It still startles me that people make babies with sex. Privately. Easily. Fast. Then there’s a birth, and no one looks back. For me, like many women, conception was an agonized, un-caffeinated blur of escalating medical procedures, followed by a pregnancy that seemed to last not the actual 36 weeks, but rather the whole 36 months it took to get there. The physical and emotional strain of those years lingers on into motherhood, like an inner mark as real as my C-section scar. Strange as it sounds, I feel more changed by the trials of infertility than by the transition to parenting — and that’s saying something, with my toddler twin boys turning 2 this month.
I still identify with infertility, as if it were a chip I’d been given in AA, though in AA, you can stay forever, whereas with the “TTC” community — “trying to conceive,” in online parlance — you leave the minute you succeed. Parents of multiples flock together and offer tremendous support, both tactical and abstract, and many of the twin moms I know probably conceived like I did, with DNA mixed in dishes and delivered by needle. Nevertheless, issues of post-infertility stress aren’t explicitly broached. Most twin parents practice prison code: you don’t ask what anyone else did to get there.
When I lived in TTC-land, I had a term for mothers prone to excess oversharing: vagina ladies. Into this category fell any woman who used Christmas parties to talk about the details of gory birth or tricky breastfeeding, while childless me wiggled one leg nervously at the dessert table, gobbling a Santa cookie. How much were you dilated? My nipples cracked and bled! Even before I knew the extent of my infertility, I didn’t think that baby-driven hardships should be so defining.
In reward for my foolish assumption, fate has deemed that I become a vagina lady myself. This is another odd dimension of my post-TTC existence — becoming someone who would have once greatly annoyed me. I’ve got my double-wide stroller, the kind that used to make me shudder. Though I consider my twins a miracle, I like the miracle to sleep, and I sometimes complain when the miracle wears me out. Once, I would have considered this akin to whining about how my pile of money was so heavy it hurt my back to lift it.
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Article: 5th January 2013 www.huffingtonpost.com