Sometimes you feel like you are the only one.
The only one who has this longing. This heartache. This void. This struggle. This inability. This sometimes anger.
You walk through the aisles of the grocery store, look around in church, or simply sit down in a restaurant for dinner and it seems obvious, right? Everyone else has a cart full, a pew filled, and a booth overflowing with tiny little humans they call their own. And you can’t help but take notice of them and then immediately feel as though you are the only one.
The only one with empty arms…
And a bedroom that should be a nursery…
The only one who can’t join in on the conversations of motherhood…
Or have the argument with your husband on who changes the diaper or picks up the toys.
You are the only one who can’t just look at her husband and “BAM” she gets pregnant…
Or who has bags underneath her eyes from late night tear soaked pillows instead of 3am newborn feedings.
But one day, my heart was opened to see something more. Something different. Because I realized I wasn’t the only one.
I was sitting on the beach for a much-needed vacation, surrounded by picture perfect family’s. I couldn’t help but feel as though everyone else around me could have babies so easily except me. But as I sat there pondering the unfairness of it all, while allowing myself to grieve and feel the bitterness, I realized the truth was this: 1 in 8 suffer from infertility.
And so the momma next to me who was chasing her two-year old? She could have been conceived after her fourth and last desperate attempt via IVF. And the family of five building sand castles and laughing until their bellies hurt could have built their family through adoption. Or the couple to my right could have been given their miracle through the gift of surrogacy. I just didn’t know. My perception might not always be their reality. Just ask the lady who was sitting next to me whom I discovered was also barren, yet hopeful. She didn’t know the cutie patootie that kept running up to me yelling, “Mommy! Did you see that?” was my foster princess who may or may not be with me next year. And so the perception she had of me? I was still desperately wishing and hoping would one day also become my reality.
The one lesson I continue to learn while on this journey is that we don’t know another person’s story or the struggles they are currently facing. I don’t know the barriers they had to bust through or the mountains they had to climb. And so I can’t be so quick to compare and judge, or so swift to believe the lie that I am the only one hurting. Left out. Because the fact is I am 1 in 8. The lady sitting beside is 1 in 8. And many of the families surrounding me? They could also be 1 in 8.
Together we are 1 in 8. And together we will overcome.
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