Today is the 18th anniversary of my infertility. I remember it because it was a day when my life changed forever. I thought I should write a letter to my younger self, what I would have told myself 18 years ago when I first heard of the devastating news.
Dear Young Andreia,
You’re just waking up, and you don’t know it yet but today is a very important day. You have grown into a beautiful young girl, 17 years of age, full of hopes and dreams and today all those things will be challenged.
You are going to the doctor today and you will be told that you will never be able to carry your own child. In that moment the floor underneath your feet will disappear, the world around you will be a blur, and lots of questions will come to your mind but you won’t be able to articulate them. Your heart will break and with tears in your eyes you will ask for your Mom.
“So I won’t be able to get pregnant?”, you will ask a couple of times, as if waiting a different response from the doctor.
You will find comfort in your parents’ arms but they too will be suffering, trying to understand what it means, wondering whether they have done something wrong. And tonight, when you come to bed, your head will be tired, your eyes will be red-raw from crying and you won’t be able to sleep.
The following days, weeks, months, years won’t be easy. You will feel lost, that you don’t belong, that you don’t fit in. You will feel that life isn’t fair and ask multiple times “Why me?” The pain of your broken heart will always be present. There will be times when that pain will get worse. Maybe you’ll hear about someone you know getting pregnant, or you’ll be holding a baby in your arms or seeing your parents engaging with other children, or you will speak with an old lady about the challenges of being childless. These situations will remind you of what you’ll never have for yourself and of what you’ll never be able to give to your partner, parents and family. The pain will be inevitable and deep.
This journey that starts today, will change you. And as difficult as it may seem, I want you to embrace this change and trust that this journey is necessary. With time, you will rebuild yourself, gain strength and create this new identity, more resilient, able to conquer everything you set yourself to achieve. With time you will learn how to cope with it, you will learn to embrace it as part of that new identity of yours and you will use it to grow as a human being.
Make the promise today, that as difficult as it’ll be to hear the news, you will not give up. You are so much stronger, you just don’t know it yet. You are young, just 17. Promise that you will use this challenge and transform it in a triumph. Promise that you will use this energy to make something big, to aim for the stars.
I can tell you that in 18 years time you will be happy. You will have found some answers. And you will be at peace with the answers that will still be missing. You will have found deep connection and love. You will have achieved so many things and still be aiming for so many more.
You will have grown stronger, more resilient. You will be driven and ambitious but still compassionate and soft. You will have met other people in similar and different journeys. You will be making a difference in these people’s lives. Your infertility will keep you grounded and at the same time will push you towards the stars. You will have found your meaning in life.
So when you go to the doctor today, cry, mourn the loss. But remember that there is a light guiding you and this journey will take you to a brilliant future with peace, love, joy and gratitude with everything and everyone around you.
With Love from your 35 year-old self,