Struggling with infertility can take over your life. It can become all you think about month after month, as your dreams of expanding your family shatter. Infertility can also be lonely and isolating when you’re faced with pregnancy announcements, baby showers, and new babies of friends and family. You may wonder if it will ever be your turn. Will you ever know what it’s like to finally be pregnant?
What It’s Like to Finally Be Pregnant
Then it happens. Your season of waiting ends and it’s finally your turn! You’re pregnant with a healthy baby! The emotions flood in and grief turns to joy, as your dreams come true. It may take a while to fully process the news as you ponder with whom you will share it first, when you will announce the pregnancy, and if you will find out the gender. Take your time with all of this. Enjoy the moment!
Allow Yourself to Feel and Process Each Emotion
I couldn’t wait for my first OB appointment at nine weeks for my rainbow baby and was so excited for the official confirmation of the pregnancy. Then I ended up sobbing hysterically once I got into the ultrasound room. I was terrified that there wouldn’t be a heartbeat again. That entire pregnancy, I experienced such a wide array of emotions, everything from elation to fear and anxiety. The important thing is to allow yourself to feel and process each one because they are all valid.
You may be overjoyed and terrified at the same time.
Your dreams have come true, but you’re scared something bad might happen to the pregnancy. You finally get to be a mom, but you’re worried you won’t be a good one. You want to share the news, but don’t want the experience of having to explain another loss ever again. Experiencing multiple emotions at the same time is normal for any mom, but especially after a journey of infertility. Share your emotions with your partner. Communication is especially important at this time.
It may also take some time to emotionally connect to the pregnancy.
Infertility can cause you to put up emotional walls to protect yourself from disappointment and grief. You may not fully trust that this pregnancy is the one and allow yourself to emotionally connect with it. It takes time for those walls to come down. Don’t put yourself on a timeline.
You may want to announce your pregnancy to the world or keep it as sacred news for your personal circle.
Infertility can be such a difficult season of waiting, that when you do finally get pregnant, you may want to shout it from the rooftops! You may also want to hold tight to the news and only share it with a select few. Perhaps you will do both at some point. There’s no right or wrong here. It’s your news to share, when, and with whom you choose.
You may feel guilty about breaking promises to yourself.
It’s easy to make promises to yourself during your season of waiting. “I won’t complain if I feel sick. I’ll enjoy every single minute of my pregnancy. I’ll stay positive the entire time.” For some, pregnancy is a breeze! For others, though, pregnancy can be ridiculously hard. Nausea, fatigue, ligament pain, weight gain, lack of sleep, and swelling can make anyone cranky! It’s okay to vent, even if it’s because you finally got exactly what you wanted. You can be present with, and appreciate, every nuance of your pregnancy. But you don’t have to enjoy each one.
It may feel surreal.
Yes, that baby shower is for YOU. That baby registry with all the cute things is for YOUR baby. That’s YOU rocking that maternity dress. Welcome to YOUR gender reveal party. See that packed hospital bag by the door? That’s for the birth of YOUR sweet, soft, kissable little angel. It honestly may not feel real until you hold that babe in your arms.
Everyone’s Journey is Different
I had the privilege of speaking with some amazing mamas about their infertility journeys and want to share what they experienced when they were finally pregnant.
“I don’t think my pregnancy felt real until I felt my babe move for the first time. It was pure magic.”
“I don’t think it truly hit me that I was going to finally be a mother until I went for the hospital tour on week 34 and delivered at week 36.5 weeks!”
“At first, I wanted to wait quite a while before sharing our news, but then I just couldn’t take it anymore and we shared at 12 weeks. Being able to share our joy with those we loved was one of the greatest moments of my life.”
“The defining moment was the first ultrasound when we heard not one but two heartbeats. There was this indescribable sense of calmness and peace in the first few moments before the ecstatic joy and wonder of it all took over.”
“I think I was about five months pregnant before I really allowed myself to settle into the idea that it was real. I literally had a conversation with myself in the shower before every single doctor appointment preparing for the worst. A strange psychological thing perhaps, that even if I got the worst news, I would somehow survive, and it couldn’t be worse than the pain I had experienced leading up to IVF.”
“Knowing that the years of disappointment and pain were over was hard to comprehend. When I finally embraced the idea that this pregnancy was actually happening, the weight of the world fell off my shoulders.”
Give Yourself the Time, Space, and Grace to Heal
Putting infertility behind you isn’t a magical process that just happens. Give yourself time and space to heal and move forward. There’s no right or wrong emotion to experience when you finally become pregnant. If needed, speak with a counselor to help you navigate the myriad of emotions a pregnancy after infertility brings and be patient with yourself as you walk through each one.