Deceptive, isn’t it? Especially since I look like I did when I was three or four months pregnant…but there’s NO baby in there.
Let me start by saying that these pictures are probably some of the most vulnerable pictures I’ve ever taken, and CERTAINLY the most I’ve ever shared.
When my husband saw them briefly the other day, I hurried to get them out of his view.
After seventeen years of marriage…you’d think there aren’t many secrets my body holds.
But there are.
I’m 41. In 15 years, I’ve had a couple of adoption situations that didn’t work out.
Six failed IUIs.
Five fresh IVF transfers.
One canceled IVF cycle.
Two full-term pregnancies.
One pregnancy that ended at 13 weeks.
Some cancer scares that have warranted the end of any hopes for another child to be born of this body.
I have the honor and privilege of raising one amazing little boy.
But my infertility, and the residual scars it’s given?
Always a part of me. Body and mind.
Infertility doesn’t end when or if you get pregnant.
Infertility doesn’t end when or if you get to bring a living child home.
Infertility doesn’t end if you are able to adopt as many children as the Old Woman In The Shoe.
Infertility doesn’t end. It hides inside of you, always waiting to rear its head at the most inopportune time.
Typically when you want nothing but to scream with joy for someone else’s happiness, but instead?
Your heart sinks and your gut knots and you put on a brave face one.more.time.
You can be completely and utterly content and thrilled with the blessings in your life and then–BAM.
Something as ‘normal’ as watching a woman tie her four-year-old’s shoe in the Target checkout line is enough to throw you for a loop.
And when your body is as mine… when it betrays you in looks because of the surgeries you’ve had?
Always looks pregnant when in actuality, it never will be again?
You can’t escape it.
I’m 4’11” and barely 100 pounds.
Most look at me and think I am the teeniest thing on the planet and WISH they had my ‘weight problem.’
I know. I know I’m little.
I know I’m small. I see myself realistically.
Most of me is admittedly petite.
But what I also see?
What I see and the rest of the world doesn’t because I desperately, desperately hide it with every.single.breath I take?
A stomach that always looks a few months pregnant.
A stomach that mocks me… looking as it did when I was pregnant, but being empty.
And not by my own choosing.
A reminder of what should have been, was nearly impossible to achieve, what will never be again and what will always haunt me.
Infertility, and the emotional and physical effects it has, shape a woman in ways that last a lifetime.
Infertility is a relentless and invisible disease.
And, empty-wombed–I’m what it looks like.
I’m small, but scrappy! I have a fierce passion for my family, friends and life in general…I’m a military spouse who has battled infertility for over 13 years, as well as the loss of two babies gone too soon. I love to laugh, and am grateful for every second I celebrate with the ones I love. You can find me at my blog Lori Does Maryland or on Facebook Lori Mullins Ennis or on The Twitter here Lori M. Ennis