever and that one day I would be able to breathe fresh air and move forward from this part of my life.
I wish I had known that the all-consuming appointments, medication side effects and needle sticks, would be worth it, that they were nothing in comparison to the joy my efforts produced in the end.
I wish I had known that although my journey would be riddled with a lot of loss, it would also result in a lot of joy.
I wish I had known that it was ok to be happy and sad, simultaneously. Maybe I would have had more fun in between the darkness.
I wish I had known that so many people cared, even if they never said anything until years later. Maybe knowing how many people were rooting for me would have helped.
I wish I had known that I was stronger than I thought I was.
I wish I had known that it would all end up ok. That no matter what, I would survive it. Because I did. I survived the impossible kind of pain that so many others survive too. Because of that strength. You know, the strength I wish I had known that I had, 11 years ago.
Lisa is an “unexplained” infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss survivor. She resides in Virginia and is a military spouse and mother of two rainbow babies. Lisa is passionate about sharing her story to help others. You can also read about her journey over at PALS and on her personal blog, To Be Called Mama.