By CERISSA STONE
Statistically speaking, one in every eight couples in the United States faces infertility, or problems trying to conceive. There are some studies that actually point to the numbers being closer to one in six in more recent years.
I walk this reality daily.
My husband and I have been struggling to start our family for the past 13 years. It’s been a long, hard, emotionally draining roller-coaster ride to say the least. I have found that it’s something that is taboo. Infertility is not something that is talked about that often. People tend to hide behind the pain, the longing, and the sense of failure. I know I have at times. Infertility can be isolating if you let it.
I have always chosen to be open about our struggles. If our story can help others get through this trial, then I am determined to do all I can to bust through that glass ceiling of shame, regret and disappointment that always seems to accompany this journey.
I was recently asked what it was like to face infertility. It was a hard question. How do you put into the words the countless emotions that you go through on a daily basis? How can you describe that soul crushing heartbreak you face over and over again? How can you explain that innermost battle between your faith, anticipation and loss? Would they understand when it’s something that most days, you really can’t even understand yourself? For those who are new to facing infertility, or for those who are veterans in this arena… I am going to try to put into words what it’s like to face this giant.
Infertility is like going to the fair. You can see the excitement; it permeates the atmosphere around you. The anticipation is captivating, and you can’t help but get caught up in it. The smell of cotton candy floats on the breeze and the lights dazzle your senses as they pull you in closer. The music is alive and builds at the momentum burning deep inside of you. It’s your turn. You are finally the next one in line and you are standing at the ticket counter, but for some unknown reason, the attendee holds up his hand to you. He has a puzzled look on his face, unsure of what to do. You cannot proceed.
The line starts to grow longer behind you. You start to fidget and feel a little out of place. Maybe you should have waited? Maybe you should have gone to another fair? After a few moments, he calls one of the orchestrators over to come help him figure out what to do. Without many other options, they ask if you would mind if a few others are allowed to go in ahead of you while they find a solution to the problem. You take a step to the side. Unsure of what to do, you walk over to one of the benches take a seat. You wait. You don’t mind. You have waited for this day all week, ever since you saw the rides start rolling in to town, and you are positive that that it won’t be much longer. You are this close… so close that you can taste it.
You notice that the line passing you by seems only to be getting longer, and the worry starts to kick in. After a while, it just seems to be never ending. You try to get the attendee’s attention, but he has forgotten all about you. You, the only one without a ticket, are lost in the midst of all of the excitement and hurried pace. You walk over to the fence and watch as everyone enjoys the rides. They are smiling and merry. Their cheeks are alive with excitement and exhilaration from the rides. Your joy has faded. You can only be a spectator at that point.
There must be an explanation. You tell yourself that surely someone will come tell you something soon. This nagging sense starts to eat at you. Something is wrong. Why am I not allowed to enter? Why are others more deserving than me? What have I done wrong? You are forced to stand there and watch as more and more people continue to walk by.
For me, infertility is like going to the fair without a ticket to get in the doors. I long to be a mother with everything I have. It burns deep inside of my heart. There is an excitement about the chance of starting your own family. It’s something that I have always envisioned for my future. I am ready for this new adventure, but there is something medically preventing me from being able to enter this arena. Although I can see the joy that motherhood brings to my family and friends, all I can do is stand there with this longing for the chance to be a mother myself. So, I choose to stand at the ticket counter in anticipation, month after month, and in our case year after year. I know what awaits on the other side. I can see it clearly, and that alone makes me show up again and again, even when I don’t know what the outcome is going to be. Even when I have been told “No… It’s not your time.” Even when I am told it may never be. Even when I have to step aside and watch others go before me. I will continue stand by the fence. I will pray the doctors can find the answers. I will cry out to God for a way because here I am, standing at the ticket counter just praying for the chance to get into the fair.
Cerissa Stone is a mother-wanna-be, follower of Jesus, outdoors enthusiast, and a writer. She currently has two books out and many more rambling around in her head waiting to be told. She likes to crochet, sew, or anything else creative.