Monthly Feature Story - September 2018 - Andrea Brown - Infertility Awareness

I am a wife. A puppy mommy. A teacher. A Librarian. A dancer. A daughter. An auntie. A sister. A cousin. A friend. An avid gym goer. A good hugger. A great listener.

I am also infertile.

I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. While my mom was busy breast feeding my younger brothers, I would sit and breastfeed my favourite doll.

I am the girl who, as a teenager, would have sleep overs with her dearest friend (Lizann). We would spend hours talking about how when we got older and were pregnant, we would have pregnant sleepovers. How I’ve cried about not being able to have those with her.

For reasons, I cannot begin to understand (although, I have come to understand them a bit better now – as I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), I have not been able to have the one thing I have always wanted…a child. Women with PCOS do have the ability to get pregnant, but I have not been able to. Why would I have such an innate deep longing and desire, only to have the desires of my heart unfulfilled?

It may come as a surprise to some, but getting pregnant isn’t always easy and not all women can get pregnant. Nor do all women want to get pregnant. Some want to adopt, some want to foster and some want no children at all. For me, I have always had a desire to be pregnant.

Over the last 8 years, I have completed 3 cycles of IVF. Within those cycles, I have had numerous embryo implantations (9 to be exact)…none of which have survived.

Every month is yet another reminder of my failure to conceive.

At times, it has been a long, lonely journey. I haven’t always wanted to share about my struggles with infertility. I have distanced myself from friends because it is too painful to be around them and their children. Not because I don’t love their children, but because when I look at their children, I see my friends reflected in their children’s faces. The thought that I will never have this breaks my heart.

I cannot escape pregnant women. They are everywhere. My work, the gym, dance…everywhere I go. It’s hard with friends and hard with family. A painful reminder of what I don’t have…the ability to grow another human life.

I don’t go to baby showers. I can’t. It’s a painful reminder of everything that I don’t have. Please invite me, but don’t be upset with me that I can’t be there. It is not that I don’t love you, it is just so incredibly painful for me.

My closest friends and family understand – or try to understand – the attachment that I have to my dogs. They invite my dogs into their homes because they know my dogs are my family. My dogs have saved me. They have given me something to be a mother to. They have licked my tears and snuggled me when I have been a sobbing, crumpled ball on the floor. The best part of my day is coming home to their ridiculously happy faces. I love talking them for walks, watching them explore and finding the joy in just being alive.

I am blessed to have an incredibly loving husband who has stood by me. Who wants children just as much as I do. Who loves me just as I am. Who supports me in everything that I do and wants all of my dreams to come true.

I really do my best to live glass half-full. To focus on what I do have. To live with intention. To give my all to what I put my heart into. To be kind. To be gracious. To be empathetic.

I also cry. A lot. The inability to carry a child of my own makes me so, so sad.

Have you considered adoption? Have you considered fostering? You can be a mother to a child that isn’t biological yours.
People ACTUALLY say these things to me.

Please don’t say these things to your infertile friends or family members. You are minimizing our heartache. Of course, we have considered these options.

The best thing to say is, I’m so sorry. I cannot imagine how difficult this is for you.
Or don’t say anything at all. Just hug us. Hug me.

This is not just my journey. This is the journey of many women.

I share my story now because there is power in sharing.

I recently read a quote by C.S Lewis and it is the reason why I share.

“It’s not the load that you carry that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it”.

I share because I need help carrying my load. I share because other women need help carrying their load.

You are not alone.

-Andrea Brown

Photo Credit : Emily Jane Photography

Stylist : Laura Heagy Special Occasion Stylist