10 Ways Infertility Prepares You for Parenthood

Infertility sucks.  But, while it depresses you, drains your bank account and almost kills you in the short-term, in the long run it can be good preparation for parenthood.  Some might say it even makes you a better parent than you would have become otherwise, if you let it. Here’s how getting the short straw before becoming a parent can be a benefit, once you finally are one:

Infertility prepares you for:

1.  All of the doctors appointments you’ll have once you’re pregnant, and for your new baby.  In fact, while other women are complaining about how many appointments they have, you’ll be rejoicing at the reduction of the number of times you have to go, and at the pleasure of going for such an awesome reason.

2.  The discomforts of pregnancy.   You’re guaranteed to not complain about the fact that you can’t ride rollercoasters or jump on trampolines and you’re less likely to dwell on the aches and pains you will experience as you morph into a whaleish host.  You may already have experienced nausea, vomiting, bloating, surgeries, and/or severe pain from all of the medications, self-injections, ovarian cysts and medical procedures you’ve went through.  Infertility removes any feelings of entitlement and you will be less likely to take things for granted. Even things like peeing through your pants when you sneeze.

3.  Unsolicited questions and advice.  You’re used to dealing with questions about when you’re planning to have children, comments about how you better not wait too long, and advice about how “just relaxing” will cause you to conceive within the month, so you’ll be well prepared for strangers asking you when you’ll “pop” (looks like any day now!), and telling you that formula feeding is basically the equivalent to poisoning your child.  Idiocy abounds.

4. Random stranger’s hands on your belly.  Just remember:  SO much better than the dildo camera.

5.  Dealing with any doubts or qualms about  becoming “tied down” with a child. Infertility gives you time to realize how badly you want to become a parent, so you don’t waste any precious time with your baby wishing you were still childless and “free”.

6.  How difficult parenthood is.  Infertility is hard.  Parenting is even harder.  The struggles you experience beforehand will help ease you into the time-consumption, expenses and exhaustion you’ll be graced with later.

7.  Working through with challenges and hard times with your spouse. Think of this as a litmus test for your relationship.

8.  The unknown.  Infertility reminds you that nothing is a guaranteed and any luck or happiness that happens to fall into your lap is a gift.

9.  All of the worrying. When you’re faced with horrible or scary scenario involving your child, instead of thinking that this is the worst thing that could ever happen to you, you know that the most horrific thing would really be not being in this situation in the first place. You’ll still panic (EVERY DAY), but at least there’s some sort of cosmic retribution for all of the anxiety you experienced before you had kids.

10.  Being a more empathetic person. People who have been through battles of their own tend to be kinder, more compassionate, more helpful to others. All traits any good parent wants to possess and model for their child.  Of course, this is only true if you don’t remain so bitter that you’re unable to see that others with different problems have had different battles to fight.

Infertility prepares you for parenthood in countless ways.

Infertility prepares you for parenthood in countless ways.

If you liked this post, you may also like my other infertility and pregnancy posts.

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Parenting: Reasons to Panic #2: The Sleeping Newborn

I have vivid memories of Mr. Grouch, in his college apartment, during muggy summer months.  I can picture him, stripped down to his whitie tighties, sprawled across his twin bed, with the oscillating fan one centimeter from his toes, the soggy air leaving him too lethargic to move. A sexy, sweaty, beast.  The two of us are different in so many ways but in this way we are oh so much the same.  Wait, not in the sweaty beast way.  Well, actually, yes, in the sweaty beast kind of way.  What I mean is, neither one of our bodies can adequately handle the oppressive heat of July, August, September.  Our air conditioning runs on high all summer long and we keep our home chilled enough to be able to walk around the house in jeans and hoodies.  We do not like to be sweaty beasts.

So, when Baby Grouch was born, in the fierceness that is August, as ridiculous as it seems, we felt the need to put a little heater in her bedroom.  You turn on the heater, and then set it to the appropriate temperature, which, in our case, was around 71 degrees, and it has it’s own internal thermostat.  At the time of this episode, Baby Grouch was a couple of months old and was sleeping 3-4 hours at a stretch.

The first night she slept for 6 hours, I woke up, in a panic.  I got that surge of adrenaline that I had become so accustomed to, every time she woke me with her squeaks and squawks, but this time it was because she was quiet.

IS SHE OKAY?

Shrouded with the fear of sudden infant death syndrome, I hurried to her room, and opened the door and a wave of heat hit me in the face.

Then the REAL panic started.

OMG OMG OMG IT’S TOO HOT OMG OMG OMG I COOKED MY BABY OMG OMG GREATER RISK FOR SIDS WHEN IT’S TOO HOT OMG OMG I COOKED MY BABY “HUN! GET UP! THE BABY’S TOO HOT. TOOO HOOOOTTT!”

I was screaming and yelling and flipped on all the lights; I opened the windows and took Baby Grouch from her crib and removed her from the sweltering room and laid her in the hallway all the while still yelling panicked nonsense at my husband.  I unswaddled her and took her teeny tiny body out of the sack.  My heart was pounding out of my ears.  Just because she feels warm right now, doesn’t mean she’s okay.

She opened her eyes.

OMG OMG OMG “SHE’S OKAY!  SHE’S OKAY!”  I’m still screaming. Out loud, not just in my head.

This all happened within a matter of seconds and Mr. Grouch wasn’t even out of bed yet.  Er…he may or may not have been laying in bed, watching me silently while giving me the, you’re-such-a-freaking-crazy-hormonal-wife-I-don’t-even-know-what-to-do-with-you-right-now look.  He said calmly, “I think you forgot to set the thermostat on the heater”.  Indeed, I did.  It was over 80 degrees in that bedroom (probably 20 degrees warmer than the rest of the house) and for weeks I was sick about it.

Looking back, I think about that college apartment in the summer and how we didn’t have central air.  I realize that many people, in summer months, allow their houses to reach heinously high temperatures (and some even enjoy it.  What??).  Some of them probably even have babies that sleep there with them, that are okay.

What panicky sleep stories do you have of your newborn?

Still Sleeping