“It Took Me Two Years to Get Pregnant”

And now I'm finally being honest about it.

Oh, hi Internet! It’s good to see you again. It’s been a few months since I’ve been around these parts, and it feels good — really good, actually — to be back.

For the three of you who noticed my absence, I have a really good excuse, I swear. His name is Noah, and he’s the cute little guy smiling at you at the top of this post. See, um, I had a baby. Back in May. Without telling you. Sorry about that. 

It’s not that I don’t love you all dearly. I do — I swear, I do. And in fact, a lot of people in my real life (you know, the tangible one that takes place away from the glow of a computer screen) wondered why I didn’t blog my way through my pregnancy pretty much from day one.

“But, Emily!” they exclaimed. (Yes, with actual exclamation points.) “You write a health blog! This is health! You should write about it!”

My standard response was that I didn’t want to do a “Diary of a Pregnant Lady”-type thing because there’s already so much of that on the Internet and what could I possibly say that’s new and fresh as a part of that conversation, and I didn’t want Be Well Philly to turn into some kind of twee mommy blog, and blah blah blah. But the truth is, I was scared. I was scared to talk about it, both here on the blog and, if I’m being totally honest, out loud in real life, too.

I was excited, don’t get me wrong. I was going to have a baby! But my path to pregnancy was a bit bumpy (and, turned out, the pregnancy itself had its own set of bumps, which I’ll talk about in another post, perhaps), and that pre-preggo bumpiness made me a tad gun-shy to talk about the pregnancy itself in any sort of detail.

But now that I’m on the other side of it, I realize that keeping it to myself, burying my feelings, and putting on a brave face was a mistake. A huge one, actually. Because what I’ve learned in talking to other moms is that bumpiness kind of comes with the territory — that the “perfect” pregnancy is much rarer than movies, books and, yes, even mom blogs let on.

So I’m ready to talk about it now. I’m ready to go way back to the beginning of all of this, before the diapers and sore hips and morning sickness and all that, and talk about the quiet, dark fact that it took me nearly two years to get pregnant. Two years of negative pregnancy tests. Of hopes raised only to be shattered. Of tears — lots of tears — cried quietly into my pillow at night. Of feeling so alone as I watched friend after friend get pregnant without “really” trying — trying in the all-encompassing, mentally exhausting sense that I was trying. Because I was trying so, so hard and had absolutely nothing but heartache to show for it.

I’m not writing this post to get your pity. I mean, clearly, it all worked out in the end. (See: photo above.) I’m writing this post as an open letter, of sorts, just to say, I get it. It sucks. It really, truly sucks. And if you’re struggling with infertility (yes, the scary I-N-F-E-R-T-I-L-I-T-Y word I refused to say aloud, ever), I’m sorry you’re going through it. The uncertainty, the fear, the sadness — I can honestly say I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

So to the woman who is having a hard time getting pregnant and has to bite back tears whenever another baby picture pops up in her Facebook feed; to the lady who’s sneaking out of work for an appointment at the fertility clinic, where she’ll take yet another test, all the while praying they don’t find anything wrong. (Or perhaps secretly wishing they will, thinking at least then there’s something they might be able to fix.); to the gal who’s clutching a pregnancy test in the checkout line and just can’t shake that lump-in-the-throat feeling that it’ll be negative — again. To all these women, I just want you to know you’re not alone. You’re so, so far from alone. Getting pregnant is hard — really, really hard. And the waiting game you’re playing right now isn’t any easier.

I know it’s cheesy and all, but I want you to picture me giving you a giant bear hug. A huge hug full of hope, as I wish and pray that you’ll be able to get what you want. See, I didn’t let anyone hug me. No one, except my husband, even knew I needed a hug to begin with, and honestly, that was just plain stupid. I know I’m saying all of this with the benefit of hindsight, but there’s absolutely nothing to gain from hiding what you’re going through. That hollow, empty, lonely feeling isn’t worth bottling up.

If I could go back in time, I would be honest with a few trusted people about what was happening. I would tell them, in clear, specific ways, what they could do to encourage me. I think being honest would have helped me feel less crazy inside.

At the very least, it would have helped me feel less alone. I would have learned that lots of other couples go through this, too. I would have learned that what works for one person doesn’t always work for another — that everybody’s story is different. I would have learned that obsessing over every little aspect of the process wouldn’t change the outcome. I could have relaxed, I think, even just a little.

And when you’re really in the thick of it — taking another pregnancy test, scheduling another appointment, scrolling your Facebook feed — that “just a little” is, well, kind of huge.

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