infertility

I’m a Mom Now, But My Fertility Struggles Still Make Me Jealous

Smiling African American mother and daughter relaxing on a terrace and taking a selfie with cell phone.

It took my husband and me years of trying naturally, 3 IUIs, 2 cancelled IVFs, and 4 completed IVFs before we had our “take home” baby. Our daughter was born in June of 2015, and has been the love and light of our lives ever since.

I thought my infertility would go away after I had her; that it would be a distant memory that I rehashed every once in a while when someone asked me about our fertility journey. It turns out that it doesn’t go away like that. The pain lessened after she was born, but it’s still a raw spot that gets rubbed often, especially when I hear that someone I know is pregnant with their 2nd, or 3rd (or 5th) child. I’ll be scrolling through my Facebook page and see that an acquaintance has posted a sonogram picture, or hear an announcement in a staff meeting that a coworker is pregnant, and I feel a twinge.

In the days before my daughter was born, my reaction would have been much more than that—instead, I’d have been trying to stop tears from falling all day. These days, I don’t react as strongly because I am a mom, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still get sad.

I hate that I still get sad. It makes me feel petty, like a jealous jerk. Especially since I’m pretty sure that at this point, I don’t want to have a second child. Ten years ago, before fertility drugs, adoptions that fell through, a late term pregnancy loss, preeclampsia, and an emergency C-section, I definitely saw myself with two children. I had it all planned out–we’d have the boy first, and then three years later we’d have a girl.

But, as John Lennon once sang, “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans,” and life looks very different to me now than it did to my younger, naïve self. Now, I am happy raising my daughter, enjoying the small family that my husband and I have created, and I’m not sure that I can emotionally or physically go through another pregnancy and childbirth.

Yet, even realizing that I will probably only have my daughter, I still get emotional when I hear that someone else is adding to their family. I think a lot of it comes from having to give up expectations that I held onto for so long. It still hurts to know that most people can get pregnant much more easily than I could. I know it’s not true, but it often feels as though everyone in the entire world but me can get pregnant exactly when they want to, have as many children as they like, and have all their dreams come neatly, easily true.

So I am starting to accept that infertility will always be a part of who I am, that it has and will continue to affect the decisions my husband and I make about our family. I will probably always wonder what could have been if I had been able to get pregnant right away, when we first started trying over 10 years ago. I will always feel at least one little twinge when I hear someone else is having another baby, or I walk down the hall at the JCC and see someone with a pregnant belly and a toddler walking alongside of them. But having something, even something sad, be part of who you are means acceptance too. I will take a deep breath, hug my little girl a little tighter, and go back to living the life I have.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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