You want to know what’s ironic? Getting pregnant was not an issue for us. We were married in September and pregnant in December. I was feeling nauseous and thought for sure I had the stomach bug that my husband had the week before. Until a friend of mine suggested I take a test just to be sure, pregnancy was not what I was expecting. It was something we were certainly hoping for, but not thinking about at that moment. One little test with one simple word “pregnant” and I knew my life was about to change (just how much it would change was still to come). At the time, a fertility clinic was the last place I thought I’d be visiting in the future. I got pregnant, awesome! When this baby is around 2/3 years old, we’ll try again and have another one. Boom. Done. Easy peasy.
Let me also make something clear because reading this back to myself, I’m actually wondering if I should even share that part of our journey. I’m not saying it to pat myself on the back. I’m also not saying it to piss anyone off. I know there are so many women out there who want nothing more than to have this non-issue and this is the last thing they’ll want to hear (keep reading, I swear). I’m saying this because the subject of women and fertility, women and pregnancy can be such a taboo subject. An outsider can assume what women go through to have a baby, but no one really knows exactly what each woman goes through in their own journey. And I am the perfect example.
You grow up thinking (or at least I did) “I’m going to get married around 25. I’ll have my first baby around 26/27. By the time I’m 30 I’ll have at least two kids, and then probably one or two after that, ya know, depending on how big of a house my husband and I have. I’ll be able to stay at home with the kids because that’s what my mom did, and what her mom did. It’ll be great.” A very “Leave It To Beaver” style life. The funny part is, this is somewhat how our marriage/pregnancy journey began (pushed back a few years). Engaged at 30, married at 31, baby at 32. I thought for sure by the time I was 35/36 we’d have another baby, because 40 is the new 30 so we’d be right on track. And then maybe we’d stop after two, but keep our options open because you never know, three kids could be a possibility.
Over the last couple years, and especially since having to go through the IVF process myself (cue the ironic part), I have met so many women whose journey to become a mom are not at all what they had “planned” (“planned” being in quotation marks because really, can you plan anything involving children? Family planning, birth plan, etc. Not in my book. Hence the reason for this post.) I’ve met women who have had to take the long and windy road, dealing with detours, traffic jams, pot holes and bumps along the way to get to the place they want to be more than anywhere else in the world…motherhood. Women who have had miscarriage after miscarriage, rounds and rounds of IVF, adopting eggs, purchasing sperm. Women who wanted a baby by themselves and made it happen. Others, like myself, who have gotten pregnant with no issues and then because of a health issue needed who needed fertility help to know for sure their future child would not also be affected, even though there is never a 100% guarantee. Wondering, hoping, and praying every day that the process will work because the pain you’ve already endured in your life, and in your child’s life, is something you can not bear to think about going through again. Getting stuck by needles day after day, hormonal outbursts daily, getting your damn period when you thought for sure this was going to be the month. Just a few of the disappointments and hardships that come with this process, whatever process it is you’re going through. A process you grew up thinking will just happen when you’re 27 years old. Easy peasy.
Bear and I can’t just have another baby. There can’t be an “I’m late, I wonder if I’m pregnant” moment. When people ask if we’ll have another baby, most of them don’t realize it’s not as simple as just having another baby. And that’s not their fault for not knowing. Unless you know our story, why would you know that in order to have another baby I’d have to go through another round of shots, waiting, thousands of dollars, more waiting, egg retrievals, transfers, ultrasounds, and prayers that it would all work in the first round because let’s be real, it’s expensive and mentally exhausting. And that’s where it’s so ironic, because if we were like “normal” couples, who didn’t carry around a rare genetic disease in our bodies, then we could answer that question with “maybe, we’ll see what happens”. Nope, there is no easy peasy for us. Not anymore. And no easy peasy for way too many couples.
I would never say not to ask couples why they haven’t had a baby after being married for years. Or asking when they’ll have another because their oldest is getting old and you don’t want them too far apart. Because babies and motherhood are such exciting topics to talk about and honestly, people are nosey and want to know (myself included). But to know that it’s not always as cut and dry as some people think or assume is something to consider. It doesn’t have to be a taboo subject, but it is reality for many.
So, while I do feel extremely lucky to have been able to carry both of my boys, having healthy pregnancies, and having a shorter IVF journey than others, I also know it’s not an easy road for many, many, many women out there. Be aware and try not to assume because you never know what their journey has been.