The Privilege of Complaining - Pregnancy after Infertility
My pregnancy journey started after a much longer journey with infertility - unexplained infertility, to be exact. Pregnancy was a shock after IVF. To go from carefully regimented scheduling, exact medication measurements and almost daily blood draws and ultrasounds to the wild world of burgeoning motherhood. Oh there are plenty of resources out there, but not the hand-holding you get when you've paid thousands of dollars for a team of doctors, nurses and embryologists to get you pregnant. So after the 6 week appointment to ensure that my HCG levels hadn't faked us out and the embryo was truly growing, my husband and I graduated from our fertility clinic to begin the journey to parenthood.
I don't know how many times I wrote the sentence, "pregnancy after infertility wasn't easy" and then deleted it. I don't know how many times I must have qualified any complaint with "but I'm so grateful to be pregnant." It's hard to balance the feelings of utter happiness at becoming a mother with the sheer frustration of some of the less exciting symptoms.
In the back of my mind, there was that old church-going granny that harshly tells me that I have nothing to complain about, to be grateful that I have the chance to be someone's mother. If you are experiencing pregnancy after a journey through infertility and have that same old granny in your head, do me a favor.
Tell her to hush up.
Now, let me tell you a little known secret...
You can be grateful and complain about your pregnancy (or parenthood) at the same time.
You're now part of that sisterhood of women whose bodies are working overtime to produce enough nourishment to create new life. To knit together bone and tissue, weaving the strands of life for a new human, all while sustaining your own life. You can be grateful for this ability while hating how it makes your body feel. You can lovingly run your hands over your expanding stomach while groaning about your equally expanded feet. Prior to the positive test (tests - somehow the lab results didn't make it quite real enough for me. I must have taken five store bought ones as well), IVF medications were doing a number on my body so I never quite took the time to grasp what pregnancy would do to it.
When the nausea kicked in and all I could eat was cheesy fried goodness straight from the kids menu, I tried hard not to complain. That old granny was working her magic in my mind. By the third trimester, when I was frantically searching for compression stockings while soaking in a bath of epsom salts for my delightfully swollen legs, I kicked that old granny voice to the curb. For me, complaining about pregnancy symptoms was a welcome part of the journey. I finally was able to join this club that my body had previously denied me entry. Complaining about pregnancy symptoms became a gift in itself, a sign that I was finally there. Pregnant.
For 41.5 whole, long, beautiful, excruciating weeks. ;)