Why Being Pregnant, After Infertility, Feels Like I'm in 'Limbo'
I started my infertility journey in October 2016. We had been trying to get pregnant since getting married six months before, and I also turned that magic infertility age of 35. So that summer, off to the specialists we went.
After 18 months of trying to conceive (TTC) with the help of infertility tests, treatments and procedures I found out I was pregnant in March 2018. If you would have asked me prior to the pregnancy what state the infertility journey could be categorized in, I would have said limbo. Now, I’d be more inclined to say pregnancy after infertility definitely feels like limbo.
When people say to me, “You must be thrilled!” or ask, “How psyched are you to be pregnant?” I answer,“Yes,” and “Very.” But I feel other things too. While I’m not in the Mom Club yet, it feels wrong to still call myself a member of the infertility club. It’s like I am in a weird limbo state where I am thrilled about being pregnant, but also aware that others are still experiencing infertility. Yes, I am excited over feeling my first child move in my womb, but I am also melancholy knowing she’s likely going to be my only child and not necessarily because of my own choice.
I also feel like I can’t complain about my pregnancy because it’s something I worked toward for so long. I’m afraid if I were to complain it would mean I’m an ungrateful mother. So instead I say, “Oh I’m fine, it’s all good,” all while going through the nausea, fatigue, aches and bloating.
I feel uncertain and unprepared too (which is probably common for all new moms) because although I was focused for so long on getting pregnant, I am still learning what being pregnant really entails. At week 14 I don’t know what things the baby will need, or what theme the nursery will be, (apparently the theme of “sleep” just won’t cut it) or that by week 16 you’ll have changed bra sizes three times already. I didn’t know at week 23 tying your sneakers would become an issue. When I mention these things to people, they give me that haughty smile and say, “Well of course!” I am left feeling ashamed. Ashamed because while I hoped I would reach this point, I didn’t want to jinx things so I didn’t think too much about any of it.
Some days it’s hard to live in the limbo. To not want to lash out when folks, total strangers, make comments about how next time I will know better. “Um, no,” I think to myself. There won’t be a next time, at least not the way this one came about. It was hell enough juggling doctor’s appointments, near-daily blood draws and having my refrigerator and medicine cabinet full of in vitro fertilization (IVF) drugs. Not to mention the heartache that accompanied every failed procedure for days after. I can’t imagine doing it again, especially not with a toddler in tow. So I smile politely and say, “Well, we’ll see,” and steer the convo to their numerous offspring.
But some days the limbo is great as it reminds me of how precious these weeks are. To cherish each pound I gain and look at the box of donated clothes (for me and baby!) as “Christmas in July” presents. Now that we’ve passed the halfway mark and are closing in on the finish line, we’re trying to focus on enjoying what’s left of the pregnancy.
We try not to stress over every pain or read every chapter in our pregnancy books five times. We are just trying to embrace the limbo.
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