Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Parenting After Infertility...

The thing about infertility is that parenting after is sometimes just weird...a weird flood of emotions... guilt. Guilt over the people (ones you know and others you do not) that are still fighting, still awaiting that one (one more) miracle baby.

My God. I was in that boat. I was in it for awhile, but not nearly as long as many women. I was lucky really, though it didn't feel that way at the time. Damn...I was lucky.

So I feel guilt, maybe a variation of survivor's guilt? But at the same time-I am so very grateful that I am no longer in that boat. I'm so happy that I'm no longer on the "mommy sidelines", which is how I felt for so long. I'm thrilled to be part of the "club" (another left over feeling). And I feel guilty about feeling happy, though I know that is just stupid. Of course I'm happy! Of course I'm ecstatic that I have my two girls. It would be far worse if I took it for granted.

But here's the thing...sometimes I do. And I hate it. I truly do. And I feel guilty about taking it for granted. I swore up and down that I would never take my hard-fought for kids for granted. I would never grumble in the night when I had to wake up, I would never complain about how my toddler doesn't like to listen the first (or second or third) time something is said. I would NEVER complain about being tired or sick or frazzled or having a messy house, stained clothes. The fact of the matter is, when Alex was first born, I LOVED the mess that came with a baby. I would sit and stare at baby bottles in the fridge. I was in awe that MY fridge now housed baby bottles! I loved the toys scattered around the living room, the clutter...the lived in (ultra lived in) look of the place.

My children are the two great miracles of my life. I would do anything for them, anything at all. Yes-I'd give my life for them in a heartbeat. They are my heartbeat. But...I still take them for granted more often than I feel I should. I complain about the mess, about the food on the floor, about never having time for myself, about being asked to play Frozen 79453 times a day, of being woken up, of being extended so thinly that I feel like I'm never doing everything up to the standards that I used to aspire to, that I used to envision.

And the guilt I feel over this is sometimes crushing, sometimes shaming. I, like so many infertile women, bartered with God. I prayed and asked and tried to make deals with him/her. And I vowed to never, ever take things for granted.

But I have, and I hate it. And I'm ashamed of it and know that there will be some infertile woman reading this passage who wants to kick my teeth in.

To her...I'm so sorry....but I had to get this off my chest.

I would never go back to how things were before children, never ever ever. What I have gained is nothing short of spectacular. It has changed who I am, who my husband is, our relationship and our identities. No, I would never go back. The thought of anything ever happening to my children is enough to make me break out in hives and feel faint (we can talk about the post-infertility paranoia/hover parenting/superstitions in another post). I love them more than anything...

So maybe this is a blessing stemming from my infertility...my constant reappraisal of where I am, mentally? My battle with taking things for granted is strong and present and persistent because I know what it is like to be without something I so desperately needed. So maybe this isn't such a bad thing, after all? It forces me to think, to put things in perspective and mentally puts me back to where I came from 4+ years ago. And I don't want to forget that journey. It still hurts to revisit those feelings. It still makes me envious of "fertile women". I still causes my gut to clench. And so feeling those feelings again, maybe that will remind me to continue to do battle with the tendency to take things for granted. Because it will be a battle I'm always fighting. And sometimes I will win, and sometimes I won't-especially if I'm tired (I tend to get weepy). But I know this and a certain part of me has to be ok with the actual battle-because I am only human, after all. And at least I'm fighting the battle.

So on that note-I pray that God continue to protect our family of four....

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