It’s been more than two years since my husband and I purposefully chose a two bedroom apartment. We were excited about that second bedroom and what we planned on eventually putting in it. When we moved in, the room was left mostly bare because we had to wait for some life-changing news to come our way before that room could serve its purpose. We weren’t quite ready for the life change yet, but soon. We wanted to be ready. So, it sat in anticipation. Holding a few of our belongings, but mostly it was empty. Time rolled on and it remained empty, lifeless. No one ever went in there. It served no purpose.
Two apartments later, we still have the empty bedroom. We keep choosing apartments with two bedrooms because we desperately want to need one. But lately that room is only a taunting reminder of what we lack.
We still don’t have a child.
The day the doctor used the word infertility I felt like I was drowning. My ears were ringing, I couldn’t breathe. I had expected it, we’d been trying for a year, but I was also just caught off guard. She said it so casually, so nonchalantly. Like she had no idea that I had been treading water for months and that word was what finally pushed my head under the waves. This wasn’t our story. We were supposed to get pregnant as soon as we decided we were ready, surprise our family and friends with the joyous news, and live fertile-y ever after. I was angry. I was devastated. I was heartbroken.
Truthfully, I still am.
As it turns out, this is my story. Our story, mine and my husband. It’s our reality. And it sucks.
I have felt so alone in this journey. I didn’t know many other women (or couples, yes, guys, I know you are a part of this too) who have experienced the pain that is infertility. This feeling of loss, of grieving for something you’ve never had… it’s taken up most of my heart for the last year. I haven’t felt like myself. I have just been still, afraid to move, sitting and waiting in anticipation for something that might not come. People would ask me if I was okay, and I would tell them I was just tired. I’m not tired, I’m sad. And okay, sometimes that makes me tired too. Trying to find the right balance between staying hopeful but not getting your hopes up is exhausting. And every month, every negative pregnancy test, every period is so damn heartbreaking.
But you keep trying. Because the desire doesn’t just fade. It eats away at you. It tears at you with every happy pregnancy announcement (I am excited for you, but I am sad for me) and every time someone innocently asks, “when are you two going to finally have kids?” (Ugh) Gut punch. Every time. Talking about it is hard. Not talking about it is hard. I feel brand new to all of this. Honestly, it still doesn’t feel quite real… like I don’t qualify, like I’m just someone masquerading as one of 10% of women who struggle with infertility. But it’s my truth. And I know it is the truth for so many others out there. Even if it doesn’t define us, it is a part of us. So many women face this – mostly in silence it seems. Like we aren’t supposed to speak about it. Well, this rule follower is over it. I believe we need to share our stories. Because maybe if we do, someone else won’t feel so alone.
Here it is, the story I never wanted to tell, the story I never expected would be mine. This story is still being written. For now, I am right in the middle of it, the eye of the storm…
I am so tired of the empty room in my home. I am so tired of feeling like I am that empty room.