Should I feel bad that I’m happy?
Should I feel bad that after two years of trying, one surgery, one miscarriage, a few thousand dollars on Chinese Medicine and supplements, a complete overhaul in my diet and lifestyle, that I now have a baby girl of my very own?
Should I feel bad that I didn’t end up having to do IVF, despite the odds, despite two doctors telling me that was my best chance of bringing home a baby?
Should I feel bad that I got lucky on my first try at IUI and injectables, and almost a year later have what it was all about, a 7-week old child?
Should I feel bad posting quotes, pictures, and articles on Facebook celebrating my new role as a mommy?
You see, I thought I had reconciled my survivors guilt long ago. Way back then, when time carried me through that delicate first trimester from my RE’s office to my new OBGYN. But I didn’t, I hadn’t. I didn’t bake my RE cookies or send them flowers when I tiptoed past 12-weeks hoping it wouldn’t notice me. I wasn’t going to truly allow myself to celebrate until the baby was born. I didn’t want to count my chickens until they’d hatched. And now that they have, I’m trying to enjoy every moment with my little baby chick without allowing worry and neurosis to gobble up her childhood in one bloody bite. Yes, I constantly check the baby monitor for breathing. Yes, I resolve to co-sleep for the next year to keep a watchful eye on my spawn. I google and search baby safety info like it’s my job. Sure, I’ll celebrate, I’ll be happy, but I’m not stupid enough to throw all caution to the wind and think I’ve won, that I’m immune to sadness, to tragedy, to the unexpected. The phrase “Life is fragile” doesn’t even begin to sum it up. Any heart can just stop beating without the help of a big bad hand to crush it. It’s like that. The rug could be pulled out from under me or you or any of us in an instant. BUT the chances are good that I’ll wake up tomorrow and that Daphne will to. The odds are in my favor that she’ll grow and thrive and survive. But you never know. So with all that said, I DON’T and WON’T allow myself to feel guilty ANYMORE because others still hurt. I’ve got to squeeze every drop of happiness out of this love orange that I can. I’ll share my orange juice if you want some, but if you don’t, then you don’t. Please don’t make me hide the juice stains on my chin.
I’m trying to embrace this new stage in my life without apologizing for it. Why then did I feel the need to list out all that I have done to get here. Because of the voices. “Oh she’s only had one miscarriage, I’ve had three.” Or, “She didn’t even have to do IVF to get pregnant.” I know that’s how people in the trenches feel when they see BFP announcements, when the months go by and they’re still staring at the clock waiting for the BFP hand to drop. Infertility hurts and it can turn anyone into a bitter, ugly, angry person. It can turn anyone into a hater. I’ve certainly had my moments. And I haven’t forgotten outwardly cringing when a very unhealthy person I know, who made no changes to their partying lifestyle, magically got pregnant at 39 after a one night stand. I was so close to letting the darkness sour me to other people’s happiness. But then I let go, I convinced myself I didn’t care anymore and here we are. (No, I don’t think “relaxing” got me pregnant). What I’m getting at is that I don’t get to decide who deserves or doesn’t deserve anything in this life. I don’t get to decide who gets a baby and who doesn’t, when, where, and why. Nor do I get to decide if and how they celebrate their spoils. I’ll be honest, I used to think I’d like every person over 30 who’s trying to conceive to have to have at least a few months of wondering. Let them experience some stark white BFNs so that for a minute they wonder if it can happen for them, at least so they’re a little more sensitive to those who don’t get so lucky. But my perspective is changing. I don’t want to be the type of person who wishes any amount of suffering on anyone. EVER. That’s not who I want to be. Nor do I want to be the type of person who doesn’t share their pure, unadulterated joy with the world because I’m afraid of what the haters will say.
I wanted this blog post to be about Daphne’s first smiles. I wanted to write about Babywise vs. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I wanted to write about our struggles to get Daphne to take a bottle. I wanted to write about how I’m all baby all the time. But instead I had to get this off my chest.
I’ve lost followers because I’m no longer technically “infertile.” I understand and respect that. It’s too hard for some to read about the strangers that have made it to the other side. But I really hope I don’t also lose friends. Yet I’ve got to be me. And this me is now very happily a mom.