The Infertility MinefieldErin Loechner
Alternatively titled: I feel guilty for being pregnant.
She doesn’t make me feel that way, of course. In fact, she has been one of the most supportive influences in my life since becoming pregnant. She sends me sweet text messages saying “You’re 32 weeks today, Erin!” and leaves voicemails to tell me that wooden play gym I’ve been eyeing is finally on sale.
She’s one of my dearest friends. And she’s infertile. And I? I am very, very not.
Before we knew that it would be physically impossible for her to carry a child to term, I called her to share our exciting news: “I’m totally freaked out…happened way too fast…took one try…so unprepared.”
I cringe when I think of that phone conversation; when I think of what she must have been dealing with as she tried to feign excitement. It pains me to think that while I was spewing an emotionally-charged (and unknowingly insensitive) monologue, she was having her own internal conversation. That she would give anything to be sharing her exciting news; that it must be so nice to get pregnant on the first try and not deal with years of negative signs, blank tests, “not pregnant” readings.
And now? Fast forward seven months and we’re both facing the inevitable: I will soon birth a baby girl and she will be researching expensive adoption alternatives and surrogacy options.
And with every baby shower, bump photo and contraction I experience, I think of her. Of how I wish so badly that she could have this too. Of what a wonderful mother she will make, whether her future baby shares her root beer brown eyes and olive skin or not. Of how someday none of this will matter. We’ll be chattering on about college funds and sporting events and we’ll forget this awkwardness ever existed.
I think of how I want to tell her all of this, but I can’t. Not now. Not while I’m glowing and waddling and unintentionally shoving my placenta in her face.
Surrogacy and adoption are wonderful gifts, and I’m a firm believer that parenting doesn’t begin in the womb. Parenting begins when you meet the child you will devote your time, self and energy to. Whoever that child may be. Wherever that child may come from.
Whoever’s root beer brown eyes that child gazes at you with.
Because at the end of the day, my dearest friend will get to wipe the tears from those eyes – whatever color they may be. And I can’t wait to witness that miracle.
I suppose it’s time to tell her all of this. I suppose I just did.