By Shelley Skuster
Shelley works in partnership with First Response to share her pregnancy stories. This story was originally featured on her blog, Shelley Writes
Dear Infertility Warrior,
I saw you get out of your car in the parking lot. You gripped your husband’s hand tightly as you walked through the hospital’s automatic doors.
I felt your heart race as you pushed the elevator’s arrow for the third floor. I saw your eyes meet the sign: Reproductive Health and I watched you walk into the clinic with a cautious hope and strength only some of us will ever understand.
I heard you nervously greet the receptionist.
“Good morning,” you said, even though you didn’t know if really, truly it actually was.
I heard you tell her you had an 8 o’clock appointment. I noticed your grin when she said, “Go ahead and take a seat. A nurse will be out shortly.” And deep down I know it felt like you were told to wait even longer – longer for answers. For hope. For clarity. For peace. For understanding. For any of this to make any sort of sense.
I know it felt like no one in that office understood how much your life was on hold in that moment and in this season of waiting.
But I did. I could see you, and I still see you.
I see you at the grocery store glancing at my three rambunctious daughters and my big pregnant belly, wishing you had a gaggle of giggling girls throwing boxes of fruit snacks up and down the aisles.
I see you at the mall walking briskly passed the maternity sections. You wonder if you’ll ever have a chance to try on the infamous maternity belly and catch a glimpse of what it would look like and feel like to have a baby bump.
I see you at the supermarket discreetly picking out ovulation kits and those oh-so-familiar First Response Early Result Pregnancy Tests…just in case this is the month everything changes.
I see you at baby showers and gender reveal parties with a smile on your face. I see you offer congratulatory hugs when I know you’re crying inside and wanting to scream, “When’s it going to be my turn?”
I see you at the bookstore browsing the parenting section for advice on trying to conceive.
I see you google-searching for expert tips on fertility to separate fact from fiction. Should your husband be wearing boxers or briefs? Does it really matter if you give up caffeine?
I see you lying on a bed with thin needles poked into pressure points all over your body by an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility. I know it’s strange for you because you’ve never believed in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but those books you found at the bookstore told you to give it a try.
I see you drinking herbal tea, walking out of a chiropractor’s office and signing up for a yoga class meant to help you get more in tune with a body you’ve grown to hate.
I see you clinging to hope that someday, somehow, this will all make sense.
I hope you know, dear warrior, that even though I haven’t seen you since that summer day in the infertility clinic’s waiting room eight years ago – I still see you. You are my sister, my neighbor, my waitress, my barista, my flight attendant, my town’s police officer, my attorney, my doctor, my church’s pastor, my therapist, my relative, my florist, my child’s teacher…
You are among us.
I see you. I recognize you. And you are not alone.