I’m Depressed & Infertile, But Those Labels Do Not Define Me

Read this article featured by The Fertility Tribe here.
Like depression, infertility was a label I had been convinced of identifying myself with. With both labels depression and infertility, I felt ashamed and hid from them for a long time. Eventually, I became them.
Neither of those diagnoses—depression or infertility—came with an explanation as to what caused their onset. They both simply existed as a part of me and that is what they became, a part of me and who I was.
I lived for a long time thinking I was defined by those words: depressed and infertile.
Finding happiness in the midst of that was like being stuck in bed under the covers on a rainy day that never ended. But, in bed and under the covers waiting for the rain to stop was comfort; and comfort felt better than pain and easier than happiness.
I feared having hope, and as a result, I lost a lot of the hope I did have.
It was about twelve years ago when I was first diagnosed with depression and nearly five years ago when I stopped taking birth control and had no cycle for an entire year.
After 3 years of silently suffering with infertility while still hopelessly trying to conceive, we finally sought fertility treatments and all of our prayers were answered. Unfortunately, my first pregnancy resulted in miscarriage and I was heartbroken.
To think you’ll never conceive, and then to finally open yourself up and ask God for a blessing, only to be given that blessing and have it taken away so abruptly felt like having the life ripped out of me. The deepest love I had ever known was sucked from my soul, while my faith, trust, and hope were ripping a hole through my heart.
Struggling to accept that infertility was God’s plan for me forced me to lie to myself and even worse, to my husband. I told myself the lie that I could live childless, and I even convinced my husband of that.

On a daily basis I thought, “Is this it? Is life with just us two enough?” The answer was yes, it was enough. That gave me strength for a while, but it never replaced the innate desire I felt to be a mother. Not only did I crave motherhood, I wanted to know my husband’s child. I wanted to love his child—our child—and the feeling to do so came on so strongly because of our love.
Fast forward to today: I’m 38 weeks pregnant, and the hardest truth I’ve learned is that pregnancy didn’t cure my infertility or depression, and it isn’t going to.
The truth is, I thought having a child would fix everything, but it didn’t.
At 20 weeks into my current pregnancy I found myself a shell of who I used to be.
Existing for years hidden from my truth and the pain of that truth made me numb to the emotional roller-coaster I was riding as we sought fertility treatments. Following our miscarriage we abruptly jumped into IVF, an even bigger emotional roller-coaster with more demands and more unknowns. Scared to feel anything –to have hope or to feel pain—I was numb to it all, through it all, and even after it all.
THE TWO TRUEST LAWS OF HAPPINESS I’VE COME TO KNOW THROUGH ALL OF THIS ARE:
  1. 1. Happiness requires no stipulation in order to exist. As is love, happiness too is unconditional. 
  2. 2. For every emotion felt, a thought is giving it life and allowing it to exist. To change the emotion we must identify and change the thought.   
To move on from the shattered place I was in I had to believe that happiness could exist anyway and free myself from the limitations of my own thoughts.
I have lost a child, and I will never be the same. The truth of that thought is: I miscarried… can I be happy anyway?
THE ANSWER IS YES.
I may never conceive naturally or experience all of the natural joys that come with that. The truth of that thought is: I struggle with infertility… can I be happy anyway?
THE ANSWER IS YES.
I have depression, so it’s normal for me to want to feel sad. The truth of that thought is:  I am depressed and sometimes really sad. Can I be happy anyway? THE ANSWER IS YES.
True happiness, after all, does not exclude sadness. Instead, our experiences both happy and sad are embraced in true happiness to make us whole, because that is what wholeness demands. It demands all of you.
I had an epiphany when I was about 5 months pregnant. I realized that all of my pain, everything I had struggled with and overcome, everything I had hoped for but lost, existed so deeply within me because the love that produced its existence was real. Not only was the love real, it was a strong and true part of me.
Pain follows the loss of true love, and as long as love is present pain will persist. I found peace in knowing that my pain was simply an extension of my undying love for my unborn child. It helped lighten the gnawing agony that had so tightly consumed me.
SO THE ANSWER IS YES. I CAN BE HAPPY ANYWAY, DEPRESSED AND INFERTILE.  
I was diagnosed with manic depression and borderline personality disorder twelve years ago. That is when I began writing to sort through my thoughts with the intention of finding happiness--as if it was something I could learn to do. After ten years of counseling and countless self-help books, I admit that my life still requires my maximum effort. However, in the past year I have found happiness, and am now a new mom after infertility. My blog shares my life with all of its ups and downs. You can follow my story on Instagram here.

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