Who Knows That I Am A Childless Mother, Woman Hold My Hand -Sweet Honey In The Rock

My friend’s birthday is today and she doesn’t want to celebrate it. I kept suggesting we go ice skating with friends, and she’d say “No thank you.”
Finally she told me she doesn’t want to do anything for her birthday because she’s turning 38, she hasn’t been in a relationship for five years, and her dream of having a family of her own is fading fast.
Having struggled with infertility for the past eleven years, I know there’s no silver lining to where she is.
The most accurate description of infertility I’ve ever heard was from a New Yorker article years ago. A linguist and Anthropologist who studied languages went to a remote part of Alaska where the last living member of a Native American tribe lived. He tracked down this old woman who was living above a run down motel. It took him months to get an interview with her. When he finally spoke to her he asked her what was it like to be the last living member of her Tribe who speaks her Native tongue. She said it was like you have your most beloved infant daughter in a baby cradle and someone reaches down and strangles her to death.
That’s precisely what infertility feels like.
One of my favorite podcasts is Dear Prudence with Mallory Ortberg. She had her mother on to cohost an episode once. Mallory’s mother is a mixture of polite Midwesterner stalwart Nurse. And her mother said you really know someone’s character by what they do when they don’t get what they want in their life, how we deal with adversity defines us.
What I came to with infertility is that I am not defined by what I’m lacking. And I get to decide to be grateful for what I do have in my life. Whether I ever am able to have a child or not, I am still a whole person.