I am the girl sitting next to you in Shul. I am the girl making you a meal when you gave birth to a beautiful healthy child. I am the girl who invites you for a Shabbos meal and makes sure your toddler has toys and a friend to play with when they come over. I am your child’s kindergarten teacher, caring for a room full of young children yet longing for my own.
One might think that the “picture of infertility” is someone who is older, perhaps someone with a health issue, but that is the farthest cry from the truth. No one believed I would have trouble getting pregnant because I am “young and healthy,” and outwardly I am “young and healthy,” but that doesn’t matter. There is no one type of person who experiences infertility. 1 out of every 8 couples that you see is struggling right in front of your eyes. And the picture of infertility will look different every single time. This is my story, but I hope to convey in this short message that infertility is not just one thing, one type of person, or one emotion.
I sat down to write this so many times, but where do I even begin? When I think about sharing “my story,” I think not of the logistics and medical terminology, but of the feelings, I have experienced in this process. For me, infertility is a constant pendulum of emotions swinging from hope to despair. At the beginning of the cycle, filled with hope and new possibilities. At the end of a failed cycle, laced with longing and sadness. Despair.
It is not simply the “inability to get pregnant after a year;” it is pain, loneliness, sadness, and discomfort. Watching the women in shul with all of their kids and their big swollen bellies, having to be excited when someone tells you they are pregnant and going home to cry about it later, going to work countless days after bloodwork and ultrasound.
And yet, it is also hope, connection, and love.
I would be remiss not to mention all the wonderful things that infertility has given me. Yes, you read that right. Infertility is not ALL bad. Infertility has brought me closer to my husband, it has strengthened my connection with prayer, and it has made me believe in myself like never before. Through sharing my story, I have also been blessed to join a community of the strongest men and women experiencing the same thing that I am.
So, while I am a member of the community, a contributor, and a teacher, above all I am a warrior. And I will keep fighting to bring children into this world despite the hardship, the needles, the pills, the pain. Despite all of that, I will continue to persevere day in and day out, and wait for our happy ending.