My husband and I looked at each other. We didn't have to say a word. We knew what the other was thinking. And I'm pretty sure I don't have to tell you because you know exactly what it feels like to be her. It hurt my heart that this woman had to endure a train full of people oggling a baby making statements like this is what life is all about all the while she stood there smiling politely. When I can I do tell people the struggles I faced, but on this train ride, a full minute in length, throngs of people gripping metal bars surrounding me, how could I?
We had lunch with a co-worker of my husband's today. She loves kids and also could never have any. She held W and kissed him on the cheek. He giggled and cooed and adored her. She doesn't know I was in her shoes too. . . and at a meal of project cuts and site visits where the mention of infertility never even made a peep how could I tell her?
And who does telling help? Does it just help ease my survivor's guilt? Does it really matter? It doesn't change the facts. They did not get their heart's desire. I try not to pull myself into a tailspin at moments like these of why me not them? Because what good does it do? It never helped when it was the other way, why them, why not me? It surely can't help now either.
Moments like this remind me that I may have a child but infertility and loss have forever changed me. I kiss him more than I probably should. I find myself gazing into his eyes unable to look away. Sleepless nights. Tearful tantrums. All things that I thought I would surely lose my patience on, I handle with a grace that is not typical of how I normally operate when faced with challenging circumstances.
That's the good side of life after infertility. The other side is the way your stomach drops when you meet someone still in the trenches. When you remember what you left behind. For better and worse, whether I have just this one child or five more, infertility is like a bullet lodged deep within me, one that no matter how hard you try will remain exactly where it is. You are free from its dangerous grip- but its imprint will always remain.