Saturday, January 14, 2012

I think it's official!

Granted, evening belly is always bigger than morning belly, but I think I've officially popped out. This is me at 17 weeks pregnant, awaiting the big gender reveal in less than two weeks!

So am I still infertile?

Yes and no. I think once you've been through a world-altering experience like infertility, it never totally goes away. I spent 4 years of my life feeling like I was unable to do what a woman is "supposed to" do - have babies. It's now been 5 years since those longing-filled, childless days, and the deep feelings have faded to heartfelt memories - present but not acute; scar but not an open wound.

I was not vocal at all about my pregnancy with LB on this blog five years ago. It felt to me like I was giving a slap in the face to my IF sisters still waiting. I think a lot of us IF gals feel that way when our dreams of pregnancy or parenting are being fulfilled - like it's something we shouldn't talk about too much because we remember how much hurt it brought to us when we were hearing about others' fulfilled dreams.

But then I began to wonder if that silence somehow diminishes the miracles that are children. There are many kinds of miracles, not just children, that's not what I mean. But somehow I felt like I could celebrate LB less because he was our biological child and BB more because he was adopted. That's funny, because people always seem to think that parents favor biological children over adopted children, and here I was making a much bigger deal over BB's adoption than LB's birth. I felt way more comfortable rejoicing publicly over BB.

So now it's five years later and I'm obviously not keeping silent about this pregnancy. I guess maybe because I've been parenting now for five years and have come to learn wholeheartedly that all children are a blessing no matter how they come into this world or into one's family. I am very excited to welcome a new baby into my family. It's a great family. Welcome, Babykins!

Please don't think that I am through being sensitive toward women experiencing infertility. It's an extremely difficult, life-changing experience and the last thing I want to do is add to someone's pain! I know it's hard to hear about sometimes, and I also know that I can only be responsible for my feelings and responses, not those of others. I bore the burden of infertility for years, and it was hard. It's not my personal burden any more, but infertility ministry is still a passion of mine. I still want to cushion others' feelings as best I can. But I can't always. I probably will be a thorn in someone's flesh at some point. That's where God's love and comfort come in - where humans' fail.

So what do you think? If you experienced infertility and are now parenting, do you still feel infertile? What do you do about those feelings? How do you honor your children while still being sensitive to your waiting friends or friends who are families of two and whose lives don't revolve around feeding, clothing, and teaching young children in their home? Talk amongst yourselves.


Karon said...

Well, although I am parenting, I am still infertile, since our son is adopted and I have never given birth. However, I have a child in my home, so it is something I try to be really sensitive about, because I think that the main thing that was so hard for me was not knowing if I would EVER be a mom. I AM a mom now, even though it did not come through pregnancy, so in a way, it's like having a foot in two worlds. Love the belly pic! :)

KimB said...

Hey Amy. Great update. I think (for me) after about my 5 year PI mark, I found myself wanting people to celebrate their children more, not less. Yes, can I occasionally be caught of guard by something? Am I always as gracious as I would like to be? probably not. But I think the greatest thing that any mother (no matter how they get that title) can do is celebrate it, celebrate God's provision. There's my .02. :)

Alli said...

I "felt" infertile until my daughter was born. Then I felt "cured." And then we adopted. So two kids in 2 years and I felt "cured" still. Until I went off birth control and my OBGYN predicted I'd be pregnant within 6 months. Nope. Then I got pregnant and miscarried. "Infertile" crept back into my vocabulary. Having a child either by birth or adoption did not cure the feeling, the pain or the scary parts of infertility.

Thelma said...

I realize you're asking parents for their feedback, but I hope it's alright if I post... as a family that feels it is complete as two, infertility no longer defines us. We are still infertile. If we decided tomorrow we wanted children, it would still probably not happen. It's a physical fact of our existence, but unlike 4-5 years ago, it no longer defines that existence.

I *think* the same could be true for motherhood... infertility could still be a physical reality, but I think we choose what defines us.

As for celebrating it: I think you should. I fear sometimes that celebrating our life as two makes us come across as though we've forgotten IF, or somehow 'arrived'. I love our life and do celebrate it, but I am careful how I choose my words.

Empathy is an inexpensive gift to give.

Amy T. S. said...

I'm glad you chimed in, Thelma, I value your family of two-ness so much, and I hadn't thought of it from your perspective of feeling content as a FO2 and that looking like forgetting your past.

Similarly, having lost a parent to cancer, cancer doesn't define who my dad was - not who he was to me or to anyone else. It is something we experienced as a family that will forever change us, but right, not define us, like you said.

Love this discussion.

Mie said...

As an IF sister (first of all I don't really feel like I qualify because ours is MFI, but it's OUR problem...), I just want to say that I rejoice when I see another IF sister who is pregnant. I rejoice as if I were pregnant myself. Yes, of course I'm not and I'm reminded of that fact, but it doesn't phase mie in the least because I know how hard it is to NOT be pregnant. After more than 5 years of infertility, I've come to the point where most of the time I'm happy for a fertile-mertile too :)

Davis Family said...

Such a great post! I feel like I have struggled with this so much these past few months. After over 7 years with no pregnancy, I find myself constantly in awe of the fact that I am now closing in on the last few weeks of pregnancy. But I still feel like infertility is such a part of us and I struggle with how much of my excitement to share because I know the pain of it all. We had belly pictures taken last week and I suddenly realized that I was going to feel funny putting them up because I didn't want Ben to question whether I loved him as much since I don't have those same types of pictures with him. But then we had a party that same night for Ben like we do every year to celebrate his adoption finalization and I realized that we won't be doing that for this little guy growing inside me. I felt reminded that both of my children are miracles and that I so long for God to receive full glory for creating them and for placing them in our family through both adoption and birth.