I got pregnant with my daughter Mari literally the first month that we went off birth control. We had no idea that we had practically won the lottery. This is one of many things in my life that came really easily, and now, looking back, I have such an appreciation for that gift. I had a really easy pregnancy and a quick delivery. Everything went so smoothly. That was my understanding of what it takes to have a baby.
My husband and I argued about having another baby right away. He wanted to wait and I was a little worried that it might take a while. By the time we were in agreement, Mari had just turned one. Six months later, we both went in to have everything checked out, but decided to keep trying on our own for little while longer. I had a suspicion things weren’t working, though, and I was becoming more and more frustrated and less patient with every passing day.
We went through over two years of fertility treatments; I would have complications between each cycle and have to wait to start another one. I remember hearing the stats that it takes most women 3 rounds of IVF to get pregnant and my brain saying, “Oh but that won’t be you, it won’t be that hard.” Wrong. It was really hard.
It’s a funny thing when you have one child, everyone just assumes that you can have another. Everyone including me. There wasn’t a day that went by that someone didn’t ask me when I was going to have another baby. I understand it seems like a simple question, but now I’m super careful not to ask anyone when they are going to have a baby -- you just never really know what they’re going through. It’s not something that you can read on a woman’s face. I cringe whenever I hear someone asking a stranger when she’s going to have kids.
By the time we started IVF, I was really afraid to even get my hopes up, and was really guarded when friends would ask me about how it was going. It wasn’t really going too well. My coping mechanism is to keep my head down and focus on other things in my life.
In the middle of this process, I decided to leave my career in fashion. It was for many reasons, but a big part of me thought that if I would “relax” and “focus,” I could will myself to get pregnant. Not so. I just went batshit crazy with nothing to do but try unsuccessfully to get pregnant.
I had so many friends get pregnant during this time. Some of them easily and some of them struggled, like me. It was always hard because I really wanted to be happy for them, but it hurt. It was a reminder that I wasn’t pregnant.
I spent a lot of time biting my tongue as girls who had just the month before commiserated with me on our struggle suddenly joined the ranks of the “If you would just relax, and stop trying” team. They would literally have been bitching about, “How can people say that to me?” And then they’d turn around and say the same thing to me. That was really the worst offense, those who know what it’s like and then say thoughtless things. I tried not to talk to those people, who had clearly forgotten the raw nerve and the awful feeling of being told that this was partly your fault -- that if you would just relax you would be pregnant too.
But I think something happens to your brain when you get pregnant, it makes you lose sight of whatever struggles you went through to get there. I’ve already forgotten the months of getting shots in my butt every night, unless you bring it up. Getting up in the dark to hit the IVF clinic before work. I think that must be what happens, women get pregnant and the hormones make them forget what it was like to try unsuccessfully.
Then there are those people that try to hide when others get pregnant, to “save” your feelings. But it just makes you feel like people are whispering about you. It’s all so hard. I think the best thing to do is be honest, and not act like you’ve figured something out just because you got pregnant. To me, it’s all a lot of luck. I certainly didn’t figure anything out, and I just kept trying.
I found out I was pregnant when heymama was really starting to take off. Yes, I was busy and distracted, but I know 100% that I didn’t get pregnant because I wasn’t stressing about it! I was not in a Zen place at all. But it was good having something else to focus on and such an amazing business partner and friend to support me through the whole thing. Katya really just let me do my thing and didn’t ask me too many questions unless I brought it up, which is really what I wanted.
When I found out I was pregnant I didn’t want to tell anyone, I felt like if I said it out loud it might not be true. It’s like I’ve been holding my breathe for 9 months, and it’s just now that I’m bumping into things with my belly and undeniable that there’s a little person in there that I’m able to enjoy it.
I totally look at it as a miracle, and it’s really just sinking in now that I’m weeks away from my due date that this is actually happening. My husband jokes that I’m the most unprepared pregnant woman he has ever met, especially since I spent so long trying to get pregnant.
I would tell other women struggling with this to seek out other women who are either going through the process or have gone through it. Try to see it as process that can be long, and don’t look at it as month-by-month struggle that can suddenly end if you get pregnant that month. I find that helps with the ups and downs, because even when you get pregnant there is still a long road emotionally to go through. Look at it as something you have to commit to and see through to the end.
Written by Amri Kibbler. Amri is the co-founder of heymama.
Original photography by Amy Frances Photography for Well Rounded NY.
Amri is wearing a Mitera Collection dress.