My husband’s Aunt was unable to have children. She was one of the first cases of IVF and she tried everything. She is now 60 and living a beautiful life with her husband. Doesn’t mean the pain goes away. It is muted, often gone for a long period of time and replaced by joy on many occasions. But the pain of not having children can easily resurface. She is now at the age when her siblings are becoming Grandparents. She has to face the grief all over again and this time people seem to have forgotten to be sensitive and loving to her.
My SIL ( her niece) just had a baby and she is copied on all the sappy pictures, all the excited declarations that the grandparents make. It has brought up so many emotions in me. When I receive these mass email or texts she is on my heart hurts for her. I feel like it could have easily been me if we hadn’t had the medical advancements we have today. My heart breaks at the lack of awareness others have for her. I know we can’t all walk on eggshells all the time. I also know that she has healed a lot and some of this pain is projected but it still upsets me.
I finally reached out to her separately today. I said– I know you embrace and welcome all new lives into the family but thinking of you as I imagine there is some pain that comes along with it. Her response was beautiful. She acknowledged the pain, expressed gratitude for the recognition but said her rich and full and beautiful life has made her ok. While she still has pangs missing the beautiful moments and now will miss another milestone of being a grandmother, she has peace on her heart.
To me- it highlights a few things. One- compassion is always needed. We should all do our best to care for those around us. Two- there is no timeline for grief. Don’t put one on it. Three- Infertility warriors are a special breed. We learn to find joy in so many aspects of life. We are resilient, resourceful and strong. Finally- life childless or childfree can be beautiful and rich and lovely. Not pain free. But what life isn’t? But fulfilling and full of meaning and splendid. Doesn’t mean we should forget to be sensitive and caring. That is always the right approach.
Love to all of you.