It’s a subject that nearly every infertility blogger writes about at some point. The reason why is simple: there is no avoiding it.

The positive that has come out of my struggle with fertility is that I have found myself surrounded by an amazing group of women, both on the internet though my buddy group and blog, and in my everyday life, through my real life support group. While all of the women who have been a part of my infertility journey have added something special and unique to the experience, it’s the women in my real life support group who have made the biggest impact on my life.

These are women who have been with me through thick and thin and can relate to the struggles that we’ve endured. We clicked as a group, in a way that I didn’t think was possible for a group of women brought together by one small common link. They were there to provide listening ears, arms for hugs and humor and invaluable laughs when I was down. They were there for me when I felt like there was no hope. There were there when it felt like no one else in the world could possibly understand. They provided hope and they understood. They picked me up when I was down and provided me with something to look forward to every two weeks. They became my friends. I always left our meetings feeling uplifted, refreshed, renewed and with the energy to face our next infertility battle.

And one by one, miracle by miracle, babies were conceived, grew for 9 months and were born. One by one, women realized the dream that they had been wishing for for months and sometimes even years. One by one the number of those still waiting for their miracle slowly decreased.

It seemed crude to compartmentalize the women into “haves” and “have nots,” but in reality there’s no other way to do it. The “haves” still wished and hoped for miracles, but this time for their friends, not themselves. The “have nots” desperately wished that it would be “their turn” next. Eventually the “haves” outnumbered the “have nots.”

Shortly before I became pregnant, I was discussing with one of the two remaining “have nots” how things were different with our group. While I knew that everyone was still rooting for us and I still felt supported, things just weren’t the same. I missed the common thread that we all had: trying to have a baby. We discussed potentially recruiting new members who could provide more of the “still in the thick of it” support. We discussed trying out a different local support group. We discussed meeting as just the three of us. In the end, we didn’t do any of those things. We agreed that our group, as it was in the past, as it was at that very moment, and as it would be in the future, was most important to us. The relationship that we had formed was unlike anything we thought that we could replicate with new members, a different group, or just as the three of us.

Eventually, and seemingly miraculously, I crossed over from the “have nots” to the “haves.” This meant that there we only two women left in our group still trying to become pregnant. Even though I never believed it would be possible, the pain and sorrow of the past two and a half years slowly started to fade away into the background. While I don’t think that I will ever forget how awful that time was for me, I can no longer feel with the same intensity what it was like to go through each and every day wanting and waiting. Unconsciously my heart has moved to a different place, a place that has forgotten the mire of infertility, a place where hope has replaced fear and dread. My heart aches for these women, but I can’t honestly say that my heart aches WITH them.

And that is what makes me feel so guilty. I always thought that if the day came that I was actually pregnant, that I would never forget. How could I? But now here I am. I’m finally on the other side, and everything that I thought would be true just isn’t. I feel like a traitor, like I abandoned my friends. It’s as though I traded what I wanted the most and sacrificed knowing, understanding and having the ability to support my friends who are still trying. And the part that makes me the saddest is that the two who are left are the two who have been trying the longest. One woman for the entirety of her marriage, nearly six years, and the other woman somewhere between four and five years. And both are nearing the end of their rope; ready to give up entirely on having children in any way. Sadly, none of the rest of the women in our group have ever been where these two women are now. Yes, we all dealt with the emotions of infertility, but none of us for as long as these two women, nor were any of us ever at the point of seriously considering a childless life. While I was never able to relate to the length of time that they’d been dealing with infertility, at least I was able to share in their emotions and feel the camaraderie of still being in the depths of infertility together. Now I can’t even provide them with that comfort.

I feel like a failure in that respect. I feel guilty that I have what they want, and even more than that, I feel as though I’m not able to bring them the comfort and support that they brought to me over the past year and a half, and that hurts. Every day it seems more and more apparent to me that the scars of infertility, while seemingly invisible, reach deeper than I could ever imagine.

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