Christine Brown and her husband Ethan have been struggling with infertility since 2012, and PCOS since last year. She started an Instagram page to document her progress, and recently came forward to share it with her family and friends. No one in ‘real life’ knew. She found so much support from women online that were in her same situation.
You feel ashamed, and embarrassed. Envious of people who seem to be getting pregnant without even trying, or even on accident. How do you even get pregnant on accident? During your intense research, you have learned women are ONLY really fertile two days out of the month, and ONLY when you have a regular 28-day cycle. Yep, two days. It’s a miracle that people are even born at all.
Meanwhile, you are weeping. You are praying. You are timing intercourse, which really adds to the sexy mystique that you’ve been cultivating over the years. You are awkwardly lifting your legs up to help those little swimmers find that egg that may or may not be there. Super romantic. You know all about cervical mucus, and BBT charting. You are eating pineapple cores by the dozen, not the sweet part of the pineapple, no, no, but the cores that are hard as rocks and break your teeth.
By now, more people have looked in your vagina than have contemplated the Mona Lisa’s smile. You are wondering if this is all worth it. Feeling selfish that you want a child of your own, from your own body, when you just passed the homeless woman whose pregnant belly was showing in her crop-top. You are raging that she, SHE gets to have a baby, when you have all of the resources to provide.
“So you don’t talk about it. The sadness, the desolation, the pit of depression. The darkness no one understands. Infertility. The thief of joy. You plaster on a strained smile at baby showers, and scroll past pregnancy announcements on Facebook and Instagram. It sucks. And you cry. And you scream into your pillow. And you cry. And it sucks. And it sucks. And it sucks.”
Christine has been on this journey for 5 years. Watching people pass into motherhood. she stands ring-side, waiting to be tagged in. In these testing years, she was chosen to be a Godmother to 3, and is an aunt 23 times over. Christine has hosted sleepovers, changed their diapers, and babysat. She has felt close to motherhood, but yet still so far. In these waiting years she also started her business, Fawn, where everything is about babies. Christine has poured her heart into making items for little ones all over the world that she will never see.
A year ago, Christine started an Instagram page to talk about her experience. No one knew. Not her friends, family, or even her husband. It was meant to be anonymous. A place where she could say what she wanted, where no one she knew would ever, ever find her. Wrong. Because the internet gets better at gathering information everyday, as slowly people she knew started to find her, and even leave comments. At first, she was horrified. Her not-so-secret secret was out. Her life was laid bare in some of those posts. Now people would know what a failure she was, how scared she was, how godless she felt.
She wanted to go back and erase and edit what she had written, but she didn’t. If people wanted to really know what it’s like, then they would keep reading. The people who loved her, people who were her friends, would at least try and understand. Then, literally the day after her mom signed up for Instagram, her profile popped up. She clicked Follow. She found her. That’s what did it.
Christine thought she would be upset that she was hiding things, that she went to the internet to talk about her problems instead of to her. But in true best mother fashion, she wasn’t mad. She was understanding. She was encouraging. Then she shared the page with her husband, who was equally surprised and supportive. After all, he had been living this with her for all these years. Driving with her to Dr. appointments, consoling her when her period came, signaling another month lost. He dealt with her moods. He got down in the pit with her and helped her back up. He prayed for her. He didn’t complain. He didn’t leave.
“I’m sharing this now because if there is someone going through this, I want to tell you that I get it. I can stand with you, rage with you, cry with you and pray with you. I can even commiserate and sarcastically joke with you. I’m excellent at that. I want to come forward now, so someone else has the opportunity to say “Me too!” You are not alone.”
Christine & Ethan B.