Note: I had hoped HuffPost Parents would pick this up today, as I wait I wanted to post here to say thank you before the day's end. ~~~
When I profusely thank such organizations as Beat Infertility, Don't Talk About the Baby and Share for including me and my story, I both hope they know how sincere I am being but also know they are probably thinking,
Of course, what is the big deal?
My words of thanks come from a place of love formed in the darkness of loss.
I have never been pregnant.
Thank God because being pregnant for me after two back surgeries and a year in a body cast would never lead to the normal celebratory leap of joy over 2 pink lines that those of us in the infertility and loss community long for.
My surrogate never achieved pregnancy with our embryos either.
And yet, there is not a National Failed Infertility Treatment Awareness Month or National IVF Embryos Count Too Awareness Month, and so the month of October's Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is where I fall (or perhaps force my way in). Even though I can at times feel like the odd man out, left behind or the girl just beyond the outskirts of fitting in often wondering to myself,
They probably don't think I belong here. I did not lose enough. I am not enough.
That damn inner critic and scarcity, and yet, I know I am nowhere near alone.
Having never been pregnant, though, I realize that I still have some shame related to whether or not pregnancy and infant loss awareness month applies to me. I have these pictures of our four embryos that feel like the only tangible remnant of our efforts, the closest I ever got to pregnancy. But at the end of the day I never did get there. So does it still count? I want it to desperately, and I want others to recognize it. It is such an odd thing to lose something you never really had.
To which I replied:
Those pictures of my 8 celled babies are not only cells in a petri dish to me, never strong enough to take strong footing in a warm mother’s womb, they are my babies. They count, they most definitely count. I am with you sister, it sometimes feels like there is not a place for us, but I assure you it is here. We too became mothers the day we dreamed of becoming mothers.
To you, they may simply be 8 celled embryos who were a science experiment in a sterile lab and petri dish.
To me they were growing babies, made up of Chad's athletic ability and kind heart and my red hair and passionate personality, and transferred to Michelle's loving motherly womb. My babies who never took a breath of this earth's fresh air and who I must parent from afar for the rest of my life always wondering who they might have been and who I might have been as their mother.
And as I look at those bright flames, I will wonder if they are proud of me, wishing they were here while all in the same breath knowing all is okay.
I will also say thank you.
Thank you for including me and for remembering mothers like us.
In honor of my three: