When you troll the dollar stores for years in search of paper plates and straws and cat toys and party favors and completely inedible foods, you never even walk down the toy aisle.
Except when you are looking for your nephews and then you think LET’S JUST KEEP LIKING LIGHT UP STICKS FOREVER, can we please?
It seems inconceivable (see what I did there) that you will never have a child of your own even if you wanted one.
Then you marry your love and you are moved to start a family and you cannot. You cannot.
So then you wander through the aisles because you want so badly. You begin to wander through your life and noticing all the families. All the kids. You long to buy your children the stupid little toys and walk through the aisle with them and say, “you can pick one thing” as you’ve overheard so many families do in the past.
You just smile. You just think, maybe. Someday. But you never had any idea. You had a feeling everything would be fine as it always is fine, somehow some way, but how? HOW.
It’s not fine. It’s anything but fine and the more you stress and worry and rail and wonder and spend money you don’t really have, you begin to understand the anguish and the despair. The loss is palpable even when there is nothing physically to lose. You can taste it and it colors everything. It wants to make you bitter. It wants to make you sad and despondent and for periods of time you are.
And that’s ok.
But you must trudge on. Because no matter how we get our family, we will get our family. And it will be perfect. Through adoption or fostering or surrogacy or pregnancy, it will be perfect. For us.
No, it’s not just you feeling all these feelings.
The more you talk about it, the more you hear about other people who went through similar experiences, who are going through similar feelings, who are bitter or despondent or still full of faith that it will all work out. Somehow.
There is such a loss of control that you want to scream and yell from the rooftops. You want to find every other man and woman going through this and hold hands. Not saying a word. Just hold hands and know that we are in the same space and many people will never understand what this feels like. And then you are so angry you want to yell STOP HOLDING MY HAND GET AWAY FROM ME. You rage. Allow yourself to rage.
We aren’t angry at you. We aren’t unhappy for you and your family. We are unhappy for ourselves. We are sad. Sad is okay. Our journey is long and winding and we never know what will happen next.
We hope. And we hope and we hope.
And we keep on trudging. We keep feeling those hands that are holding ours and knowing we aren’t out here alone as we keep our hearts and minds focused on stories we’ve heard over and over of a family.
It’s National Infertility Awareness Week April 24 – 30th.
I remember. I was diagnosed as Infertile. I have a family after infertility as many of us do. Somehow. But I will always proudly walk among you. I will always hold your hand and I will always understand. I will also understand if you leave me. I understand.
Some folks like to tell me I shouldn’t call myself infertile. Since I went through IVF to have a baby after a diagnosis of Infertility, I will always defend us and our journey.
I wish you love and peace. I wish you rage. I wish you, in the end, a family. In whatever form that takes.
We took a walk the other day to a brand new dollar store that opened in our neighborhood. I had my babies with me and I said to them, “Okay, you can pick one thing.”
And so they did:
“I WUV DIS BLU BALL. AND BEBE’S PINK WAND.”
I saw this family at the dollar store. My family. And there was nowhere else in the universe I wanted to be than right there with a smile for anyone who may have seen us and heard our discussion.
You just never know where hope can spring up. For only a dollar.