Infertility Taught Me Just How Much Women Go Through

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Romper's Trying project follows five women with very different stories through a year of trying to conceive. Where discussions about fertility often focus on the end goal, they'll document what it's like emotionally, physically, and spiritually before you get there — the anxiety, the hope, the ovulation kits, the tests. How do you function when getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term isn't a given? Read on for one woman's answer to that question.

Alyssa experienced a miscarriage during her first pregnancy, and she and her husband are still trying. This is the twelfth installment of her Trying diary. You can read the previous entry here.

We’ve hit the halfway point in pregnancy. It feels good to karate chop 40 weeks in half, but the milestone doesn’t bring the relief and comfort I was anticipating. This halftime show is less Prince and more Black Eyed Peas — all pyrotechnics, no satisfaction. Will this journey ever feel like it’s really happening? I continue to go through the motions: buying furniture for the nursery, attending my monthly doctor appointments, narrowing down names, enrolling in daycare. Yadda, yadda, yadda. I’m still waiting for someone to tap me on the shoulder and say “Just kidding!” The final result, a physical embodiment of our love, seems so distant and intangible.

The weariness, the memories of a not-so-distant past, are still haunting. We try (and fail) to tamper our eagerness for today’s doctor’s appointment. We’ve been told it is the most exciting ultrasound: a complete anatomy scan of the baby. The technician will thoroughly review and detail the development of each petite body part. While in the ultrasound room, we remind her that we want peanut’s gender to remain a surprise. This nickname we’ve created allows us to connect with him/her; calling our baby an “it” never felt like an option. (Luckily, our technician is super capable and avoids certain anatomical angles, keeping the surprise intact!)

I’ve perpetually focused on women during this year-long journey. The respect that I’ve gained for the female community is immeasurable.

The images amaze me as we go over the four chambers of the heart, the curve of the spine, lobes of the brain, the fingers and toes — 10 each, all there — and see our baby move about in such a miniscule, yet fascinating, world. I stare, slack-jawed and amazed at what the human body is capable of. Surely, this is a miracle; we’ve created life, a delicate heart beating right before our eyes, a life from nothing, not even conscious yet. Though my joy and enthusiasm grows, so does my fearful side, clad in a full suit of armor, Iron Man-style.

I’ve perpetually focused on women during this year-long journey. The respect that I’ve gained for the female community is immeasurable. For the majority of my adolescence and adulthood, my inner tomboy found it much easier to relate to men. My default has long been bonding over sports and sneakers, miles away from any drama with male friends. But, with what I’ve experienced, I’ve felt a seismic shift in mentality. I feel more connected to women than I ever have.

The daily internal struggles I’ve felt with conception and the like got me in touch with qualities I’d been neglecting… well, forever. Women are not only capable of physically birthing children, but can withstand so much more than I ever realized was possible. I don’t even know where I would be if I hadn’t had such immense support from strong, brave women, both those in my life and those who’ve reached out to me in response to this project. Continuing to encourage each other, both in triumph and setback, or simply by listening, truly helps eliminate stigmas regarding fertility.

Although it has been an exceptionally long year — and my body has certainly taken a beating — the place we’re at today was most definitely worth the wait. I feel lighter now, having made peace with life’s uncontrollable circumstances. The fate of our baby’s growth is in the hands of a much higher being. I wouldn’t wish our initial experienced heartbreak and physical agony upon anyone, but strangely enough? I’m grateful for it. I’ve changed — we’ve changed, evolved.

The place we’re at today was most definitely worth the wait.

Navigating parenthood will be a daily challenge, but we’re ready. I welcome the countless sobbing days, the laughs, screams and smiles. Bring them on, come one, come all. I have no idea what kind of mother I will be. Will this fear of tragedy dissolve once I hold our child? Will that fear yield a cautious and overprotective helicopter mom? (I pray it won’t.) These unknowns keep the journey interesting and contribute to our growth. It might be imperfect, but it’s beautiful.

As our peanut becomes his or her own person, there is one thing that I will bet my life on: I’m going to love the hell out of this baby with every single fiber of my being. That is something I am not fearful of.