Expounding on those thoughts

I think this is what I get for trying to post something quickly.  I appreciate your comments on yesterday’s post and through them I realized how incomplete the thought was I wrote about.  I realized it was when I wrote it, but hoped maybe it could stand on its own still just to get me pressing “publish” again.  But I guess this way works too, as it speeds up my follow-up post :)

I can’t find the right word to describe my feelings yesterday, but I settled on guilt.  Really, I doubt that’s the right word and I know its far more complicated, so I’ll try to delve into it here.  Please preemptively forgive my rambling.  And if you do read, please try to stick through to the end, I promise I don’t gush the whole time.

All I knew in those first few weeks was I was using words like surreal, unbelievable, and shocked to describe what it was like to find out about this pregnancy.  While I still look down and feel a tiny kick and wonder, how did this amazing thing happen?, I felt like I had been the poorest person in the world and just won the largest lottery pool ever, with no strings attached.  As stupid as that sounds, that’s literally no exaggeration.  Sure, I was worried about miscarriage,  but it was like all I could do was stand there with my hands shaking in front of my face and my eyes bugged out, just shocked for a good, oh, until just a few weeks ago when I realized this baby is sticking around so we should probably start planning things.  But this huge burden that has been dragging me down for these years?  Completely lifted.  My life would change forever by this abstract baby growing in my belly (abstract in the sense that it was still 9 months away and unknown to the outside world).

It already changed everything.  Literally, everything.

This was not like I got a new job, this was a new life, a new purpose, a new everything.  Our financial situation hasn’t been an issue, but my mood?  Instantaneously better.  My husband is shocked at who I am now and how, despite my fears that HCG make me crazy, I really think it was just not conceiving with HCG.  As in, not conceiving was making me crazy.  He says I’m more calm than ever.  Our disagreements have dramatically reduced and its like we’re joyful newlyweds again, all the time.

I wish I could lie to those of you still waiting and say, Oh, its not really that great.  Its overrated and you’re just being impatient.  It won’t really fix everything.  But I’d be lying through my teeth*.  Even despite these moments of worry, this is better than I ever thought it could be.  I know, this is probably not what you want to hear, but it just hammered home how not conceiving is such suffering precisely because it is such an absence of an innate good.  While not every pregnancy is an ideal situation, every child is still a miracle.  And that is was every woman and couple struggling to conceieve knows with every fiber of her being and that’s precisely why it hurts so much to get passed over.  I don’t need to tell you this.

What I am surprised about is how much just that thought makes me crumble when I think about those still waiting. How something so seemingly simple and unearned can literally change my whole outlook on life.  How big of an impact it had on all aspects of my life…but that I did nothing to deserve and was  never in the position to choose this.  There have literally been nights when my husband has come home to find me bawling on the couch just thinking about women that can never have children, never have this joy I feel just at the potential and the life growing inside my womb.  Not in a pity way but in a profound, this would be horrible to miss out on way.  An everyone who desires this should have this way.   Now that I’ve felt this joy, that pain feels so, so much deeper.  What’s more is I feel that all pregnant women know this in their hearts but its so powerful and sad that they literally cannot think about it without loosing it.  I’ve had pregnant women tell me that before “Oh, I just can’t even think about sad things or I’ll start crying.”  Maybe its the ability to feel the world’s pain more precisely, since you start to care for someone else so deeply, but it is so real. [And it makes all those women who don’t sympathize with women who don’t conceieve seem like such a foreign thing…it makes me conclude they are the people who just don’t think deeply about things.]  And I remember how I was there, I was just there, just moments before this.  The emotions so perfectly juxtaposed made it an even more emotional time.  Suffering alongside for so long and it was like I just got plucked out of the abyss for absolutely no earthly reason to experience such a glorious thing.  But that others weren’t.  The fact that others may never get this literally breaks my heart. And I know from being there that there is so little I can do to help them, that although I can try to help them carry a little bit of their cross, it ultimately rests on their shoulders.  It’s heartbreaking.

We talk of an island but in my mind its more like an arcade game in Toy Story, where the claw chooses the little toys out of the game machine.  One little guy at random.  “The claw has choosen.  Farewell my friends, I go onto a better place.”

I think those tears look like guilt.  Those tears in Mass when I hear that song and those tears that my husband has unfortunately not escaped, despite this miracle pregnancy.  Maybe they seem like guilt, in the “Why me and not them?” way or “Why did I behave so poorly”.  But I think its different than that.  Maybe more like, how did I possibly make it through that?  How could it really be that this was the only thing that could have had this result, that could have brought this incredible joy that was so pointedly missing?**  I realize how profound this life event is, this pregnancy.  That it was the answer to many prayers, only a few of which were my own.  And I know now with a real sense of urgency how important those prayers are that come from others and how I feel so indebted to remember that always and pay it forward.  I’m almost positive it was those that lifted me up and helped me go on and dare I say, followed this baby into fruition.

I was concerned to write this for fear of only adding to your pain. But please know I have committed to praying by name for every couple trying to conceive that I know, in person and through the internet ever since this last week in August.  Prayers for peace and comfort and God’s presence and most of all, a child to love and raise in faith.  If you’ve left a comment or even if you haven’t and I just read your blog, I pray for you.


*(except for financial situations…no matter how longed for babies will not fix that…)
**While we did not adopt and I can’t be certain, I imagine the feelings after adoption are very, very similar although still different.  They are like two possible solutions that have the ability to wipe away all the pain of longing for a child, but I’ll leave that to someone who has been there.
***If you’d ever like to email me your real name, sometimes I feel funny asking God to pray for “FMTP” or “misfit”…just saying.   I’m sure He knows you anyway :)

18 thoughts on “Expounding on those thoughts

  1. A beautiful entry. I was 40 when I finally conceived and was blessed with a beautiful son. He is my light and my life and a very special gift from God. Enjoy every moment of your pregnancy…as I know you will.


  2. Alison, I practically could have written this post, my emotional experiences have been so identical. I wanted to be pregnant so badly, and then pregnancy ended up being way better than I even imagined. Infertility was so, so hard, and yet I can now be grateful that I went through it because (a) this baby seems all the more miraculous and (b) I now feel so keenly the pain of other women going through it. I feel a special calling to pray for all the struggling couples I know. I am forever wrapped up in the plight of infertile couples — it left a permanent mark on my soul. Like you, I know that the prayers of others were integral to my eventual pregnancy. And guess what?? The two women I was praying for daily for the last year are both pregnant!! You were one of them, and I just got news of the other woman two days ago. I’ve never even met either of you, and I wept at both announcements. So much sadness can turn to so much joy.

  3. While it might break my heart a little later if I think about it for too long, I really like this post. You do such a good job of expressing how you are feeling, and I love that you are honest! And that you made use of “the Claw.” :-)

    Though I’m sure every experience is different, the way that you describe the miracle of your pregnancy is how I have long suspected pregnancy would feel. It’s good to get that confirmation from the “other side.” Maybe the feeling you’re describing is unworthiness (a la Wayne’s World, to use another movie reference) for this great miracle and overwhelming joy, rather than guilt? Because you’ve been in the world of subfertility and felt all of the emotions that go along with it so keenly and know so many people experiencing it, that you are really trying to wrap your head around the wonderful miracle that it is. And just like it seems to be impossible to know why some people do not conceive or do not carry to term, the flip side of that coin may be that it’s not possible to know why some people eventually do.

    Forgive me if I’m totally off base here. I’m so glad that you received this incredible blessing. You keep on giving me hope!

  4. You are a beautifully sensitive soul, I’m glad you are rejoicing in this pregnancy! Maybe it’s a little survivors guilt? For any disease/condition, cancer, IF etc. there are some who make it and some who don’t. I have no idea why that is, but you shouldn’t feel bad about feeling so good. Shoot girl, I’m gonna shout it from the rooftops (in a sensitive way of course). Let it shine!

  5. You describe exactly how I hope motherhood will be. I thank you so much for praying for those of us still waiting by name (Amanda & Josh) and am so humbled that you would do this for us.
    I can only imagine the intense feelings of being chosen for “no reason” and not left behind (LOVE the Toy Story analogy!), but please don’t feel guilty … God has a reason for this happening exactly the way it is.

    • Yay, names! Thanks for sharing so I can include them now :) And you’re right….even though I completely don’t understand this, hopefully someday I will. I will keep you in my prayers.

  6. The comment about survivors guilt is dead on. I still have it. Why am I so blessed and so many are not? There is nothing special about me.

    I also want to say, having recently suffered a miscarriage (at your sister’s house no less) … you are so very wise to continue with your blood tests. Looking back, even though there is evidenced that would have supported my body “working” … I should have started with blood tests. Because I believe after I get those results back they will show hormone deficiencies still that will make carrying to term impossible, or that make quality egg production impossible.

    I sort of always felt that miscarriages would be part of my story (they were part of my moms) and armed with information now I am in a better place. But I am sad for the two souls gone, the two little ones that never got to be.

    Ever since it happened I wanted to email you and tell you how smart you are and how right you are to continue monitoring. I would recommend that you start there with any future attempts to TTC too. I will not ever make this mistake again. I made the wrong assumption that I only needed the clomid, that the metformin wasn’t doing anything. And I think now that the metformin is what allowed for proper hormone production for G to be conceived and born.

    Obviously not a medical opinion! :) We’ll see what the doc says next week and after blood tests. I could be very wrong.

    I hope you are writing down things about your pregnancy some place. I enjoy looking back at the few posts I did write and remembering. I wish I had written more. And DEFINITELY write out your birth story as soon as you can. Because I LOOOOOOVE rereading that. Hope you are well and happy and having a very merry Christmas!

  7. This is such a moving post, Alison. Thank you for sharing! And thank you for continuing to pray for those of us still waiting (Laura & Philip). I’m grateful for anyone praying for me, but I honestly appreciate prayers from those who have been in my shoes more – maybe I’m wrong, but I just think they are more heartfelt.
    I’m glad to hear it’s everything I’m imagining and more… it should be! Reading your post (and Hebrew’s recent post too) that in the middle of the joy, there is still sadness and guilt… it’s tough. I so wish it wasn’t that way, though I imagine I’d feel the same. God has his reasons though… and I for one, am always happy to hear of an IF girl crossing over!! It gives me hope!!

  8. I love your comment about paying it forward. I think I’ll steal your idea & start praying for my “waiting” friends by name. And i think I’ve said it before but if not, congrats!!

  9. I keep trying to leave a comment here that encompasses all of the emotions wrapped up in the tears each time I read these words (I keep coming back to them) and I just cannot find the words…I’m going to try today.
    I can only find the words to say thank-you for the prayers, the “check-ins” and the love…as someone else said, they seem so much more meaningful and heartfelt from someone who has been *here.*
    I prayed so hard for you to be the one the claw chose, harder than I’ve ever prayed for anything for myself, and to know that there will be tears when we see each other (soon!) because of this journey makes me glad on one hand because they will be the reminder that I am not alone, but makes me so mad on the other hand because there need to be tears at all. Your BFP gave me total joy, and to know that you are carrying the burden of the feelings of guilt because you’ve left this island, I just hate it. Your joy should not have to be damped by our pain and our waiting, and yet, I get it. I understand why because as much as I wanted to get pregnant on the first try, I feared having to share the information with those who were still waiting.

    Ugh, I think I have just rambled and made a mess of it, but it’s the best I can do. If nothing else, know that the prayers you are offer are felt and appreciated more than words can say…and that you are loved!

  10. I’m not sure what you wrote added to my pain, or what you think is my pain, it more just didn’t sound all together rational as a Christian. You talk about the joy of pregnancy and how you feel so good it hurts you to think of those who aren’t or won’t ever get pregnant but my joy is squarely centered on Christ dying for my sins. It has nothing to do with being pregnant or caring for a child.

    I’ve never understood why when a temporary infertile gets pregnant, she feels the need to lend sympathy to the childless. I work out my own issues through prayer and reliance on God. I’m very happy for you and your husband and how great you feel about your life together. That’s just wonderful.

  11. I’m actually very glad to hear this, because it is how I have always, ALWAYS envisioned motherhood/pregnancy to be. I know the joy, though only through years and years of anticipating it (since I was a child). And missing out on it is a worse pain than anything I’d ever imagined.

    Which is why, not to seem offensive, I’ve also always believed that the prayers of infertile women offering their pain for others is a stronger and more powerful prayer than the prayers of 100 pregnant women, or 50 mothers. It’s much of the reason why I brought Prayer Buddies to the blogs – I knew that by offering our pain for someone else’s, it could literally move mountains. All prayer is powerful, of course, and worthwhile, but I’ve always considered another childless woman’s offer of prayers on my behalf to be like gold (if that makes sense). Like a starving person praying that their friend find food to satisfy their belly… something about that is so much more powerful than the rich man dining at the Thanksgiving table offering prayers for their starving friend.

    That being said, of COURSE I am grateful for your prayers, and I know that God hears them. Thank you. And thank you again for being honest and expressing the thoughts I always knew someday I would have, if only…

  12. Hi – I randomly linked to your blog via Betty Beguiles post on wedding dresses and started reading and found this post. It brought tears to my eyes because I so completely understand these feelings. It is almost a year ago exactly that I first saw that second line and was in total shock. My husband and I had been trying to conceive for two years and had some medical issues that we didn’t know if we’d be able to overcome.

    Even right now, as my beautiful 3.5 month old daughter is sitting in my lap as I type this, I am filled with so much emotion. I am feel so incredibly blessed, but I also feel somewhat guilty. I want every single woman to get to experience this and I feel very deep pain for those couples who are still on their TTC journey and/or are dealing with “sub-fertility” (since you said that you don’t call it infertility :)). And that pain is even deeper now that I’ve had a chance to experience the joy of pregnancy/motherhood.

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