I have found that since becoming ‘P’ I have shared the struggle it took to get here even more than before. When women welcome me into the world of a normal ‘P’ person I feel the need to adamantly declare that I barely made it here. My response to the cashier who just offered a simple congratulations was “thank you- it took years and so many rounds of treatment to get here”. To my son’s teacher I respond even a bit further and say “I am so grateful I was able to pursue and find success with donor eggs.”
I just find that I have this pressing desire to make sure others know it isn’t always easy. I want them to be aware of how hard conception is for so many. I want the ladies behind me in the checkout stand to hear my quick story in case they too are struggling. I want his teacher to see the face of a woman using donor eggs to bring real ness and awareness to the struggle in case someone she knows may be facing it.
I am sure my husband understandably finds it a bit weird when I over share to a stranger but he would never say anything or insist I be more discreet. He knows my passion for bringing awareness and empathy. He knows I feel intense gratitude and maybe a bit of guilt about why I have had this fortune. My story to fertiles probably sounds like a nightmare ( 10 plus IVF rounds, miscarriages, surgery, donor eggs) but to others struggling to conceive I am the lucky one. In my head and heart- I am the lucky one.
In the era of glossy social media, filters on pictures, fashion and lifestyle and mommy bloggers who paint this image of what life should be, of what happiness looks like, of what success and beauty and a good life should be- I want to offer up a messy and dirty and real version of that ‘happy ending’. I would never want someone to look at my life and think ‘wow she has it so great’ and have that make them feel less about their own life. I would much prefer they say ‘well life has been a bit messy and unconventional but she is making it work’. I would even rather them say ‘thank goodness that isn’t me’ as I know some of my fertile friends say to themselves. If my own life can make others feel inspired or even better about theirs that to me is so much better than anyone ever seeing me as a glossy mom picture and coveting what I have. I can’t imagine why some work hard to make other’s jealous of them. Why would you want to cause other people that pain? It does nothing to enrich your life and only harms theirs.
After all- as my own mother would remind us over and over and over growing up ‘people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel’. A Maya Angelou quote that we had on our fridge. In this short and fleeting and unpredictable life- I can only hope that my existence has made those around me feel good about their own.
So-that is why I over share. I do it in hopes it randomly reaches someone quietly struggling. I do it in hopes it removes the illusion of my ‘perfect life’ happily married with a toddler and baby on the way. I do it because if making strangers or friends a bit uncomfortable in the moment means they are more empathetic and thoughtful in further moments than it is worth it.