Two little red lines. That's all it takes to change your life.
It was father's day. I had just come home from a trip to Disney World, followed immediately by a whirlwind car-buying weekend in Vancouver. My period was a week late, but I didn't think much about it, chalking it up to the stress of travel and car shopping. My period had been a week late before (many times) after all, all for naught.
Despite my certainty that there was no "reason" for my late period, I took a pregnancy test. I have a large ziplock bag full of cheap ones that I bought off eBay another life-time ago. A lifetime in which I was trying to get pregnant, and talking to a small handful of fertility specialists, and being diagnosed with "unexplained infertility". 5 years of of my life-- gone.
My husband and I gave up trying 2 years ago. I remember the moment clearly. We were driving to catch a ferry on a gorgeous autumn day. My 30th birthday hung a few months off in the distance. I had spent half a decade at that point pursuing the dream of having children, and with each year that passed it seemed more and more impossible. All the doctors we saw, who scratched their heads, and could not explain the reason for our infertility pushed us towards IVF-- an option that seemed too invasive & depleting (financially & emotionally) for us. Anyone who has "tried" to have a baby for longer than 6 months knows how hard it is. It's a road wrought with frustration, disappointment, shame, isolation, self-loathing, jealousy, sadness, and rage. It is all encompassing & it takes its toll. I was done.
As we sat in line to board that ferry, and I contemplated turning 30 and what I wanted for the next decade of my life, I knew one thing for sure:: I did not want to waste the first half of my 30's "trying" to have a baby, in the same way I felt like I wasted the last half of my 20's "trying" to have one. I decided then and there that when I turned 30, I was done. When I turned 30 a few months later, I would give up the ghost. I would accept that children just weren't in our cards, and we would embrace all the many positive aspects of a life without children (and there truly are many joys to a child-free life).
I turned 30 on March 5, 2014. In the months that followed, I made the decision to 'come out' to our family with my infertility struggles, and to confess that likely we would not be having children. As many people with infertility do, I had kept this aspect of my life very private. There is a shame that surrounds infertility that I cannot quite describe. For me it was born out of a desire for people not to "feel sorry" for me. I told only my very nearest friends about my struggle, and allowed everyone else to think that I just didn't want children yet.
When we told our families that we were infertile, and that no, we wouldn't be pursuing IVF, and that there was a good possibility that we would not be a source of grandchildren/nieces/nephews, we were met with love & support. Family members who had, up until then, been asking us routinely about when we would be having children (because we had not been open with them yet about our struggles) immediately stopped it with the pressure and cajoling, and embraced us as we were-- child-free. We all began the process of moving on and accepting that Tamara & Jerred would likely remain a family of 2. It was liberating for me in the truest possible sense of the word. I felt whole.
And then Father's Day 2016 happened.