Dear younger me, by Cathie Quillet

I am going to teach you something that may sound a little bit scary to you.

One day, when you’re a grown up, you are going to encounter something called infertility. Don’t be afraid, sweet girl. Infertility won’t kill you but it will certainly challenge you. I want to tell you about it because the only time in your life that you may get to be a mommy is when you play house.

I know that those to whom you will one day be attracted still have cooties. Right now, tagging them on the playground is endearingly the language of friendship.

One day your desires for their attention will change but please enjoy your youth now.

You will want it back one day. The freedom of older peers may seem attractive, but beware – with age comes responsibility and the potential for more heartache.

I love the creativity you are expressing through your play as you whimsically twirl around your make believe kitchen. With a doll on your hip, you instruct your girlfriends (ie. children in your current make-believe story) that they need to do their homework and chores before daddy gets home. It’s so cute that you’re so beautifully emulating what you see your mom do everyday.

Listen, I know you want to be just like her when you grow up. You are starting to write the script for your life that you already expect to come true.

I want to encourage you to dream away, precious spirit. However, life has taught me that dreams sometimes hurt. Grown ups tell you to dream big dreams, but here’s a short caveat: dream, but hold those dreams loosely. I don’t want life to hurt you too bad.

Auntie Marie just told you that she’s pregnant and that a baby is going to grow inside of her tummy.

So, you stand in front of your full-length-mirror and put your blanket up your dress. After all, you have always wanted to be just like her. You practice her walk so why not practice looking like her, too. Oh, darling.

Being programmed into your brain right now is that if you are a woman you get to have a baby in your tummy.

Listen to me when I say, that you are almost correct. A lot of women do get to have a baby in their tummy. The sad reality is that some women really, really want a baby in their tummy but they may never get to. That’s called infertility. Society thinks that infertility is a problem with the person but it is actually a medical problem. You may actually buy into the lie that it is a problem with you but it is not. I promise!

So, put that pillow up your dress and dance around. Enjoy pretending because that is what you are supposed to do when you’re young. Know that you would be a superb mom, just like Auntie is going to be. Enjoy all of those girlfriends around you as they sing you “Happy Birthday” before you make a wish and blow out your candles. They all love you and celebrate friendship as you do life together. You eat your cake and then do cannonballs back into the pool.

You are all running life’s race at the same speed right now. You will graduate together and generally meet all the same milestones at the same time.

You may get married around the same time and then chit chat about how fun it would be to raise babies together.

So, you try. They try. They are excited to tell you that they’re expecting. For the next few months, you hold onto the dream that you’ll be able to raise your babies together. Then, they have junior and you’re still waiting. More waiting. More friends have babies to hold while you just have urine-soaked-sticks-of-shame to hold. You’ll know what I mean when you’re older.

You are not a failure in comparison to those friends. You’ll want to compare because, well, you’re a girl. It will absolutely do you no good, I promise you that.

You are no less of a woman and you would be just as great of a mom.

Hold onto your pride as you go to doctors appointments, buy more ovulation sticks and cry in department store restrooms because you’ve started your period. Those moments may leave you feeling lonely and make you want to hide from other women. Fight that instinct to hide. You need women around you to carry you through those moments. They may have exactly what you want but they are also what you need.

When infertility comes, remember that it’s not your fault.

Yes, you have tried to keep pregnancy away for a long time making you believe that you had any control over the reproductive process. It is all sorts of deceptive and confusing but you have not done anything to deserve this. You have not done anything to cause this. It is not your fault. Infertile women think they have to be quiet and not talk about the pain, but there are more struggling women out there than you think.

Finally, you are going to be okay. When infertility weaves itself into your story, you are going to feel like life as you know it is over. You will have the opportunity in that moment to write a new plot line for your life. This new you will have more strength and courage than you did before but you are going to have to fight for it. She will be more resilient.

Be kind to yourself. Trust your instincts.

You may have to dig down deep to find enough bravery to get through each cycle but you will find it. You will get through it and it will make you a better woman.

Regardless of what happens in life, don’t let anyone or anything steal your sparkle! Shine, girlfriend. Shine!
Love, You

Cathie Quillet is the author of the book ‘Not Pregnant’. You can also follow Cathie on instagram @notpregnantbook.


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