Where do I fit in? These are words that have been plaguing me recently. The traditional sense of not fitting in isn’t really what my mind means as it plagues me with these haunting thoughts. I sit and watch mothers my age run and play with their children, some have young ones some have older ones. Then I turn to see families out to eat or at the stores. When my husband and I are out and I am filled with longing. Along with the longing comes the guilt, isn’t he enough? The simple answer is yes he is enough the man who stands like my rock at my side. Though there are many times I long to give him a child created out of love.
This isn’t my path; it’s not written in my destiny. I know this, I accept this. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. I watch him as he causally gazes at the baby next to us at a restaurant, my heart rips a little. He would never say anything to cause me pain, he doesn’t mean to but there it is on his face the longing. He feels it to. How easy it is to forget that he to felt our losses with immense pain. His heart is slashed forever too. It’s just us the two of us on an island out there waiting for what’s next. How do we move on? We can’t. We are stuck simply because of our age.
Most people our age have children or are receiving their rainbow babies after tragedy. Not us, it’s never us. My body fails all the time, even getting pregnant and sustaining pregnancy prompts body failure. That smile on my face hides the obsidian pain that wells up inside me, it tears ripping at me devouring pieces of my person. He feels it to, he is here with me, I will be alright. Every single month I am confronted with my failures, that’s the cruel twist of fate being a woman. Monthly reminders of inadequacy can become overwhelming at times. He always knows by the look on my face, he hugs me whispering words of his undying love. I could not live it were not for him. He holds me up when I feel weak. I belong with him; does it matter if we fit in? We don’t fit with the young crowd, we don’t fit with people our age, we don’t fit with those older than us. We don’t belong anywhere but with each other.
They say children are your inheritance on earth from God. Are we not worthy? What have we done to be given this path? The gentle reminder that God doesn’t make things happen floats into my head. The next thought races in, then why are we not worthy of a miracle? Or is it simply that our miracle is that our children didn’t survive. We would take a lifetime of pain to save our children from experiencing a tragic life. Self-pity tries to suffocate me at times, I fight it down, then tears flow. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. This is a generic saying that doesn’t hold true. These wounds will never heal; it doesn’t even get the chance to scab, it openly flows consistently. It’s alright to feel and experience the loss, to grieve, then pick up and move on till the next time it hits. There are many women around the globe that struggle with infertility/pregnancy loss, however it feels like the loneliest group to belong to, for we are the silent types.
I am happy in my life now at this time. However, should I be this happy when my children are not on this earth with me? I invariably answer myself in the affirmative. I do have a right to be happy, I have a wonderful husband, a supportive family, a few good friends, a beautiful home, loving pets. I have everything I need and more, I am happy. Its alright that my life got sidetracked by tragic and irritating circumstances, it makes me a unique person. I can wish that my life wasn’t the way it is, but what is the point in that? I am prone to times of melancholy, but who in this world isn’t? But where do I fit in with people? This question never goes away, is it the lonely road I take in life that causes it?
The question torments me at times, I can’t get away from it. I am childless, hell has knocked on my doorstep tormenting me with the loss of my children. Most every single one of my friends has children. Sometimes it’s hard to even face them. Those days when I scroll through social media and I see child after child I seemed to get lost. Is there a place for people like me? Is the destiny of someone that has no kids and no chance of having in the future to wonder the earth in search of a purpose? It’s hard at times to see past the pain of the past, it’s an isolating pain.
As a couple him and I are against the norms. We are a very atypical family. We function as one family unit with the pets that we have. We love the fur babies as if they were our children. Though in modern society that’s considered odd. “ Crazy dog people” we have been called on numerous occasions. Anyone that has ever said that doesn’t know what each and every dog represents to us. To fill the void of longing we got dogs to help heal from each child we lost. The dogs soothe the savage beast of grief for a time, they bring joy in a hopeless home. I pour everything I have into my animals. My heart, my soul, my finances, my time. They get everything my children don’t.
Finding your way in the world seems easier when a pup isn’t far away. When I cry they run to make it better and when they realize they can’t they just sit and lean on me so I can feel their presence. My oldest dog was a life saver for me. I was pregnant right after my husband and I got married. We decided to get a dog because that’s what you do and we loved animals. I had an overwhelming need to take care of something. So 3 months into marriage I was pregnant. We both were beyond thrilled; it was a dream come true. A few months later, one night while my husband was working nights I woke up with an incredible sharp pain in my stomach. I panicked, I knew something was wrong. I moved to try to get out of bed, Adonis a beautiful 7-month old lab mix was right there beside me. I went to try to move out of bed and he stuck his head under my arm for support as if he knew I needed him. I got up eventually and a trail of blood followed me. My sheets looked like I had been stabbed. Adonis used all his strength to let me lean on him to walk. I made it to the bathroom blood everywhere. I knew I needed help. I called my husband crying and screaming in pain, he left work and was on his way. I didn’t want my husband to see the blood everywhere because I knew he doesn’t handle such things well. So wrapped myself in a towel and with Adonis help I inched my way to clean up the huge blood trail while still bleeding. I got the sheets off the bed and threw them in the trash. My husband arrived and off to the hospital we went. Of course we lost our child that night. I never had felt anything so tragic in all my life. My child was gone, my body failed.
My life changed that night. I didn’t know that for the next 10 years I would experience many miscarriages / pregnancy loss and a grief that grew so big it was overwhelming. The fact is that woman and couples that suffer this form of loss are often suffering in silence. They feel alone without direction, lost in a never ending search for peace they will never find. I am prone to this, hence me asking myself the question of where we fit in. We as survivors of these tragedies sometimes find it hard to move on.
When one thinks of moving on the natural tendency is guilt. Not wanting to forget your beautiful child that is gone can create a habit of chiding yourself when you try to let go of the pain. Its ok to not forget the little life you created, but letting go of the bitterness and pain over loosing that child is a first step in healing. I spent many years not wanting to let go, the longer I held on the closer I thought I was feeling to my children. The resentment I used to feel for knowing my body can never carry a healthy child to term still at times overwhelms me. I eventually learned that holding on to the pain was in fact not making me closer to my children but in reality pulling me farther into a depression. This created a sense of loneliness that words can’t describe. Isolation of being infertile combined with trying to figure out where you belong in the world can makes a person feel like they are from the island of misfit toys.
In a small community the feeling is more pronounced. The school is the center point of the community I live in. It provides many jobs in the town, creating a social circle. If you don’t have children, you are isolated when it comes to meeting people. It can also be awkward in general when you meet new people anywhere and they ask how long you have been married. The next question will always be; how many kids do you have? This is natural in human relationships to inquire about each other. However, for the infertile couple it can be excruciating. Fitting in is subjective in nature. Searching for a place to belong is natural state for humans. This innate response is that of course you fit in, your human right? A couple who is infertile with no hope of having a child together have had a hard road that many will hopefully never face. The unique nature of this hardship lends itself to seek isolation. Those who have suffered infertility and received their happy bundle of joy also have journeyed a road of seclusion. The couple who has suffered loss of a child through miscarriage or stillbirth have traveled a yet further reclusive road. There are many roads that cause pain, grief, and strife. Be silent no more! You fit in, there are others like you. Use your voice to shout to the world, I am OK, I belong. I, myself have finally come to conclusion that I belong. I fit in, I’m completely ok the way I am.