• Alisha Emerald

Infertility awareness week

The pain of attending baby showers knowing that will never be me. Wincing when I walk through the baby aisle, admiring tiny outfits and wondering if I'll ever have a human small enough to wear them.

It's infertility awareness week, and most people are thinking of IVF and fertility treatments. I connected with multiple women in the infertility circle who used IVF or IUI to conceive their children, and I'm happy for them. I am. And at the same time there's a bittersweet pang.

Because I know that will never be me.

Our pregnancy with Paris was never supposed to happen, and the moment we saw that positive pregnancy test we knew how the story would end. I knew the entire time he was alive in me that he wouldn't stay that way, and despite doing everything to remind myself of this I still hoped, I still became attached the way a mother does with her child, and his death still devastated me.

Even without the necessary medical sterilization I faced after Paris, pregnancy wouldn't be in my cards. This is a whole different kind of infertility. It isn't peeing on sticks every 2 weeks and enduring countless doctors office visits in desperate hope of conceiving a child. It's called infertility caused by a chronic illness or medical reason.

It's desperately wanting a child, and knowing that growing our family won't happen the traditional way. It's mourning the loss of the pregnancy and birthing experience. It's irrational anger and jealousy at pregnant people everywhere, and the inability to hold a newborn without crying. It's an infertility experience, complete with the ups and downs, that doesn't end in pregnancy. And sometimes it's avoiding infertility boards, instagram accounts, inspirational messages, because the just keep trying and one day you'll conceive a baby speech doesn't apply to you.

I am the face of infertility, and it's not what you think.

Life keeps on going. Without Paris. Without any living babies in my arms or in my belly. I'm so focused on staying alive there's barely a moment to let it sink in that pregnancy is something that won't happen for me. But the moments come, and it's like I can't catch my breath.

I try to remain hopeful and focused on the future, and then sometimes the present all comes crashing down on me and it's a kind of pain and isolation I can't explain to anyone. Not my husband, not my mother who had two successful pregnancies before going on to adopt 2 other children, my siblings. Not the infertility message boards where they talk about Clomid shots and egg harvesting.

It's infertility awareness week and here's what I know: Infertility is hard. Whether you go on to conceive a baby or not, whether there are losses involved or not, whether you have living children or not, infertility sucks. Parenthood, and particularly motherhood, seems to be a right of passage in our society, and it shouldn't be that way. Not having kids, for whatever reason, should be acceptable. And it should be ok to talk about infertility!

Because of my illnesses, I'll never get to experience being pregnant and birthing a living baby. And that doesn't mean I've given up. Grief is an essential part of life. We grieve, so we can live. Call me crazy but i do have faith that there will be light after dark, a rainbow after this storm so to speak. Maybe I won't become a mother through pregnancy but that doesn't mean I'm not a mother.

I will grieve. I will laugh and celebrate my life and find meaning in the waiting, live my passions and create and live a beautiful life without babies in my arms. And I'll keep sharing about organ transplants and illness, grief and infertility, so that maybe someone else out there knows they aren't alone.

Infertility is isolating. It shouldn't be. Let's talk

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