Pregnancy After Infertility: I Didn't Know I Would Still Feel This Way
Getting pregnant doesn't erase the trauma of infertility.
My husband came home when I was about 10 weeks pregnant and told me that my sister-in-law was pregnant. I smiled because I didn’t want to be rude and said, “Oh yay. Good for them.”
That was it. I felt horrible for not being more excited.
This is their first, and yes, it was a natural pregnancy. I went into the bathroom and cried. I had so many emotions running through my body. My brain was so happy for them, but my heart hurt.
I felt guilty for feeling like this, and I had no idea what was going on; I mean, I was (am) pregnant! I thought these feelings were supposed to go away once I became pregnant.
Nick looked at me when I came out, and he asked what was wrong. I was hesitant to tell him, but he knows me so well, and I’ve learned that for me, talking about things helps. So, I told him as I stared down at the floor.
He replied with exactly what I was thinking: “Oh wow, I thought you weren’t going to feel like this anymore now that we are pregnant.” I replied and said, “I know, I thought the same thing. But clearly, I’m still hurting.”
I thought these feelings were supposed to go away once I became pregnant.
Infertility Trauma is Longlasting
I went through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) for almost 3 years. I watched 13 of my closest friends get pregnant and have their second and third babies during these years. I went through 4 egg retrievals, 6 embryo losses due to failed transfers, and one pregnancy that ended in miscarriage at 3 months.
I've experienced a lot of trauma, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that miscarriage or those days filled with pain from another failed attempt.
So I know I’m still scarred.
I’ve been severely depressed because of infertility, and I had a tough time coming out of those dark days. Every time I got a phone call or a text message from a friend telling me they were expecting, I broke down. And it’s not their fault by any means, most even tried to tell me gently, but sometimes there isn’t a good way to be told someone is expecting a baby when you're going through infertility.
It was hard. In fact, those were some of the worse days because not only did I feel so sad for myself, but I was happy for them too! I was so confused with my emotions, and the guilt of feeling sad when someone tells you their good news upset me.
Why Does it Still Hurt?
So now what? Now I’m pregnant, and yet I still feel sad when I hear pregnancy announcements from people conceiving “naturally.”
What’s wrong with me?
No one ever told me I would feel this way. I wasn’t expecting these feelings and therefore had no idea how to manage them. But then it hit me—I’ve been through trauma. I’ve seen things no one else should ever have to see.
When you’re going through infertility, sometimes there isn’t a good way to be told someone is expecting a baby.
Loss and More Loss
I’ve experienced loss after loss after loss. I’ve had to explain miscarriage to my twins, who were 7 at the time. I've had to see their faces change and see their tears roll down their cheeks. I’ve had to cry in my closet; I've had to cry in my car. I had to continue to inject myself; I had to have multiple surgeries and tests done. I had to take an absurd number of hormones, and I’ve spent an insane amount of money doing it all.
I've had to pick myself back up and keep trying because that’s just what I had to do to get to where I am today.
Guilt For Pursuing Treatment
On top of the loss, I’ve also felt guilt. I felt guilty for the time spent thinking about trying to conceive (TTC) and IVF. I felt guilty taking time away from my twin girls and for wanting another baby. I’ve had fights with my husband over infertility, I’ve changed our travel plans—our life plans!
And while all of this sounds horrible, I’m still so happy I did it all.
Of course, I spoke (and continue to speak) with my therapist about all this. She always reminds me that I am human. How could I be totally happy for someone who had an easy time conceiving when this is the thing I have been working so hard at for years? She said that it is completely normal and fair to feel this way.
And honestly, I agree with her.
I started to let myself feel this way and just be OK with it. Sure, I still feel a little bad being sad when I hear a baby announcement or feel like I am surrounded by pregnant women. But I am in the middle of a hard journey, and it made sense to feel this way.
I now understand why I feel this envy, this pain in my heart when I hear pregnancy announcements: I went through a lot.
I’m still scared every single day of miscarrying. I’m scared that I might have to go through IVF again. I’m anxious about something going wrong and having to re-live all the pain. I’m anxious about the possibility of putting my family, my body, and my mind through all of that again.
I'm trying to live my life one day at a time, but still not fully enjoying this pregnancy.
I now understand now why I feel this envy, this pain in my heart when I hear pregnancy announcements: I went through a lot.
So yeah, I still feel the same feelings about other people's pregnancies that I did when I wasn’t pregnant yet. Nothing has really changed for me.
I’m still infertile, and if we ever want to try again, I would have to go through IVF. I can’t just "try and see what happens." I can’t enjoy trying to get pregnant because, for me, that was and never will be in the cards.
And the unfairness of it all is painful. The unfairness of infertility—why some experience loss and pain and others do not—is hard to accept right along with those pregnancy announcements.