Like so many women, I spent many years actively trying not to get pregnant, so when my good friend started “trying” after she got married, it opened up a whole new phase of life for me. My dear friend was working so hard at this “trying” to have a baby project. She was a smart girl who got what she wanted, so she started seeing a fertility doctor. In my role as friend and supporter, I got on board for the ride. I knew all the lingo and could throw around new terms like “hysterosalpingogram” with the confidence as if I’d just had one myself. I learned the alphabet soup of reproductive endocrinology.
I recall ordering Chinese food after her embryo transfer and eating dinner together on her bed while she rested. My heart would break alongside hers when her numbers would surge indicating a chemical pregnancy only to then fall two days later. I witnessed her go through several IUI and IVF cycles. Throughout that process, I absorbed a big new understanding: getting pregnant is not easy, even when you have everything going for you. If you think otherwise, you are being naive, because I am seeing my friend struggle. This process of getting pregnant is not as simple as it sounds. Unbeknownst to me, this messaging became embedded into my subconscious where it cozied up, nestling in for a good, long time.
In my late 20’s and early 30’s, many of my friends were having babies or “trying” to conceive. When I heard news of a friend “trying”, my thought was always, “Oh honey, that’s going to be tough for you because I know for a fact that it’s not easy to get pregnant.” Without realizing it, I was creating a narrative about my own fertility. I’m not sure why, although I suspect I wanted to protect myself from being disappointed. So, as to be expected, when I started “trying” (a word I learned to detest during this period of my life; it still rubs me the wrong way) to have a baby myself, I expected failure. And that’s what I got. It began as a private matter between my husband and me. Then we started inviting people into our sad struggle. I confessed to my mom, my sister, a few close friends, because it was too lonesome and sad for me to keep the disappointment to myself.
One by one, my friends would get pregnant and have their babies. I wanted to be happy for them, and I truly was, but each time a friend or colleague revealed her pregnancy, I just felt more discouraged and isolated. I became annoyed with women who got pregnant on their first try, because I was trying so hard! How frustrating it was to be doing all the right things, and just being disappointed over and over!
What we focus on, we get more of, so everywhere I looked, I saw pregnant bellies and baby shower invitations. I know now that I was mirroring my insecurities about my fertility. Was I ever going to get pregnant? Each time I heard of a friend becoming pregnant, it validated my own limiting beliefs about myself and my fertility. I started to become obsessed. What if I can’t do this? I was a high achieving, goal oriented person, so this outcome did not sit well with me. I needed to take action.
Over the next few years, I navigated the world of reproductive endocrinology. My diagnosis was “unexplained fertility.” After a few IUI’s I became pregnant, but suffered a miscarriage after 15 weeks. This was devastating, and motivated me to move on to IVF. Turns out, I was a great egg maker, but after each transfer, those lovely embryos would just not stay put.
At our third transfer, the RE said my last 3 embryos had thawed and one was struggling. I told him to put all of them in. I laughed and said, “I always wanted 3 kids.” After the transfer, the waiting game began, but it was different this time. My embryo transfer was in early September 2001, and during the days after the transfer, the events of 9/11 occurred. For the next several days, something bigger than my fertility took over my thoughts. I had to share the frightening news of what happened with my 6th grade students, and help them to feel safe and comforted. My husband and I feverishly checked on our friends who lived and worked in NYC. It was a frightening time, and an unwelcome distraction. I now understand, because of my knowledge of how hypnosis works, that the world was under a mass hypnosis at that time, and so was I.
On September 15th, I got the call. My numbers indicated a pregnancy. “We’ll see,” I thought, protecting myself from the fear of another miscarriage. But days turned into weeks, and with each milestone, I allowed myself to get more excited and to believe that this was really happening. I was pregnant and was going to have a baby. Finally it was my turn.
In the meantime, my friend had adopted a lovely baby girl and then adopted a son from the same orphanage a few years later. Soon after adopting her son, she discovered she was pregnant without any interventions. Her body also knew exactly how to conceive and nurture a baby. She had a healthy baby girl and the children she knew in her heart were meant to be hers. Her family was complete.
It’s been 19 years since I found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. I now am mom to the 3 children I knew in my heart that I was meant to have. Hindsight always provides a new lens, so I believe that I was waiting to be the mother to these 3 special people – at times quite impatiently – but they were meant to be my family. And they were SO worth the wait. Being a mother has changed my life in ways I could never have imagined.
In my opinion, motherhood stretches your capacity to be human. I completely respect women who do not choose or want to be a mother. They are trusting their inner wisdom, and that is a precious voice. However, if a woman wants to be a mother, is willing to take on that important role in this world, and knows in her heart that there is a baby there for her, then I want that for her with great passion. I believe in her inner wisdom, and will do everything I can to offer her the support I am trained to provide professionally and do so from a place of compassion and empathy.
I now have an active practice, specializing in supporting moms at every stage of the journey. I love working with women all over the country who want to become mothers or are already mothers but know their family is not yet complete. I wish that this kind of support had existed to help me when I was heartbroken about my fertility. Therefore, I find it an honor and privilege to be a positive part of my clients’ fertility journey, to witness their vulnerability and courage, and to listen to their stories with compassion and empathy. When I tell my fertility clients that the right baby will come to them at the right time and in the right way, I believe it with all of my heart. It will happen. It is my truth, as well.