Cancer Ever After

Musings on Infertility, Adoption, Parenthood and Cancer

The Secret Password

on 12/28/2014

Now that I have children, I’m beginning to see how much infertility changed me. Conversation and small talk are becoming normal again instead of feeling like salt on a bitter wound. When you are infertile, your friends mean well, but they are usually part of a secret club called “Parenthood” already.

Because of this, you hear comments like, “When you have your own children someday….”, or “You’re lucky that _____________” (e.g., “you don’t have a kid keeping you up all night”). Now that I know the secret password and am a member of the club, I find myself falling into this same pattern of behavior, and I have A LOT of infertile friends. Because we were so open about our journey, a lot of people have approached me to ask questions about treatment or just to share their stories. We’ve fought in the same trenches and in many cases have become friends.

For so long, infertility and miscarriages made conversation difficult. Either something would come up innocently in conversation that would lead me to a dark place, or we would be mourning a loss or an unsuccessful cycle. I have a coworker who had a child the month our first set of twins were due and a friend who was married on the due date of our first child. I missed a Super Bowl party with a bunch of friends because I had a methotrexate shot two days earlier to end the ectopic pregnancy and I was in a very dark place. We haven’t been invited back to their house.   I’m also sure the crazy drugs they used to treat my infertility also didn’t help with the mood swings and personality changes.

The lifestyle changes infertility brings also made it difficult to have some of those normal conversations with friends. Infertility was a 20-30 hour per week part-time job. I had doctor appointments almost every day, was injecting myself with shots up to three times a day, wasn’t allowed to drink, and we cut out all activities that cost money (eating out, cable, etc.). All treatments and no play made me a very dull girl. And to be honest, the only people I found I could talk to about my treatments were my grandmother, a friend with a chronic condition who could relate, and other infertiles. These were people who understood the toll that constant doctor visits, shots, pills and potions can take.

All of these things made conversation difficult, even with friends and acquaintances. Perhaps had we found success quicker, worked harder at maintaining those relationships, or not had the miscarriages, some of these friendships would have held up better. I don’t know. All I know is that I attended a party the other night and, for the first time in a very long time, I felt like me again. Maybe it’s because I’ve found my success and the trauma of my difficult pregnancy has started to fade now that I’m blessed with two wonderful girls each and every day. Maybe it’s the adoption that is completing the healing.  Maybe it’s just time working its magic. I’m not sure, but I’m glad.

It’s really nice to be me again.

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