Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ever Still Feel Infertile?

Infertility is a funny thing. You would think it would end with the birth/adoption of a child, wouldn't you? Well, physically it might not, because the medical issues that prevented pregnancy to begin with aren't usually just erased by parenthood and often bring ongoing medical care needs either for future attempts at pregnancy or simply for long-term health reasons. But at least on an emotional level it should seem that parenthood would mark the end of infertility.

For me, it did not. I know that must sound crazy coming from the mother of three living miracles, the oldest nearing age 10 now, but it has only been in the last couple of years that I have really felt my heart moving into a new chapter of life and fully embracing my post-infertility season without the entanglements of "survivor guilt" trying to strangle the joy away. I still mark the "would have been" ages of our children lost to miscarriages and my heart stings over the comments made around me that I know would be painful to the ears of my infertile friends. It goes much deeper than all of that, but it's all so complicated and hard to put into words.

I've never found a really good way to explain the long-term scarring of my heart through infertility until I happened upon this simple word picture today. It wasn't written specifically about infertility at all (though interestingly enough, the author is living through primary infertility), but it was one of those, "Ah-ha! Yes, that's what I've been feeling!" moments when I read it. Check out Holley Gerth's reflections on Stop Signs and see if her story can help you keep from getting stuck at old heartaches too. :)

For active infertility support, be sure to visit Hannah's Prayer Ministries and our fantastic message board Community Forums. Or for the unique issues of parenthood after infertility, visit our sister ministry, Parenting after Infertility Ministries (PAI)

Just after posting this blog I came across yet another story that fits with the theme, so I'm editing to add another link. My friend Marlo Schalalesky (who I interviewed here in April) tells the story of a lesson God taught her on moving on from heartache through the actions of her after-infertility son. If you have a ShoutLife account (or want to register for this great Christian social media site), check out When God Lets Your Blocks Fall then drop by and register as my ShoutLife friend too, while you are on that site! :)

5 comments:

Conny said...

Jenni, I too have struggled with a "survivor guilt" for having been given 2 living children - even though I've lost 1; I know many like you have suffered through even greater loss & heartache. I dont' quite understand God's ways in all this - but I just trust Him. BTW, we just found out a few weeks ago that we are pregnant (after m/c 6 years ago)...a "last chance" attempt - and suddenly, I've lost that old "barren" stigma feeling again; however, I wonder how I'll feel after this baby is (Lord willing) born because I know for a fact this is IT. No more; cant' do this again. I feel so blessed & yet so unworthy. Thanks for sharing your heart.

blessedintheprairie said...

I have felt that way for a long time, even though my hands will be full with a second miracle soon. It's been a difficult transition to go through - I've lived the life of an infertile gal for so long, it's the only thing I feel comfortable doing. This motherhood stuff is so new that I am still finding myself acting like I'm infertile... not asking baby questions to other moms, flinching when I overhear another person ask the 'kids' question, feeling guilty for my own current body figure.
I do feel my infertility journey is a blessing because I have a different and better perspective on those who are hurting in the silence of infertility. And my stop sign is always flashing for those gals I see in church or couples that I know have struggled.

Triumph said...

We want No. 2 so badly and was so happy when we found out we were expecting a few months sgo which sadly we lost. I am now on medication and wants to try again in another month or 2. I really did not expect to be dealing with secondary infertility too and so this is very disheartening as my age does not allow me much more time.

Jeanne said...

Jenni,

I have heard many people describe what you're talking about here. I think when something hurts so deeply and intensely, it's impossible to ever get over it completely.

I know that may sound ominous. That doesn't mean that healing cannot occur... just that the way healing takes place may not mesh with expectations of how it's "supposed to" take place.

Your feelings really sound in line with so many stories I have heard. I think it's great that you're sharing it here. I'm sure it will help many who read it.

By the way, thanks for stopping by my blog earlier. We hadn't connected in awhile and it was nice to hear from you.

Take care,

Jeanne

Anonymous said...

I understand this also...after battling infertility, we have one miracle child. I thought that after that, I wouldn't have to "think" about getting pregnant for a year...here he is 8 months, and I'm already thinking about it. BUT I'm learning that I need to DROP playing the infertility card...not that I can't encourage others through this struggle, but I feel like I still TALK about it so much, it's who I AM. And that's NOT who I am. I am a daughter of God. A beautiful creation who God has an amazing plan for...and part of that happens to be that I got to experience motherhood in this beautiful thing called life. Anyway, thank you for your words of encouragement. Yes, I am still learning to retrain my thoughts of feeling infertile. Instead, I am focusing on the fact that today, I'm a mom. And that's enough for me. :)