1 in 8 looks like me
"This time last year I was in one of the darkest valleys of my life thus far, and trust me, I’m no stranger to the shadows of dark days. I didn’t know it then, but it would get a lot worse before there were any glimmers of hope on the horizon. One of the reasons it was hard to get through a single day without wanting to crawl into the comforting hole of despair I know all too well is because we were suffering in silence, as we all tend to do.
There’s this thing around infertility. It’s a taboo topic, similar to the way death and grief are. It may be okay to mention it after the fact (like I’m doing now), but when you’re in the middle of the storm? You should keep quiet (and I did). You should keep the shattered fragments of your heart under wraps (done). Another failed treatment when you were convinced this was the one that would work? Don’t talk about it out loud (we didn’t). Some well meaning person asks when you’re having children? Don’t tell the truth, don’t say “well actually, we’re really struggling. It’s really hard for us right now.” Definitely don’t punch them in the face (somehow, by the grace of God alone, I’m only guilty of this in my mind). Just smile, grimace, and act like all is fine. If you know me well, you know I don’t believe in taboo topics, you know I’ll talk about the hard things on the second coffee date. You think death & grief & infertility & pain are topics not to ever be discussed out loud? I think that’s bullshit. So today I’m standing in the light, with the wounds of the last year healing day by day, with the fear of an empty future slowly fading. Is it easier because there are two babies in my belly right now & we’re making it through the raging storm of the last year every day? Yes. It is easier to talk about it now. Absolutely. Do I wish I would have spoken up earlier? Not quite. But can you expect me to ever be quiet about it now? Nope.
I remember seeing #NationalInfertilityAwarenessWeek posts last year & being in denial that I was a part of this group, in denial that the steps behind and ahead of us were the ones of our reality. I remember seeing posts like this one where the mamas said they would do it all over again, where every needle & operation & test & appointment & blood draw & prayer prayed & second spent in pain was all worth it. I remember thinking “how? how could you do this all again when I don’t think I can even do tomorrow?” And now I get it. Now I can stand with them and say I would do it all again. Every single thing. So this year during National Infertility Awareness week, I stand suspended somewhere in the middle. Half on the other side, half still in the battle (for it’s as much mental, spiritual, & emotional as it is physical). I stand with my arms wide open to the women & men (don’t you dare think this only hurts the woman) in the spot we were in last year, in the darkest valley. And to the families on the other side, I stand with my arms out reached to you, still looking to you as hope & encouragement. And next year & the years after that? I hope to be teaching these twins that every single life on this earth is a miracle, no matter how it was created (though I’ll always be biased & think they’re my miracles of all miracles), and teaching them to always look for the ones who are hurting, the ones who hide it well, the ones who feel isolated and alone. I hope to teach them that 1 in 8 looks like me, them, us. And I hope to teach them, and everyone else, that there’s always two sides to a storm: the downpour and the clouds parting at long, long last. And it usually really is all worth it in the end. ❤️"
- Allie N.