By: Amy Lied
This piece of paper covered in scribbles is something I’ve longed to have on my fridge for years. I use to go over to my friend’s homes and see their child’s daycare artwork hanging there and stare longingly at it. I ached to have art on my fridge from my child.
Each time that I injected myself with fertility medication, I hoped that a piece of scribbled paper on our fridge was in our near future.
Each time Aunt Flow arrived, that future was pushed further away.
As months continued without a positive pregnancy test, my bitterness and anger at our situation continued to grow. I hated the world. I hated anyone who I felt didn’t struggle to conceive a child.
The newly married couples who popped out a baby 9 months from their wedding day… hated them.
The couple who said they were going to start trying and were pregnant that first month… hated them.
The couple who WASN’T EVEN TRYING and was pregnant… hated them.
The woman who was 5 years older than me, yet didn’t struggle to conceive… hated her.
The pregnant woman walking at the grocery store… hated her.
The new mother struggling to function with her newborn baby at Target… hated her.
If you had a baby before me, I was bitter towards you.
Unfortunately, I needed all that indiscriminate anger to go somewhere, more specifically onto someone. That person ended up being my sister-in-law.
She did absolutely nothing wrong. She just happened to be someone who didn’t struggle to get pregnant and someone I was close to at the time. When she was pregnant, I talked to her a lot because we had just started trying. We bonded over the excitement of our children possibly being close in age.
After our niece was born, several months into our struggle to conceive, I pulled away sister-in-law. The texting stopped and I withdrew. I couldn’t look at photos of my niece without feeling broken inside. I wanted all of that in my life and it wasn’t happening for us. It broke my heart.
There was no rational reason as to why she became the focus of my infertility rage.
It wasn’t her fault we were struggling, but she was someone close to me that I could put that frustration on and I did. It was a huge regret of mine. I wanted to apologize to her on several occasions after we became pregnant with Asher, but always chickened out because I assumed she probably didn’t even notice my withdraw.
Then Asher died and they flew in to see us a few weeks later. During that visit, we had some time alone together and I confessed everything. I apologized for pulling away from her and for having her be the focus of all of my pain. It wasn’t right and I was so sorry for it. She confirmed she noticed the withdrawal but wasn’t sure why. I know I blindsided her a bit with the conversation, but I had to get it out. I had to let her know I was sorry for how I handled things. At the time it was the only way I was able to cope with my pain. She was amazing during that conversation and we both left it feeling closer than we had in years.
Struggling to conceive a very much wanted child, while it seems like the rest of the world is just popping out babies left and right, can take you down a dark road.
I struggled to keep up with the friendships I once had. I failed to be that good friend I always was and “check in” with them from time to time. I became consumed with my cycle, the medication, the various appointments, and calculating the due date for our baby if I got pregnant this month. Each month I wasn’t pregnant, pushed my timeline of having a child further away. I watched as friends conceived and birthed their second/third child while I still struggled to conceive my first.
I was miserable and broken and I took it out on those closest to me.
Each month that passed without a positive caused me to fall further and further into the darkness. I hated the person I was. I hated my anger.
It only resolved when I became pregnant with Asher. We finally had everything we had been working so hard for but it all came crashing down when Asher’s heart stopped beating inside me.
The loss of Asher took me back to that dark place. I hated the world again and everyone who got to bring home a baby. (However, over time, I was able to turn that darkness into light by working on making my son’s brief life known to the world.)
We were thrown right back into the world of infertility after Asher died and we ultimately went back to the fertility specialist eight months after he was born. After two months of treatment, we conceived Asher’s twin little sisters, the artists of the scribbles pictured above.
Infertility and child loss irrevocably changed me. They both brought me to my lowest points, emotionally. They made me hate the world and isolate myself from it.
Why did I have to struggle to get pregnant?
Why did my child have to die?
Why are we back to struggling again?
I was angry at the world for the crappy hand I had been dealt and that’s okay. I’m allowed to be, because it sucks.
However, the lifelong pain and hurt caused by our struggle to conceive and the loss of Asher, has made me incredibly grateful for the two children who are here with us.
Those scribbles on my refrigerator are more than just random lines made by two toddlers. They are a visual representation of the journey it took for us to have our three children; the son we carry in our hearts and the twin daughters we carry in our arms. A roller coaster ride of the highest highs and the lowest lows; joy and pain, hate and love, death and life, grief and gratitude.
I seriously doubted if artwork like the above would ever be on our fridge after dealing with infertility and loss. However, that sliver of hope, which was buried beneath the anger, is what kept us pushing through the pain and made it a reality for us.
“Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.” – Suzanne Collins
About Amy Lied
Amy Lied is a wife and a mother. Her son, Asher, was inexplicably born still on February 19th, 2017. Before losing Asher, she suffered a miscarriage and struggled with unexplained infertility. After losing Asher and struggling to conceive again, she went back to treatment where she became pregnant with her twin daughters; Harper and Scarlett. She has documented her journey from the beginning of her infertility struggles on her blog, Doggie Bags Not Diaper Bags. She is also a co-founder of The Lucky Anchor Project, an online resource for loss families that houses an Etsy store whose profits are donated to loss family non-profit organizations. Sharing her journey has helped her cope and she hopes it also helps others who are walking on this road of life after loss.