I love telling my story. It took me a while to get here, but nowadays every time I open up about my experience navigating infertility, I can feel my load lighten.
Upon starting Anotherhood, Laura and I quickly realized that we’d be called on to tell our stories time and time again, at varying lengths, and with alternating focus. I created a sort of shorthand, a bullet point version of events that hit the main themes, but didn’t necessarily belabor the details.
Recently, we were invited to do a lovely podcast and we were excited by the opportunity. Once the podcast aired, I went back and listened to our interview, and was hit by a wild realization… I wasn’t telling the truth.
All along, a key element of my story has been that all of my closest friends were getting married and pregnant as I was healing from heartbreak, and receiving my diagnosis. But that’s just simply not true.
It wasn’t ALL of them.
I realized that I was omitting one of the most important people in my world. A dear friend, with whom I’ve shared life’s ups and downs for 20+ years, and who most certainly was not getting married and pregnant at that time. Her open heart and ears were on the receiving end of many post-babyshower meltdown phone calls. Like me, she was in the process designing her life, which at the time did not include a long term partner or a child. We spent hours riffing about our careers, and processing ideas of love and friendship with each other. Usually on her couch with a plate full of takeout and the finale of some long binged show. She was an anchor for me then and continues to be now, but somehow I’ve completely left her out of the narrative. I wouldn’t have made it through depth of my grief without her.
It got me thinking, do I only prioritize the hard parts? Is there room in my story for the good times?
I know that the experience of infertility sucks. It’s hard on the body, mind and spirit, and takes a real toll on the personal life. There is so much to process and push through, but there are also the little freedoms and moments of connection that are unique to this experience.
I know that the grief is inherent, and seemingly unknowable to those who haven’t been through it. But I wonder if I’ve been mining for pain points to make my story seem more relatable. The truth is that this journey has been hard, but it hasn’t been all hard. It’s been filled with friendship, and grace, and freedom, and opportunity.
I’m just beginning to figure out what the story becomes when I factor in the positive stuff. So far, it feels better to tell. And even more than that, it feels better to hear.