I remember when we were yearning for a child it used to bother us when we would hear people complaining about their life with children.
It seemed like the height of ungratefulness to hear pained discussions about whining, and crying and discipline and getting kids to eat food on their plate, and not beat their siblings (how lucky to have more than one when we have none!), and see the tired, pained expressions of exhausted and overwhelmed parents blessed with the ease of natural conception and child birth.
When we finally did get the beta test series that confirmed that this time we were going to actually end our six year run of bad fertility luck with a frozen embryo transfer and full 9 months gestation, we were ecstatic.
The moment we got home with our baby, we knew it would be puppy dogs and rainbows forever and ever amen.
Only, it wasn’t all puppy dogs and rainbows.
Our birth experience didn’t turn out the way we planned. All those natural childbirth visions were replaced by an emergency c-section, skyrocketing blood pressure, and brain swelling for Lisa along with a pituitary tumor scare.
Yes–those quiet moments realizing that this little dream spirit had finally because our real life daughter were magical.
But sometimes, the puppy dogs and rainbows were disbursed by the occasional reality check.
We had gotten used to people saying insensitive things during our infertility journey and had developed a pretty thick skin.
We quickly found out that those fun filled comments don’t end when you become a parent after infertility.
You see, we wanted it so bad, that we shouldn’t complain We hated the complainers when we were trying to have a child and maybe it was karma that people would mutter things like “Well, this is what you wanted, isn’t it?” when we had the nerve to complain during those 1 or 2 hour days where you don’t really know what time it is and are walking around like a zombie, hoping that you can actually form a sentence that sounds intelligent while you brewed another pot of coffee, and try to remember if you’ve fed the dog in the last three days.
I have found that formerly infertile couples carry around a lot more guilt and angst over every parenting decision they make, and at first tend to hold in all the stress they are experiencing.
I was even insensitive to Lisa after we had our baby–she had an awful hormone crash induced condition called PMDD (Lisa I’m sure will cover this little bonus that hits many post infertility birth mothers in Lisa’s corner in the future), and I was resistant to her going on medication to manage the hormone and mood swings. After all, she finally had what she wanted–shouldn’t she be as mentally present as possible without the cloud of any more drugs?
It took a Christmas light stomping, Eddie Murphy, tear filled rant by the love of my life for me to finally see that maybe all the hormone stuff that had been so difficult for Lisa to manage during our cycle might be difficult to manage after her body stopped feeding another life.
She had gone from six years of one fertility cycle after another manipulating her hormone and invading her reproductive biology with ultrasounds, blood draws, hormone shots, endometriosis surgeries, egg withdrawals, to 9 months of nurturing a human being to having herself cut open to finally bring our little miracle to this world.
I needed to step up and pull my head out (once again) very quickly.
Fortunately, one lesson I had learned from our infertility was to shut up and get out of the way. It didn’t take me six years to come to my senses with the PMDD, but Lisa did share with me that she put off getting the help she neededbecause she didn’t want me to think less of her.
I guess the point I’m making, is yes, there will be moments of puppy dog and rainbow bliss.
But parents after infertility shouldn’t feel guilty about the stressed out, sucky moments that will inevitably come, and in fact can experience them with the same uncontrolled emotional freak outs that we used to criticize when we were trying to cross over to the parent side.
If anything, we should have carte blanche to complain even more and rant as much as we want—-we friggin earned it!