A not-so-easy story of becoming a mom, and all the things infertility makes you question in life
by Maria Benetos
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Confessions of a Misfit Mom is a weekly series by MINIMODE co-founder Maria Benetos about her (many) mis-adventures in being a mom, recorded and published to make you feel better about your own parenting life. You’re welcome.
I’ve always considered myself to be somewhat of a misfit – a person who does not conform to the rules, who questions everything and who sometimes simply does not fit in (or even if I do, I don’t really feel like I do). Yet at the same time I’m good at things, especially physical things and I thrive on the feeling of being able to control my body. So it was quite a surprise and a blow to me when I realized I could not get pregnant. Truth be told, I was never one of those girls jonesing to have a baby. They kind of scared me and I really couldn’t picture myself being a mom… until I couldn’t be one. Suddenly in my mind I was this massive failure, not only affecting my own life but also the guy who married me with the vision of us having kids running around the house.
And so began two years of getting poked and prodded, traipsing to the Upper East Side of Manhattan (anyone familiar with this city and who also lives in the West Village, I know you can sympathize) to meet with doctor after doctor, enduring hormones that quite literally turn you into a crazy person and dealing with the endless questions from friends and relatives. “When are you guys going to finally have a baby?” Uh, when my body cooperates with me?? Suitable answer? It’s a shame that our society tells us that we should keep such things as infertility a secret because if we did speak more openly about it I’m sure it would make a whole lot of women feel better about themselves. Or at least have a sounding board to vent all the insane things that happen to you when you’re trying to get that bun in the oven. Like the time Ian and I paid out of pocket to see what was supposedly one of the best docs in the city for this type of thing. I was working at Conde Nast and traveling a lot for my job but I was the fittest I’ve ever been, eating a clean diet and exercising regularly. I was actually quite proud of that despite my frantic schedule – it was almost like I was trying to tell the baby, “look, I made this ultra amazing environment for you to grow in!” It was therefore slightly soul-crushing then when the doctor said to me, “have you tried to maybe have some pizza and stay home for a bit,” alluding to my thin frame and (typical New York City) work schedule. Who knew Dominos was the solution to all my life’s problems – they should market that. There were so many things wrong with that statement I didn’t even know what to get most angry about. So I walked out of that office and vowed that I didn’t need this shit in my life and perhaps I didn’t need a baby in my life either.
Those feelings lasted a few months then I was back in the saddle, so to speak. I finally did get pregnant later that spring (yey!) only to miscarry shortly thereafter (seriously, universe??). It’s a rollercoaster; you start questioning what exactly you want out of life, what happiness really means to you and what it takes to live with that ultimate feeling – one of being content and fulfilled. Will a baby give you all that? Probably not but you convince yourself it’s the only answer. It also messes with your emotions, your heart breaking when you see others you know with their new babies… when all you really want to feel is happy for them.
It finally did happen for us and a healthy baby Kaia Isabel (pictured above) was born into this world… and suddenly life had a whole new set of challenges! I realize that many women don’t get the happy ending, and there’s no real advise I can offer that would mean anything to anyone. I guess I just wanted to share this to encourage others to talk openly about it because quite often all you need to know is that you’re not alone in something, and dealing with infertility may be one of the loneliest things you can go through. So no, this is not a story about a misfit but just simply a confession meant open up the conversation.