Off Duty Mom

Thoughts from an exhausted mom who is NEVER really "off duty"

It won’t always be this way

In high school, they make you take health classes where they explain to you that you should just hold hands with your studly quarterback boyfriend because if y’all get naked and even think about doing the hibity-jibity, you will most certainly get pregnant and have babies and you’ll never get voted to be Prom Queen in a maternity gown from “Hoebags-R-Us.”

All of the scientific evidence, they say, leads us logically to conclude that even dry-humping might let an accidental sperm swim his little flagella-wiggling ass off on its desperate course to your eager-to-breed uterus.

Then, you become a responsible adult who actually wants to start a family and you quickly learn that it ain’t as easy to make a baby as it was always supposed to be.

Of course, there is no lack of irresponsible young people all over the damn place procreating and creating unplanned pregnancies in droves. That makes things worse as you might then wonder why the FUCK God, Zeus, Shiva, Jupiter or whoever is in charge of the universe would choose to entrust a 17-year old heroin addict with a tiny, precious human life and would opt to keep a loving, reliable, financially stable and healthy couple from starting a family.

Infertility blows chunks. And, according to the CDC, 6.7 MILLION women aged 15-44 suffer from impaired fertility in the US. That’s just a little more than 10% of the female population of this country. That’s a whole lot of blown chunks.

Incidentally, men contribute to infertility issues as well, with about 30% of reported cases of infertility being caused by male deficiencies, says Canadian group, CGICM. Overall, too, causes of fertility are completely unknown or unexplainable in about a quarter of all cases. That means one in four couples will not ever know why it is that, after repeated trying, measuring Basal body temps, predicting ovulation and doin’ it every other day like it’s a job, they STILL cannot get pregnant.

And those responsible, adult, stable couples who try so long to get pregnant doing all of the right things and by reducing their love lives to a regulated, charted chore of boot-knockin’ will ultimately have at least one friend who advocates heartily for good, Catholic family planning methodology that entails regular prayer and then shagging during the appropriate times of the month. To make matters worse, those motherfuckers will be on kid #4 while you sit in a waiting room hoping to get a prescription of Clomid and a super-fun test involving uterine scraping.

Infertility (which sounds to me like its definition must mean that someone is absolutely incapable of producing offspring,) is, by definition, what you are if you have “tried” for a year and weren’t magically graced with a little pea in your pod. If, in that time, you have been using no prophylaxes and haven’t miraculously put a bun in the oven, you are supposed to discuss your sexual history and habits, and your husband’s choice of underwear with your doctor. You may be infertile if you’re doing everything right and can’t make a baby. Really? Thanks, WebMD. Go fuck yourself.

Infertility occurs, then, when you are having an obstacle to getting pregnant. It doesn’t mean you’re barren. But you might be! Again, WebMD: you’re a bitch.

Then, even if you are able to get pregnant after you’ve been poked and prodded and made into a science experiment, that’s no guarantee of anything. Just giving it to you straight, ya know. I miscarried after three years of trying to get pregnant. It was the single most devastating thing that has ever happened to me. It is, quite literally, the absolute worst thing just about — ever. And, the nurse calling me to tell me, “Honey, this is great news. We know you CAN get pregnant now,” didn’t really help at the time, though her sentiment was heartfelt, true and was genuinely meant to help me keep my eye on the prize.

A few months later, I was able to become pregnant and carry that beautiful boy to term. He’s at the bar right now with my husband watching football. ‘Cuz we’re classy. And, he’s four now, so it’s totally cool for him to watch Disney Junior on the mini-TV in the booth at the local pub while dad watches the big screen in the corner. We also have a 1-year old who is asleep right now. I am listening to the sound of his breathing through the monitor and I am reminded of how lucky I am and how beautiful life can be. Seven years ago, I thought life kinda sucked and that the universe hated me. Things do happen as they’re meant to, I suppose. But, that is absolutely no consolation for anyone who is currently in the “life sucks” phase of the journey.

I try to remember now that if I hadn’t miscarried in 2007, I wouldn’t have the kids I have now. My life course would have been very different. And, that seems more tragic than the original tragedy seemed at the time.

When I had my first child, then, I attended meetings for new moms and we talked about how to cope with the struggles of motherhood (and there are many). I didn’t know if I had the right, at the time, to complain that things were hard as a new mother, but they indeed were – as any of you with children must know. But, a woman once said that she had adopted a mantra: “It won’t always be this way,” and I have found myself thinking of how amazing that is almost every day.

If you’re currently going through a fertility struggle, remember, “It won’t always be this way.”

If you are struggling with illness, depression, family problems, financial difficulties or other obstacles, keep in mind that “It won’t always be this way.”

If you’re a new parent and you’re sleep-deprived and sad and overwhelmed, just know that “It won’t always be this way.”

If you’re a new parent and it seems impossible to be a breadwinner AND the appropriate support at home, remember that “It won’t always be this way.”

If you’re the parent of a child who is having problems, know in your heart, “It won’t always be this way.”

And, if your life is amazing and you have no complaints and that fucking rhythm method worked for you and you are getting everything you want and you’re wealthy and everything is just perfect, please know, “It won’t always be this way.”

And in those moments when you are holding your little, tiny baby, swaddled in your arms, smelling of lavender after a bath, and you’re crying both from the joy of the moment and from the fact that you’ve slept a total of 4 hours in the past 3 days, just think about how “It won’t always be this way.”

**If you’ve got a story you’d like to tell, ODM is currently seeking guest posts for a series on fertility to be published later this year. Please check out the “guest posting” page to learn how you can tell us your story.

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18 thoughts on “It won’t always be this way

  1. I feel ya on this one. It was *so* easy to get pregnant with my daughter (just a few months) in 2008, but then I was hit by not one but two miscarriages. This struck a chord:

    “I try to remember now that if I hadn’t miscarried in 2007, I wouldn’t have the kids I have now. My life course would have been very different. And, that seems more tragic than the original tragedy seemed at the time.”

    If I hadn’t miscarried those two times, I wouldn’t have my adorably sweet little boy who graced me with his presence summer 2011. Which is a horribly depressing thought. Anyway, it was bad enough tackling a 2.5 yr old with a newborn. Imagine a smaller toddler with a newborn! I count my blessings.

    Really enjoyed this post!

    • Thanks. Always important to thank God for unanswered prayers, I guess…

      So many of us have had these experiences. I wish I had known more about that fact at the time. I don’t know about you, but at the time, I felt like my husband and I were so alone in this.

  2. I hear ya! I felt so bad for all the infertile couples who had to watch Snooki be pregnant. It took us a while, too, and I also needed Clomid to conceive. Good reminder! (we had an eerily odd number of things in common!) 🙂

    • Oh, jeez. Snooki. EXACTLY. WTF? I know that the universe works in mysterious ways, but come on now…

      And, on your last thoughts here…I suppose the internet makes the world a little smaller, right?! Lost kindred spirits can find their ways to one another with the help of WordPress!!

  3. Well written, and a good reminder to all of us no matter our circumstances, change is inevitable.

  4. Loved this. I too dealt with infertility and a lot of this hit home. Especially the part about how if you hadn’t miscarried, your children wouldn’t be here.
    I’d love to contribute to the infertility series, if you’ll have me.

  5. I had an easy time getting pregnant with my first child. Sadly, I had a miscarriage in between my two boys and one after. One strange thing I have found is this: no one talks much about miscarriages. At a party this summer, a friend disclosed to me that she had two also. I have known her for over 10 years and this was the first time we had ever spoken about it. Thank you for posting this. It is time to talk about infertility and the pain that comes along with it that is usually kept inside.

    • Thanks so much for sharing. Would you mind if I mentioned your story during my series on infertility later this year? I’d even love to have you contribute a piece in your own words. I, too, think it is important to share so those of us going through a difficulty don’t feel so alone.

      • I wouldn’t mind at all! I would be honored to share it.

      • That is such wonderful news.

        As the holiday season can be tough for those going through fertility and family struggles, I thought I’d like to publish the series in December. I want people to know they are not alone even though that time of year may intensify their feelings of aloneness.

        Let me know when you are ready to go. I am so happy to include you in this!

  6. I LOVE that you girls share our vision to make fertility/infertility/loss a more talked about topic. It makes it so much more difficult to struggle in silence and later find out there were women all around you, going through the same thing, but everyone was too scared or ashamed to speak up. …and don’t get me started on that orange, pouf-sporting oompa loompa and her pregnancy! 🙂 great post and comments! I look forward to reading more 🙂

  7. You know what the few people who do talk about miscarriage DON’T talk about? That crippling time afterward, when you can’t leave the house because the mere sight of small children is enough to send you into either fits of sobbing or a murderous rage. Sometimes both. Or how, right after that miscarriage, you see pregnant women walking around and they’re all so very SMUG. With the hand resting gently on the belly, and the little secret smile on their faces. I had two miscarriages before I had my son, and the anger I felt in addition to the grief was unbelievable — anger that what came so easily to other people was being taken away from me, that I would never have a purely joyous pregnancy, untainted by fear. Because it’s true what one friend of mine said: “After you’ve had a miscarriage, when you get pregnant again, you’ll check the toilet paper for blood every single time you go to the bathroom.” I’m sorry if that’s graphic, but it was so, so true.

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