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 December 30th, 2016

{October 21, 2016}

Halloween. It’s one of my favorite holidays. With it, ushers in cooler weather (okay if you don’t live in Texas), beautiful fall colors (again- if you don’t live in Texas), delicious food, wonderful scents and a whimsical sort of excitement with the costumes and parties. Halloween gives everyone a reason to dress up and have fun.

As I was laying in bed this morning I was thinking about the dressing up, the masks, the thrill of being something you’re really not even if only for a night… and then as it often does, my mind started thinking about infertility and the masks I wore every single day during the years I hoped and waited for my first baby.

The mask of bravery: This was my brave face. This was the mask I wore so much of the time. If you had met me during those years, you would have never known at first glance that I went throughout my day with a broken heart, scared for the thought of a future without children. I wore this mask when I started my period right before having to rush out the door for work without time to work through the devastation of another failed month of trying. I wore this mask every time I walked into a patient room to do an assessment or put in an IV while the patient would try and make small talk which inevitably led to asking how many children I had, or when we wanted to have them. I wore this mask during girl’s nights when, as always, the conversation turned to pregnancy and kids and how stressful life was being a mom. I wore that bravery mask well. But underneath that bravery was a lot of fear. A lot of sadness.

The mask of joy: This was my “put on a happy face”. I am guessing if you’re reading this post, you probably know this one well. This is the mask I wore at baby showers … the mask I put on when friends, co-workers, even my own sister told me they were pregnant. I wore this mask while visiting friends in the hospital who had just delivered … walking through the mall past displays of baby clothes … during holidays spent with family … and my always-pregnant sisters-in-law and their brood of young children. To most, I probably seemed like a pretty happy person. And, I would like to think I wasn’t miserable. But for every smile, there were just as many tears.

The mask of determination: But really what I felt was desperation. This was the one I put on when I made my first call to FST. The one I put on when I sat in the lobby for the first time while waiting for my initial testing. My husband, my mom, my friends thought I was so brave … but underneath that was a girl who was unsure if she was making the right choice … a girl who was unsure if she could face more disappointment … a girl who only let the cat out of the bag so-to-speak (by sharing the news we were doing IVF) because I couldn’t handle any questions from anyone. This was a girl who couldn’t have made it through her IVF cycle without the love and care of an amazing doctor and team of nurses. This girl looked brave, resolute even. Looking back, I’d say I had just enough grit to find and then cling to the lifeline that was being extended to me.

I look back at those years and see there were so many layers … so many faces to that girl. I’m really amazed how she (I) found her way through it all. Those masks were a way for me to be part of groups, to enjoy other women who were reminders of things I didn’t have. I didn’t don those masks because it was fun … but to protect the fragile girl who was trying to find her way. Five years … half a decade later, if I really look at myself — no masks, no makeup — here stands this woman. A woman who walked to hell and back to be a mother. A woman who collected a few battle wounds along the way, but is proud of who she’s become, scars and all. A woman who no longer feels the need to wear the masks. Now, I just feel. I just am. And it feels good.


Photo courtesy of Amanda McNeal Photography


Hi! I’m a proud IVF mom of two amazing boys, thanks to the expert care at Fertility Specialists of Texas. I know, first hand, how lonely infertility can be, which is why I write personal entries for the FST blog  — it’s my way of helping break through the isolation. To let you know you’re not alone. And, neither am I. If you ever want to chat with someone who’s had empty arms, who knows the heartbreak of this journey, I’m here. And, I’d love to connect: fstivfmom@gmail.com.

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