I don’t deserve this.
I don’t deserve my infertility or the years I spent struggling with the most complex grief I’ve ever known. God knows, there are worse tragedies in the world, but there’s something about the pain of infertility that is deepened by its inherently enduring hopefulness. It forbids you to let go. I spent over 4 years living in monthly anticipation that something good would happen. “Don’t give up,” it said. “There’s still one more thing to try.” So I hung on. And on. And on. And I didn’t deserve that.
I also didn’t deserve my generous and loving family, the education I’ve had, or the summer camps I went to when I was young. I don’t deserve a nice house, the means to travel, or to eat out when I want. I don’t deserve a husband who is willing to work as hard as I am at making our relationship beautiful, nor do I deserve access to the therapy that helped us get here. I don’t deserve my above average intelligence, my great health, or a face that still gets me carded at 39. I don’t deserve a lifetime of good relationships, loads of dear friends, and (in case I haven’t mentioned) my incredible family.
I didn’t deserve any of these things because deservedness has nothing to do it. You get what you get. Some things are good; some things aren’t. That’s just the way it is.
It’s a simple truth, but it didn’t occur to me until now: I’m not entitled to fertility. Being unable to conceive at 35 was a stroke of bad luck, but considering the context of the rest of my life, it seems pretty fair. I am absurdly privileged, and there is no reason that I should be able to have children on top of all the embarrassing number of advantages that I’ve had – advantages for which I was never even been especially grateful.
Until infertility. Infertility mocked my expectations. After my first failed IVF, infertility made me stand in line behind a pregnant woman while I bought cat food. Infertility flooded my Facebook feed with chubby cheeks and onesies while I was bled out a miscarriage. It ridiculed my grief and was indifferent to my tears. It made me want and didn’t let me get. Infertility humbled me.
I didn’t deserve infertility, but it taught me to recognize and appreciate all the privileges I never earned. I am grateful for how it’s changed me, but I still won’t say that I’m grateful for infertility itself, because for fuck’s sake, it hasn’t changed me that much.