It happens to other people. It won’t happen to me. We have a plan. There are a thousand variations of the same protest and I’ve said them all. For years. Ever since I was barely old enough to imagine that fuzzy way out there time where I would even be entertaining the idea of wanting to be a mother. I knew on some level, I always knew. It wasn’t going to be easy. The women in my family had problems. Hell. I was 15 and I already had problems. Things just never really… did what they were supposed to do.

It’s easy, at that age, to sweep it all under the rug and pump your fists defiantly in the air and insist that you don’t care because you don’t want kids any damn way. Too much to do! Big plans! You shrug your shoulders, move on, and believe with every fiber of your heart and soul that you don’t care. That it won’t matter because you aren’t the mothering type.

Even to this day, if someone didn’t really know you and were to only observe you around a baby, they would be fooled. You would trick them. Because you aren’t mushy. You aren’t gooey. Babies don’t make you swoon. Babies make you cry. Babies are hard to be around. Babies are a symbol of your failure, of the brokenness of your body, of the collapse of your womanhood.

But you know it and I know it. We know what you are hiding, what you are burying so deep inside. Because we feel like we have to. People don’t like to talk about it. It scares them and makes them uncomfortable. They don’t know how to look at us or how to respond. And so they say the stupidest possible thing. We’ve tried. We’ve tried to share, to educate, to make our voices heard. But on our own we are just a tiny peep.

Look around you. Are you one of us? Are you sitting next to one of us? Are we your sister? Cousin? Daughter? Aunt? Friend? Co-worker? Are we your wives or girlfriends? We number in the millions. We are each one of us strong but we are too often silent. We have developed hard shells. We are champions of coping and dealing and just getting through the day. We are told we are flawed, that it is our fault. They tell us stories of a friend of a friend of a sister of a cousin twice removed. Adoption! Relax! Vacation! We roll our eyes and change the subject because they have no idea. They have no concept of how strong we are and how we have struggled.

I know you. I know the lengths to which you will go. I know about the pain you will endure, the money you will spend, the toll it will take in your bedroom. I feel the pain that you will deal with month after month, the roller coaster of hope and longing and optimism and utter, crushing defeat. I feel the loss that will wreck your world Month in and month out. An endless cycle.

I recognize you. You are weary and sore from needles and examinations and endless doctor’s appointments and tests. You are moody and tired and feel like a stranger in your own body. A calendar has taken over your life and a doctor rules your bedroom. You want to scream and cry and kick and punch and you have to keep it all inside because it’s not okay to talk about it. It’s a silent disease. You keep quiet to protect your heart.

It’s not fair. You have so much to give, you have so much love. You are not the person who is supposed to struggle to be a mother. It’s not right. It happens to other people.

Bullshit.

It’s happening to me. And I am just one of 7.3 million.

National Infertility Awareness Week is April 24th through April 30th. This year’s theme is “Bust a Myth” and this post is being written and submitted as part of the “Bust a Myth Blogging Challenge”. For more information on infertility, please visit Resolve.org.