Secondary infertility can feel like emotional homelessness.
What do I mean by that?
Well. You have a child. But real moms have children. Real moms are jugging multiple kids, multiple schedules, multiple meltdowns and double or triple the mess. Real moms birthed families. I can’t tell you how many times a well intentioned “real mom” said to me “just wait until you have another one.” Of course those women didn’t know that I thought I couldn’t have another one. I know they didn’t mean to make me feel like less of a mother. But that was the clear message my struggling, depressed brain received. When you have another one, then you will be one of us. Then you’ll know how difficult motherhood really can be.
Outsider. JV mom. If I had a bad mom day and I wanted to share that or seek out support there was always someone who had my bad day times two. Or three. Or even four. I felt like my bad day didn’t count. One child is easy. (Spoiler Alert: not true)
And then there’s the ever-present hovering doom cloud of infertility.
You have a child. Real infertility is childlessness. Real infertility is a quiet, empty house and a longing for just one precious little baby to fill it up with sweet noise. If you have a bad infertility day how are you supposed to ask for support from a community of women longing for just one child? You have something most of those warrior women are fighting a war for every day.
And how would they have felt about me crying because I screwed up at being a mom today?
I felt caught in this lonely in between place.
Not a real mom because I only had one child. Not really worthy to claim the pain of infertility because I had one child.
If this is you, if this is what you are struggling with at this very moment, I want you to stop it. Stop.
Because first a foremost, you are a mom. And you’re one hell of a mom because you are brokenhearted and you’re still doing your best for your child every single day. Having one child DOES NOT MAKE YOU A LESSER MOM. You belong here.
Secondly, you are living with infertility. Medically diagnosed, real infertility. You are trying to have a child and your body won’t do it. That is infertility. And it is agonizing. You belong here too.
You are not emotionally homeless.
I wish I would have said something sooner. I wish I would have reached out sooner. Because guess what happened when I did? “Real moms” circled their wagons and rivers of support flowed all over me. “Real infertility” sufferers did exactly the same. And I should have given myself that gift when I needed it most. But I am so grateful to have it now.
I hope I won’t always feel like I’m outside the circle. I hope it will get better with time. For those of you still walking the rocky, painful road of infertility know that for every picture of my children that I post there will always be an underlying pang in my heart. A pang for you. And a pang for myself because I know so keenly that it is by the GRACE OF GOD that this is my life. A pang that might never let me totally feel like a regular mom. And maybe that’s okay.
But we all belong here.