I’ve always wanted to be a mom. But for a while I thought I might not be able to be one. This is a story about that. (…and it’s also a shameless plug for my friend, who is awesome.)
Once upon a time, in another life, a doctor with very large eyebrows told me that I had cysts all over my ovaries and I might not ever be able to have children. It was one of the worst moments of my life, and it was the beginning of a whole chapter of other terrible moments, many of which I have no interest in reliving.
To be honest, it’s hard to describe infertility to people who haven’t been through it. It seems so easy from the outside to just believe it’ll happen someday, to think there’s no real reason to worry about it because lovely people always get lovely babies. (Not that I’m all that lovely, but I would have settled for average babies, too.)
And it’s a particularly funny thing to talk about infertility after the fact. It’s like telling a ghost story and starting it with “Just so you know, everyone lives and the ghost was just a dog or something.” All the suspense is gone. All the angst seems silly.
But when you’re in it, it feels never-ending. It feels deeply terrifying, and profoundly lonely. My first blog, one so personal that I only shared it with strangers, was about that time. Every entry chronicled my struggle to conceive, to keep my spirits up, and to not glare at pregnant women I passed on the street. All the negative tests. All the failed treatment plans. All the tight smiles when people asked when we’d have kids.
Ultimately, here’s what it took for me: One year of trying, several months of strict dieting, a couple rounds of fertility drugs, two hours of waiting in line on Christmas day to get a refill of the fertility drugs I’d carelessly left at home, and a lot of luck. In sum: it took a little extra.
For my friend Kaeleigh, who started our friendship as one of those very strangers reading my blog, it took a lot more: Three years. Drugs. IUI. IVF. A lot extra.
Now I’ve got two perfect children, and she’s got one with another on the way. We got our happy ending/beginning.
But here’s the thing.
Kaeleigh is, like, a way better person than I am.
When I had my first child, I stopped writing in that blog, because I no longer needed it to feel ok. It was just an outlet for my thoughts and feelings about my own journey, and I considered that journey completed.
Kaeleigh, on the other hand, continued to build her blog, because it was never just about her. It’s about everyone who struggles. It’s about community and support and awareness and love. (It’s http://unpregnantchicken.com by the way, if you want to check it out.)
And a lot of people really responded to her voice. Her platform basically exploded. She has been asked to speak, published articles, even been on TV. She’s amazing.
And now, most recently, she published a children’s book, and that book is really special.
It tells the sweet story of a little boy who, like our own kids, took a little “extra” to create. He’s trying to figure out what that means, and wondering if being “extra” means he has extra powers, like a superhero. His mother laughingly explains to him that it just means they had to take a few extra steps to be able to have him. But the part that always gets me, that makes me feel validated and seen even if just by a fictional, 2-dimensional child, is when the little boy acknowledges his mom’s extra patience and effort in getting him by saying she’s “extra”, too.
Here’s my point.
You should buy this book.
Buy it here.
Buy it now.
Whether you have a kid that took “extra”, be it fertility drugs or adoption or something else, or you want to explain to your kid how different families come to be, or you just enjoy a sweet story, it’s a really great book written by a really great person who has really great hair. (The hair part is irrelevant, but still true.)
And that is all I have to say to you today.