In the three years that I have been struggling to conceive I have heard so many comments about relaxing and opinions on how to become a parent that, for the most part, they really have started rolling off my back. I know that these pieces of advice or consolation while sometimes misguided, are almost always meant with the best of intentions. I still do not enjoy hearing them, and I always try to politely explain this position when I can, but these things don't sit rattling away in my brain for hours after I've heard them as they once did.
But there are still some exceptions to the rolling off the back thing. Not that I am angry with anyone, just feeling kind of defeated by what someone said recently and in all fairness to her she is not the first, and will probably not be the last. A friend, in the midst of empathizing with my struggle and recent loss proclaimed that she just knew I would be a mother someday "whether it was my own biological child or not".
Of course, one of the first feelings I have is that even if I do adopt one day, that child will still be "my own". I hate how diminished the relationships of an adopted family seem to be in other people's eyes sometimes and it makes me hurt for all those who have to contend with these views everyday.
But the thing that hurts the most when people say this to me is the implication of failure on my part. I am in no way opposed to the possibility of adoption as a way to expand my family and have seriously considered it even before I knew of my infertility, but no one else really knows that. It is not something I am actively pursing right now, nor is it something I have ever discussed with this friend or many people at all for that matter. Her saying that, when it was completely unprompted and never previously discussed, felt like a small stab into my heart. When someone says that, it's as if they are saying they don't believe I will give birth to a child, that my IVF and FET attempts won't work, especially when it is my IVF attempts being discussed and there is no mention from me of adoption. Or that, the fact that I have had to use these methods at all is some sort of failure. Adoption is not off the table for me, but it is for now. I am focused on my treatments and my frozen embryos right now, my future maybe-babies. And it hurts that they are so easily disregarded.
The other thing about this conversation that hurts is that this friend is dealing with infertility issues of her own. Although, she is nowhere near the point of using ART treatments and may never be, nothing hurts more than a non-comforting statement coming from someone else that is struggling and you feel should better understand. The statement coupled with the fact that she still is able to TTC the old-fashioned way, makes me feel like she sees my path as a loss in itself. I am almost always so proud of my journey, and my future IVF miracle baby, but on days like this I feel like I am wearing a scarlet "I". "I" for infertile, for IVF, for inadequate.
But, as I said earlier she is not the first to say this exact thing, nor will she be the last, so I don't want to pick on her or make it seem that she specifically has upset me. Just as with the other well-meaning offers of advice or support that hurt more than they help, I know that this too is meant to be encouraging. I know that people are just trying to let me know they believe I will be a mother no matter what and that I will be a good one. I just wish they wouldn't bring up issues of biology or other things unless I do it first. I know it sounds silly but I often doubt whether I will EVER be a mom and when someone else tells me they believe that it will work, that my frozen embies will grow and live and become my babies, it gives me strength. I sometimes need to be allowed to feel fear or doubt but I don't want anyone else to join me in my uncertainty. I need the people in my life to be my cheerleaders, to believe wholeheartedly that it WILL work. It's what keeps me going on the days I can't see any hope.
I am trying not to let this get me down, but I have to admit feeling a bit bluer today than yesterday because of it. I was a mommy to a 'biological child', even if it was only for a few short weeks my baby was alive inside me and I feel like that has been made to be unimportant. I am hoping that by getting this out I can get to that same place I've gotten with "just relax" and be able to keep it from affecting me as deeply as it has today, and instead focus on the positive words and support I receive from so many every day.