"The English language lacks the words 'to mourn an absence.' For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful, some not. Still, we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only 'I am sorry for your loss.' But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent, ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?" - Laura Bush
A facebook friend posted that on her status last night, and I really thought it was an excellent quote. My husband and I struggled with infertility for three and a half years before Ben was conceived through IVF. I've actually been thinking about it a lot lately because I had always been under the impression that once I had a kid, infertility would no longer haunt my life. But that's not true, and not just for the fact that having a second child would be a major ordeal. It leaves you with a lot of doubts about your ability to take on other tasks. It's hard to describe exactly, but the doubt is there in the back of your mind.
Despite the toll infertility takes on you both before and after conceiving, there is one thing you gain from it. Strength. I don't think anyone who has battled years of disappointment, frustration, anger, and sadness can come away from it without an amazing perspective on their ability to withstand all that and still succeed. It's a pretty big power trip, and I still rely on those feelings to get me through difficult things. If I could conceive a child without lots of money, with endless shots and medications, despite constant disappointment and people asking me when I was ready to think about adopting, I'm pretty sure that I can get through anything. Including a winter on a limited budget.
I know Laura Bush's quote doesn't really talk about strength, it talks about loss, and the inability to express a loss of something doesn't even exist yet. I guess for me, just reading that, and remember my own feelings of loss, I can't help but think about the strength required to endure that and the lessons I learned about myself from experiencing that.