My husband and I have been walking through a fairly intense fertility journey for more than two years. We suffered an early miscarriage last January and sought fertility help shortly after. For those of you unfamiliar with our story, we were battling male factor infertility. Which, I might add, was an extreme pain the butt! I shared glimpses into our journey here and here. It just started to sink in that I am pregnant after so many tears, efforts, and obstacles. Never in a million years did I think when I found the love of my life, did things "right" this time (right is subjective), and am in the best spiritual, emotional, and financial (because kids are expensive as heck) space that we would have to endure hell and high water to have a child together. Needless to say, struggling with fertility humbled me beyond explanation. It made me appreciate my almost ten-year-old daughter even more than I did before and it's making me ten times more grateful for the friendship I have with my husband. This was not easy for us. Sometimes there were moments that I thought infertility would ruin us.
I am known for being an open book about my story and struggles. When we found out that our journey to a baby would be tricky, I knew that I wanted to share, eventually. Mainly because very few people, specifically people of color, talk about struggles like this. And when the fertility/health issues lie with the male partner, it's even less likely that it'll be talked about. I didn't want that to be our story. I did not want infertility to silence us. It was important to me that we shared our experience but also set boundaries that honored my husbands comfort level. When we did decide to open up, the response we received was incredible. So many people, men, and women alike spoke up and said: "us, too." It was mindblowing to see that we were not in this alone and that there was nothing to be ashamed about, at all.
The minute we found out we were pregnant, my whole mindset surrounding being an open book closed. I got super protective and didn't want anyone but our immediate circle to know. For the first few days, we only told my dearest sister-friend, Ryan's sister, and my parents. Initially, I thought that I would scream it from the rooftop. That I would report to our online TTC (trying to conceive) community that we were one step closer to our babe. And that after hundreds of negative pregnancy tests, we finally saw two pink lines. But that didn't happen. I shut down and went into mama bear mode. I'm not sure what switched, perhaps it was the fact that this pregnancy is so sacred and special to us. We worked so hard for it. Lots of doctors appointments, lots of tests, and an unreal amount of semen analysis' (my husband is the real MVP). Or maybe it was because I was scared that it wasn't really true. So many thoughts rushed through my head, but I honored every single one that said, "take care of you."
When the time is right, I will open up more about our steps to conceive. There were plenty, but right now we are savoring every little bit of every little thing. I'm still in awe. I know that so many people are wondering and waiting on pregnancy details, ultrasound photos, due date information, my choice on a home water birth or hospital delivery...but I decided that this pregnancy will be (as it should) treated with the utmost care and I've put unbreakable boundaries in place. However, I know our tribe of people online, our virtual prayer warriors, our internet support system will understand without question. I haven't been this pregnant in almost ten years. Times have changed! The internet has taken over, and I am a bit nervous about that. I wasn't ever apprehensive until now, I also never felt the need to be this reserved until now, either. But please know we are happy and healthy and will be offering glimpses, just not the whole thing.
Why boundaries? Well, there are a few reasons. One I mentioned: sacredness. The second is compassion and gentleness for the feelings of others still going through their journey to baby. I remember feeling so overwhelmed, jealous, hurt, anxious, sad, etc. about all the baby things, beautiful pregnant bellies, birth announcements and everything else in between that was shared online. There was no escaping it, and those feelings, no matter how put together you are, can seep in and wreck havoc on the emotional space you're already trying to hold together. I get it, 200%. Dealing with anything triggering, especially something as complex as pregnancy loss and infertility in this hyper-digital age can be overwhelming and horrifying. So while some will say, don't dim your light or hide your joy, I look at it so differently. I'm still walking right alongside the women, men, and couples who haven't gotten their baby or rainbow baby yet. Pregnancy means so much more to me now than it ever has, and so does community.