And yet…

I was recently reading an article about marriage. Real marriage. Like arguing about what type of fastener we should use to hang a heavy framed photo (a knockdown fight me and my husband had recently). Side note: when we deal with so much heavy experiences, we somehow fight about the most ridiculous things! 

I’m talking about marriage where you are forced to make those tough, life changing choices about your future family. Marriage where you have experienced devastating, heartbreaking news together. Marriage that is constantly challenging and evolving, as individuals do throughout their lives. 

The author used this quote to reflect her philosophy of marriage. “Life is struggle, and yet…” After reading the article, that quote lingered in my mind. 

Although I wouldn’t use this particular quote to describe my marriage, I think it applies to my journey in trying to conceive. 

Infertility is struggle! Anyone going through it or has experienced it can attest to that. But even with the constant heartache, there’s that beautiful and alluring “and yet.”

Most of us don’t know what that “and yet” means right now. But it’s certainly what keeps me going through this struggle. 

Infertility is struggle, and yet that glimmer of hope for a child is always present.

Infertility is struggle, and yet I’m a strong enough woman to not let it defeat me. 

Infertility is struggle, and yet one day I won’t experience this anymore. 

Infertility is struggle, and yet it will be the most rewarding experience of my life. 

What are your thoughts? How would you finish that quote? 

Sacrifices

We all make sacrifices, every single day. I sacrificed my lunch break today to help my teaching assistant with my rowdy preschool class during nap time. It was a simple sacrifice on my part without many implications.

My husband and I sacrifice time together and happiness in the present to achieve our dreams in the future. We have all of these plans and ideas about our future life, but when does your current life actually turn out to be just your life? And those future plans seem more and more distant?

When we graduated college in 2010 we were lucky to find any job. My husband took a flight instructing job out of state in the hopes of flying the big jets one day. Six months later, his dreams came true and he’s been flying charter jets ever since.

Although it’s a great career move, it makes for a difficult home life. We live our life without a schedule. I’ve learned to not make plans because I’m often disappointed when he’s called away to fly. We make this sacrifice now so my husband can advance in his career and we can provide for our future children to our best ability.

Initially I told him, “just get a job, because a teacher can find a job anywhere!” Little did I know how difficult that would be. It took me four years to get into a school district in our area and I’m still striving for more in my career. I sacrifice finding better jobs to be in the same city as my husband (well, when he’s here anyways…). I sacrifice my mental and physical health teaching in an inner city neighborhood where I encounter difficult decisions about “my kids” daily. But it will pay off one day, right? When my student loans are gone and I have the street smart, think on your feet teacher repertoire that will land me a job in a wonderful school district…. right?

Although we are spending our twenties making all of the right choices, are we also missing our life? When we’re having truly awful months of weeks apart and “the unknown” thrown in our faces time and time again my husband reliably says, “It won’t be like this forever.” I feel like our inability to have children is tied to the sacrifices we are currently making to have our future children (if that makes any sense?). These past four years of sacrifice and two years of infertility sure feel like forever.

I’m not saying we have a rough life. Everyone has their struggles. I guess I’m just thinking out loud about our own.

Sometimes I want to just stop thinking. Stop planning. Stop taking the right steps and doing the right things. I just want to do. Let’s just jump head first into infertility treatments with faith that everything will work out.

Instead I find myself planning every day of my cycle and allocating every penny for our procedures. I think of every “what if” scenario and how to cope before anything has actually happened.

I feel like struggling with infertility forces you to stop living in the moment and take very purposeful steps for now on. Every decision has a reason. An intention. Everything is planned, documented, and strategized. And it all comes with a lot of sacrifice.

I don’t know if this post will even make sense to anyone out there in Internet world. I’ve found blogging to be therapeutic and help me untangle the knots in my mind, even if no one else can untangle them quite yet.

The questions…

We’re right in the middle of the holiday season, which means gatherings with friends and families. Living out of state, I love traveling back home to see my family and friends who we don’t get to visit that often. This also means being asked the infamous question.

Being a twenty something married couple means at every holiday gathering there’s always the, “So when are you going to have kids?” question. We get it every year. It comes from grandparents, aunts, cousins, friends, and of course, our parents.

We initially kept our plans on having kids to ourselves. We would coyly answer, “It will happen when it’s meant to happen.” It felt like a private matter between my husband and me. We also kept our struggles to ourselves. How do you tell your family and friends about a miscarriage? Or about infertility? So we kept the burden to ourselves because we knew the pain we felt and didn’t want to pass that onto others.

We did this for a year. And finally after being ask “the question” for the hundredth time, my husband snapped and it came out. He first told his mother about our struggles. And you know what? It felt good. She empathized. She told us her story of having my husband and his sister. I felt like I finally had someone I could talk to without being judged, pitied, or bullied.

So we told more people. I opened up to my mother. I told my sister. We told friends. The more people we told, I started to feel a weight lifting from my shoulder. I found friends who were also struggling with the same issues.

Looking back, I was ashamed of our struggle. I felt inferior as a woman that I lost a pregnancy and couldn’t get pregnant. It was so hard to take that first step to open up to someone, but once we did, the next few steps felt that much easier.

I can’t say that I no longer struggle with these feelings. Because I still do. Even though we opened up to friends and family, I still feel like infertility and loss is a hard subject to talk about. I find that people don’t know how to react. I find that most of the time I’m sensitive and emotional about the topic. I have broken down crying in my OB/GYN’s office and subsequently the parking lot!

Personally, all I’m looking for is someone to share my story with and listen. Someone that can listen to the ups and the downs. Someone who can listen to my feelings without judging. Someone who can be by my side during those invasive and sometimes painful infertility procedures. Someone I can lean on during those bad days and celebrate with on our little triumphs. I have that in my husband, but like I said he’s out of town for work a lot, so it helps to catch little glimpses from friends and family.

Back to the topic of this post: How do you answer “the question” from friends and family? The people we have clued in know enough to stop asking. Most of the time they only ask questions if we bring up having kids first. But our extended families, coworkers, and long distance friends still don’t know our story. So I’m prepping myself for the rounds of questions and comments this year.

Sometimes I want to say something snarky like, “We’ll have kids when my ovaries decided to get their shit together!” or “I guess using birth control all those years was pointless!” But I usually refrain from that. We still revert to the answer of, “When the time is right.” Maybe I’ll switch things up this year and say, “I would love children whenever that happens for us.”

How do you answer the big question?