When I was that person, still in the trenches, I made several promises to myself about what I would do and not do if I ever became pregnant. Some of these promises are private but some of them, I’d like to share with you, BUT, LET ME BE CLEAR: If you or someone you know has done any of the below, it’s not that I think they are wrong or that I judge them in the least. This is just my personal list in reaction to the feelings I had when I was struggling to get pregnant. They were/are:
- Do not post your sonogram picture anywhere.
- Never talk or post photos about your nursery.
- No over the top cutesy-poo nicknames for the baby.
- Don’t make every post, tweet, status and conversation about your pregnancy.
- Never, ever forget your struggle with infertility or the others who continue to struggle.
So, still-in-the-trenches Jay (or SITT-Jay for short) is the person who has been standing behind me with her arms crossed reading over my shoulder whenever I post anything on my blog. Occasionally she’ll say something like, “Oh god! Don’t write that! Give me a break!” And I’ll respect her feelings, rewrite a sentence or take it out completely. I would never want to betray my former self.
And that's how it really has felt... like I have been living with these two sides to me: The “Still-in-the-trenches-Jay” and the “Pregnant Jay”. I like them equally, they both are funny, attractive (on a good day) and good hearted but their views on fertility, infertility, pregnancy and life are not always in agreement. Because of this, in the last few months, I’ve been wondering if Pregnant Jay could possibly say anything comforting to SITT-Jay, what would it be? What words of wisdom have I now gained being almost 31 weeks pregnant? What lessons have been learned, if any?
What has stunned me is as hard as I tried, I couldn't think of anything. Sure - I wish I got a second opinion sooner and I wish I spent more quality time with my husband while we were trying… but honestly and truly… I really think I did the very best I could under the circumstances. I may not have done as wonderfully as some people and I certainly won't win any awards, but again, I absoultely tried my best and you can't ask for more than that.
So, the only thing I ever came close to in terms of what I wish I could say to my former self was this: “You are not a failure. You’ve done nothing wrong so please, please, please stop thinking that. Infertility is a medical issue and not at all a reflection of who you are as a person, a sister, a daughter, a wife, a friend or a woman. Don’t be ashamed because I swear to you – infertility doesn’t make you any less of a person or any less deserving of happiness.” The truth remains though, although this is all completely true, I don’t know if SITT-Jay would have believed Pregnant Jay or quite frankly have even listened. SITT-Jay would think, "It's easy for you to say that. You're pregnant. I'm not. End of story."
I continued thinking about all of this when I started unpacking gifts I received at my baby shower which was about a week ago. Slowly, actual baby stuff has started filling my home and surrounding me. Right around the same time, I began feeling the baby move more and more and this has been very exciting. Then suddenly last night, for reasons unclear to me, something happened that was one of the most moving, powerful things I may have ever experienced. I don’t know if it’ll make sense but I’m going to try to explain it anyway...
It hit me (and hit me hard) all that my husband and I have been through… the surgeries, the procedures, the medications, the injections, the ups, the downs, the fights, each fertility attempt that failed, the days, the months, the years, the heartbreak, the finances, the tears -- all of it. And now, here we are. I’m really going to have a baby. Exactly this is what it's all be fore. This is what we dreamed of. This is what we hoped for and wondered if it was ever going to happen. In this moment of realization, SITT-Jay and Pregnant Jay unexpectedly became one person... and that one person is having a baby.
I started to cry uncontrollably... not because I was sad but because I was so overwhelmed with happiness. It was like a montage of all the struggling flew through my head and I realized that in a few weeks, I’d hold a baby boy in my arms. The two sides of me were on the same page and that’s when I finally knew what I would say to my former self and that was, “Thank you. Thank you so much for hanging in there. Thank you for not giving up. It's because of your strength and perseverance that we're able to be a mother. Please know it was worth it. Thank you so much for going through all of that. We’ve made it... we're almost there."
Again, I don't know if this all makes sense but what I wanted to say is that although I don’t know where you are in your journey to become a mother (trying, struggling, succeeding or holding a baby in your arms), the best person to tell you the words you need to hear may very well be you.
If you could say anything to yourself right now that you think you needed to hear, what would it be? Thank you? Hang in there? Stay strong? Don't give up? I urge you to take a moment and think about it. If you hit on what it is, it may be the comfort, inspiration or credit you need not to mention deserve!
As always, with hope, hugs and humor...