We haven’t told very many people about our infertility struggles. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and really, there’s not much anyone can say, so why bother putting people through that? But we have told some people along the way and recently I have told more. A fairly universal response seems to be, “Well, at least you have your son and he’s one of the greatest kids ever. I bet this makes you love him even more.”
I know people are trying to be supportive and there’s really nothing to say other than, “Wow, this sucks.” And that somehow seems inadequate. I get it. But, I sort of resent the idea that I could possibly love my son any more and that he somehow makes it easier to not be able to get pregnant. It took a lot of time and work to get him, too.
What I can say is that I am tremendously lucky to have overcome this once. And I DO have an incredible kid. And somehow, I do think that makes it a little easier for me than for people who haven’t had a child at all. So, yes, if we are comparing, I am more fortunate than some and I never forget that.
But I do really cringe at the thought that I could possibly love my son more, or appreciate him more, just because I can’t have another baby. As if he were somehow replaceable. Or as if I only mostly loved him and had a little bucket of love I was reserving for some unborn child that I was withholding from my son. But, now that it looks like I won’t be able to have another one, I can go ahead and empty that bucket and give him that love, too. Or maybe it’s about appreciating him. And people want to point out that he’s a great kid and he should and could be “enough” for me.
I DO already have a great kid, and I don’t want him to grow up alone and be alone having to deal with us when we are old, and be alone when we die – oh trust me, my quest for another child is for him as much as it is for me. He will make friends, he will likely fall in love with someone, and have whatever kind of family (or not), that he chooses. He’s social – my guess is that he will have a large chosen family surrounding him for most of his life. But even if you don’t get along, siblings are irreplaceable. You share a lifetime of experience and you take that with you into the world. You can roll your eyes together at your parent’s quirks. You can text ridiculous inside jokes from 20 years ago. You will have someone who gets it…someone who you love, even if you don’t like. Someone who will, in most instances, eventually forgive you even your worst behavior and still be there for you.
A note to folks out there in the impossible position of trying to find something comforting to say to folks like me: Do not try to have us take comfort in the fact that we already have a great kid. We KNOW we have great kids. And having them does not make it hurt less. It does not make losing a baby/pregnancy any easier. It does not make the rounds and rounds of hormones and injections and mood swings and encounters with “the wand” and the waiting and the roller coaster of good and bad news – any less stressful or emotional.
Just say, “Wow, that sucks. I’m really sorry you are going through this.” As inadequate as it may seem – it’s all there is.