This week we hit our first milestone: the end of the first trimester, 12 weeks.
Some days it’s starting to finally feel real. I don’t pause in confusion when someone asks me how I’m doing or how far along I am. I talk about the baby in casual conversation. We’re still trying out baby names.
Other days it’s still not real. I mostly feel fat not pregnant. We still haven’t bought a single baby item. Between us, we sometimes talk in hypotheticals still. We’re afraid we still might jinx it.
This is another part of infertility that others just don’t get. Just last night a new acquaintance congratulated us, and when I said I was 12 weeks, her response was something along the lines of, “Oh! Then you have nothing to worry about.”
My immediate response, however, was, “You don’t understand….”
I do pretty well for the week after an ultrasound. I’ve seen the baby and feel pretty confident that things are okay for the moment. The next week, however, I start to worry and decide that the baby is gone. It’s perpetual seesawing between hope and fear.
Even the ever-present nausea isn’t comforting. Sure it’s an indication that very likely everything is still okay, but mostly living on the verge of vomit is tiresome.
And here is where the chorus singing how “ungrateful” I am starts, especially from the infertility community. How many posts have I read from women struggling to conceive complaining about those who struggle with pregnancy or parenthood–those who complain they are tired or sick or uncomfortable or just need a break.
While I have always understood where these posts come from (it’s hard to listen to someone complain about problems that you’d literally do anything to have), they have always struck me as unfair. It’s not fair to call those who struggle with pregnancy or parenthood ungrateful. It romanticizes being pregnant and a parent too much. It ignores the reality of both: that they’re hard.
It’s also too black and white. It’s entirely possible to be both overwhelmingly grateful (and know exactly how lucky you really are to finally have conceived) and to be simultaneously exhausted and sick and afraid and in need of just a moment’s peace from the never-ending wave upon wave of nausea.
Pregnancy is not the magic cure to infertility. It’s another stage we navigate the best we can. There’s no one right way to do it or feel about it. We do the best we can and must be patient and generous with ourselves and each other.