We all heard about it months ago: Kate and William are expecting! We were notified when she went into labor and waited with bated breath to find out if the royal family would welcome a new princess or prince – I believe that is his official title. I’m not gonna lie; I’m jealous. She has a great body, beautiful clothes, never a bad hair day and for all that she only has to put up with the constant scrutiny of the public eye. On second thought, no thank you, I’ll take my life instead – frizzy hair and all.
Then it hits me, the royal couple were married after us. We have been trying to conceive for about a year and a half and have had a year filled with IUIs, two rounds of IVF, a chemical pregnancy, and finally OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome). So the question that begs an answer is how do I react to the royal couple’s news, and more importantly that of my family and friends who are pregnant or parents?
Truth is, it depends. My biggest fear when I first began to share our struggle with infertility was that people would respond by treating me differently; that they would hide their pregnancies from me. I didn’t want to be overcome with jealousy upon seeing a friend’s belly begin to show. How would I feel when my sister called to tell me that she was expecting again, or far worse, when she avoided telling me? I worried that infertility would slip into all aspects of my life including my relationship with others.
Eventually, the day arrived and my sister told me she was expecting her second child. In that moment, I was overcome with joy at the thought of my adorable nephew as a big brother. Then I realized that she is due right around the time when I would have given birth if the chemical pregnancy had turned out otherwise. I actually felt relieved because it would have been difficult for my mother to be in two countries at once!
That’s when I stopped myself and thought, “Toby, how do you feel about this?!” I allowed myself to feel both happy for my sister and disappointed at my own situation. Mixed emotions are one of my favorite things in life.
There are those evenings when Tommy and I come home from a night out with friends who have children and wonder when it will finally be our turn. Those are the moments when I am most grateful to be going through this with him as my partner. We both know that there are multiple paths to parenthood and we will get there one way or another.
Every person who deals with this does so differently; there is no one way to approach all the emotions that accompany infertility, but in my experience it is helpful to speak with other women and couples who have been through or are currently involved in treatments. Their support and empathy helps me to overcome what can be an otherwise lonely and isolating experience and offers me an outlet to deal with various emotions.
A few days after my sister told me she was pregnant I received another phone call, this time from my 93-year-old grandmother. More than 50 years ago she, too, struggled to get pregnant.
“Tobaleh, I’m calling to see how you are doing, are you OK? I want you to know that I love you!”
“Bubbie,” I said, “I love you too, and yes I think I will be just fine.”