Throughout my life I have been fortune enough to experience a handful of life changing events so memorable that neither the most eloquent writer nor the most skilled photographer could ever begin to capture their essence. Luckily, these experiences are forever embedded in my memory and permanently engraved on my heart; attending Resolve: The National Infertility Association’s Advocacy Day in D.C. this week with over 100 other women (and men) who suffer from the disease of infertility was one of those experiences.
Due to the isolating nature of infertility, women who are going through treatment often form bonds via local support groups or online forums. Having experienced so many disappointments, I have avoided these groups like the plague-- always fearful that eventually everyone except me would get pregnant, and in addition to being the failure amongst all of my “fertile” friends, I would also be the failure amongst all of my “formerly infertile” friends. After a few short moments in D.C., I realized how wrong I was.
First, nobody is ever “formerly infertile.” Many of the women I met had children. Regardless, all bore scars of infertility. Scars not only of lost pregnancies, but of lost marriages, lost jobs and worst of all, lost self-identities-- permanent markings on their lives that may fade with time but will never completely disappear.
Everyone’s story was different. Fifteen IVFs, repetitive adoption scams, seven miscarriages, five failed donor egg cycles, a surrogate who backed out at the last minute… the list was endless. And yet, the women I met were SO similar-- strong, beautiful, accomplished women, who, whether they had successfully built their families or were living childfree, had selflessly taken time out of their lives to come to D.C. and make it different for those who are still chasing their dream of having a family. Those, who like me, are traveling, literally, across the world for treatment because in the US it is just too damn expensive.
When treatment fails or a pregnancy is lost, it is not the sadness of losing that particular pregnancy that haunts you. It is the raw gripping fear that the next one or the one after that or the one after that will not work-- fear that you will NEVER become the mother you so desperately desire to be. Since attending Advocacy Day, for me, that fear has loosened its grip. After meeting SO many inspiring women, I just know that regardless of whether I become that mother or not, I will be an advocate for those who want to be, and that despite not having the slightest idea of how my story will end, I have found peace that eveything’s gonna be alright.http://www.resolve.org/