Today’s #MoreThan1in8 words are from author Jen Noonan. Jen is the author of In Due Time, a book I cannot wait to read myself (along with the other twenty or so books in my ridiculous nightstand pile). Jen’s voice in the infertility and loss community is one I am so thankful for!
Getting Back to Ourselves
National Infertility Awareness Week is a bittersweet time for me personally. It is an optimistic time when hundreds of thousands of us unite to share our stories, support one another, and advocate on behalf of our brothers and sisters. It warms my heart watching and participating in breaking the silence of a physically and emotionally debilitating disease that still has stigma attached to it.
However, it is also the week that I said goodbye to my incredibly sought after baby. Almost four years ago I walked into a hospital ultrasound room, expecting to hear my thirteen week old baby’s heartbeat.
Expecting to be told that he or she was healthy.
Expecting to see a yawn, a smile, or a hand or leg movement.
When I asked “Is he asleep?” I never expected to be told “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.”
Nothing prepares a mother to hear those words.
It shattered my world.
I shook. I cried. I screamed in anger.
I worried. I became depressed. I couldn’t eat.
Throughout this life changing event, I had the support of a fellow 1 in 8. Actually, several of the 1 in 8. They offered me comfort, telling me it had happened to them.
That I was not alone.
That they would walk me through the procedure I was about to have. That it would get better. That my heart would not heal entirely, but I would feel better.
And things have gotten better.
The pain has not disappeared entirely, but it has lessened.
Still, every single year that passes, I remember how old my unborn child would have been. I remember when I lost him or her, and I remember his or her due date.
I hear songs with lyrics that remind me of a life that was never to be. And I cry. Sometimes the tears take a while to stop.
But the pain has lessened.
When I think of the phrase “More than 1 in 8,” I know that we are not just our diagnosis. Or we are not just our lost babies. Or we are not just whatever has happened to us.
There is so much more to each and every one of us, and we sometimes forget this. The pain of infertility and loss is so all encompassing that we often lose ourselves in it. We forget that we’re more than that. We forget that we used to take pleasure in everyday activities. And by getting back to ourselves, our hearts begin to crack open, bit by bit.
I am more than 1 in 8. I am an adventurous soon to be 40 something, who has traveled the globe. I am a dedicated friend who consistently lends an ear to those who need support. I am a passionate advocate of all things infertility related. I am a scrapbooker who enjoys taking photos and putting memories to paper. I am a runner and practitioner of yoga and meditation.
I am so much more.
We are ALL more than 1 in 8.