I have been corresponding with a friend who is just wading into the terrible icky painfulness of beginning to contemplate real infertility.  Not “oh yay, we’re going to the fertility doc who will fix everything” nor “we’ll we’re trying, and I guess maybe we’ll do IVF if it Doesn’t Happen (but we’re still pretty sure it Will Happen).”  All that is just preamble.  No, I’m talking the ugly, horrible, “my husband wants this, but I want that, and it’s all second best, and we don’t have enough money for any of it” ugly.  And I’m acutely aware of how I must come across to her, me on the farther shore with my cute baby, seeming like it was nothing.  Does she cry when she sees cute pictures of him?  I did, when I was her.

I am also contemplating some over-40 pregnancies, the kind that used to drive me crazy.  The kind that I was sure God “owed” me, and yet seemed to give to “everyone else.”  A few friends have “checked in” to see if there is pain and gnashing of teeth over this and I’ve said that there isn’t.  All that is over, I say, and today I sat down and thought hard about it.

Is it?  Am I truly not bothered?  Have I forgiven God for not giving me what I thought He should have?  Is this the end of me feeling ripped off and cheated?  The answer is a resounding yes.  If the answer were no I guess I would still write about it.  I can’t fathom feeling ripped off when I look at our baby, or when I think of the trouble free pregnancy (not discomfort free, just mostly free of scariness) compared to all the little and big things than can go wrong.

But it’s not all pretty and frosted over and forgotten.  How I feel about the infertility and where I ended up is: very lucky and blessed.  I also feel sort of, almost glad for the infertility part.  No, not glad exactly; just accepting.  It’s part of our story now just like all kinds of twists and turns brought us to our husbands, our jobs, our homes, whatever.  It’s not all neat and pretty, like “well if we hadn’t had the miscarriage on THAT exact day we wouldn’t have met X or thought Y or done Z…”  It’s not like that.  The miscarriage and the ectopic sucked, the negatives sucked.  The debt is still here.  The little lives in the petri dish are still lost.  The fallopian tube is still gone.  I still don’t know why God caused / allowed some of the things He did.

The test for me, to see if I really and truly feel accepting and okay about it, was going to be other women’s pregnancies and I am happy to see that I am only happy for them.  I said I was happy for them, and I did not lie.  I think a little lie in those instances is okay – if I have the strength to smile now, and cry later, I guess that’s a considerate thing to do.  But I am only smiling.  And when I say it’s not all frosted over, I mean I still think of how I didn’t get that particular thing, but it’s an objective thought now.  As in, “oh, that’s the path they are traveling.  Mine was different.”  And then… and you can scoff if you want… then I feel a little bloom of warmth for our path.  Our shitty, painful, expensive, time-draining path with the six IVFs and the ectopic and everything.  It just is really, really mine, and since I like the ending of the story, I guess I like the whole story too.

When you have a child, and you all will – must – should – end up with one, if you don’t have any yet – the child teaches you about uniqueness.  Before my child, uniqueness was just a nice thing that everybody has.  Yeah, yeah, we’re all different.  But my child, and yours – they are so amazingly one-of-a-kind.  When you are so in love that you cherish every fart and blemish and stray hair – it has helped me love the rest of my life and my story, too, just the way they are.  It has taught me to respect the other uniquenesses.  Myself, my body, my life – they’re not just good, bad, ugly, pretty, fair, unfair.  They are so interesting and important because there is nothing like them.  My story isn’t someone else’s and someone else’s story is not better.

I don’t want to be one of those annoying, chirpy people who say that having a child fixes / heals everything.  It doesn’t, and a poor little baby should not have to bear the responsibility for healing mommy and daddy.  Shudder.  I actually think the long time it took us, which was five years of hoping / “trying” and three of actual IVFs  – was part of the gift.  Time is what it took and time is what we needed to be broken, and then put back together again.  Stronger in the broken places.  At least… some of them.