June 7, 2024

What to Expect When You’re NOT Expecting

By Amie Bilson
Mental Health & Wellbeing
Postpartum & Perinatal

Many of our life’s assumptions unfold as expected, quietly shaping our reality. Yet, it’s the shattered expectations that demand our attention and often, our introspection.

Childhood Dreams to Adult Realities

As a child, I cradled my dolls, mimicking motherhood’s nurturing embrace. The complexities of fertility were foreign to my youthful dreams. In my twenties, infertility was a shadowed thought, eclipsed by the pursuit of love and partnership. The expectation of motherhood seemed a natural progression.

Confronting Infertility

However, like many, I was blindsided by the silent struggle of infertility. Three years of hope met with silence, culminating in a solemn consultation with a fertility specialist. This journey is an emotional odyssey, fraught with highs and lows—a path I navigate with personal insight and shared experiences.

The Lure of Isolation

Infertility can usher in a tempest of emotions, steering one towards isolation. The rigors of treatment, coupled with the sting of misconstrued words, compound the sense of solitude. Yet, isolation is a siren’s call, tempting but treacherous.

Embracing Connection

In truth, this voyage necessitates companionship—souls to share in the grief, to offer counsel, to echo truths against the whispers of doubt, and to uphold hope when it falters. Embrace the support of loved ones, cherish the bond with your partner, and seek solace in the fellowship of those who understand. Nurturing these connections is self-care incarnate.

Shared Stories, Collective Strength

Opening up about my struggles revealed a shared narrative of infertility. Vulnerability paved the way to unexpected support and camaraderie, particularly with a friend seasoned by IVF’s trials. Her insights and encouragement were beacons of light in my journey.

The Perils of Comparison

“It must be me.” “They seem to handle it so much better.” Such thoughts are common traps in life’s adversities, and infertility is no exception. This mindset can spiral into grief, shame, and anxiety. My own journey was punctuated by the pregnancies of friends, the joy of baby showers, even my fertility doctor’s own blossoming belly—all while I grappled with my own unfulfilled longing. The dichotomy of feeling both sorrow and happiness was a poignant sting.

Yet, comparison is a fruitless endeavor. It distorts our perspective, offering no solace or solution. Each person’s path is distinct—no two stories are identical, nor can they be fairly juxtaposed. When you find yourself veering into comparison, gently remind yourself: Your narrative is singularly yours.

Standing Still in the Face of Disappointment

The harsh reminder of life’s unpredictability can immobilize even the strongest among us. If this resonates with you, know that you’re not alone. If you’re grappling with infertility, consider reaching out. It would be my privilege to accompany you on this arduous journey. Acknowledge that this path is fraught with difficulty; your emotions, whether it’s grief, fear, or frustration, deserve a space to be heard and validated.

Written By

Amie Bilson

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