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Infertility: The Loneliest Club I’ve Ever Belonged To

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

the other side of giref is a series about the life-changing power of loss. These powerful first-person stories explore the many reasons and ways we experience grief and navigate a new normal.

The love-and-mostly-hate relationship I have with my reproductive system dates back to a specific Sunday afternoon when I was in eighth grade.

I still contend that getting my period was my worst day. I didn’t want to celebrate. Rather, I hid in my bedroom the entire day hoping it would just go away.

My sentiments flipped during my college years. Getting my period was like getting exactly what you’d wanted for Christmas.

Yes! Phew! Finally, I thought you’d never get here! That little toilet-seat happy dance meant that whatever fun I’d had that month could keep being fun a little longer.

And a few years later, when I was married, I’d wish away my period like I was concentrating on moving an object with my mind. When the dull ache of cramps would settle into my pelvis, I’d know that we, yet again, weren’t pregnant.

I played this game with myself for 31 months in a row before I finally went to the doctor.

Any woman who’s ever been primed to get pregnant and start a family knows that you watch your cycle closer than the shipping notification on a case of wine.

For nearly three years, I’d track my ovulation, coordinate specific sex days, and then hold my breath hoping my period wouldn’t show up.

Month after month, just one little red dot meant there was no point in trying for two pink lines.

As the months added up and turned into years of trying, I felt more and more defeated. I grew resentful of those around me who were effortlessly getting pregnant. I questioned everything I’d ever done that might’ve impacted my fertility or brought bad karma my way.

I even developed an overwhelming sense of entitlement. My husband and I were married with college degrees and a mortgage — good people who gave back to our community. Why didn’t we deserve a baby when some of our teenage family members were getting one?

Some days were filled with deep, achy sadness, and other days full of intractable rage.

The time between the excellent baby-making sex and the tell-tale sign that it didn’t work felt exciting. I always trusted that this session did it, this was the one.

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I would prematurely count out 40 weeks to see when our baby would arrive. This time meant a Christmas baby, or that time might coincide with giving a grandparent a new baby for their birthday, or what a delight a Spring baby would be.

But I’d eventually find myself staring at one more failed attempt, erasing penciled-in notes on the calendar, and waiting all over again.

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