Today I went to a Mama Blessing event in the city. It was a disaster. Oh, not on their front, the organizers and mamas there were fabulous. It was all an internal emotional snafu for me. And it took me completely by surprise.
It did make me realize a few things- even though we’re pregnant, even though I consider myself a Mama, I am still an infertile person. And this sets me apart from other mothers.
I’ve been feeling snippets of this for a while. Reading posts in a local pregnant ladies Facebook group, chatting with other pregnant women at events or stores. But today was just too much, after an hour I left the event barely holding back, bursting into tears the moment I hopped into the car.
Today I was tired, feeling extra vulnerable and I guess I’m still processing the reality that we’ll be having a c-section. That I will never experience labour, that Andrew and I won’t ever have the “my water broke!” drive to the hospital. That my one birth will be super medicalized.
It’s the “won’t ever in my life” that gets me. Because, folks, this pregnancy is IT. Getting pregnant is HARD for us, costs money and is emotionally and physically painful. Because even though we’re pregnant, we’re still infertile.
In the end I know that I will grieve this loss, like I’ve grieved the loss of all the little conception bits that weren’t a part of our story (like when people smile remembering how they peed on the stick and found out they were pregnant). In the end we are having a baby, not a birth.
But DAMN if every single step of the way hasn’t be heartbreakingly hard and filled with tiny (and large) moments of loss and grief. Like how on a weekly basis I am forced to explain to people why we won’t be having another baby and answering the galling “well you never know!” response with “I’m pretty sure we know we’re infertile”. It’s a constant infertility slap in the face.
In that room, I was confronted with all these mama’s who had multiple babies and had the real potential of conceiving again. Listening to women describe how every pregnancy was different, I just couldn’t help thinking- “this pregnancy will be the only one for me”. Unfortunately for me today, us IVF mamas don’t have a glowing sign above our heads…
And finally having to tell my story. Explain why we had no choice in having a c-section, how I was disappointed but “ok” with it (LIE), why I had to sit for most of the event, why we wouldn’t be trying for another baby- our little bean was it. How we were just so thankful to have her.
It’s true, we are. I’m sure that many mama’s that were there had their own struggles and losses that have been difficult. They just aren’t the same… so it sets me apart.
I’m not quite a part of their tribe.
So, in my tired and vulnerable state, I wasn’t quite equipped with how sad and the immense sense of grief that welled up after hearing all those fertile stories, or how alone I would feel after retelling our story and setting myself apart. Combine that with not knowing anyone and an intense sense of awkwardness, I texted Andrew and snuck out early.
I am sure that in time I will process and grieve this loss of the opportunity of labour, or a more “typical” birth, and be overwhelmed with just having our gorgeous little girl. I’m sure I’ll be able to let some of this story go and allow myself to feel a sense of connection with other mamas. I’m sure I’ll feel more like a mama and less like an infertile lady who managed to miraculously get pregnant this once.
Just not on this Mother’s Day.