Over the past two weeks, I have biked over 630 miles to get to Washington D.C. I was born and raised in the mid-West with four brothers and four sisters. My whole life I have been a planner, making lists and writing out my life goals. By the time I was eight or nine years old I just knew that I was going to get married at the age of 19 and have five children by the time I was 30.
But as I got older, I realized that nothing goes according to plan.
Battling infertility has caused me to question my role as a woman, the origin of those life goals and truly debate what I wanted out of life, and has caused Danny and me to re-evaluate our own families future.
I have been biking since I was six years old, but I integrated it into my daily commuting life within the last two years. In fact, if you would have asked me about biking half-way across the country four months ago I would have thought you were joking. I spent a month and a half preparing for this trip and I frequently wondered if it would be enough. I put my whole heart into something that dawned on me in March.
Throughout my journey to DC, I wondered, “Is today going to be the day that breaks me?” Every day I encountered unfamiliar roads, headwinds, hills, sore muscles, and sometimes multiple flat tires (making The Leaky Tube name more literal with each flat I got). Every day I was reminded of my own mortality with each body of roadkill seemingly placed in my path, laying on the shoulder of the road. And every day I questioned why I decided that six weeks was enough time to be ready.
Now after four years of trying to start our family, each month I have asked myself, “Is this cycle going to be the cycle that breaks me?”
This journey is quite the roller coaster. Interlaced with anticipation and heartbreak that continually goes on repeat with each tried month. Trying to balance the pessimism that keeps me sane, mixed with the hope that allows me to feel that sun will come out tomorrow and keep pressing forward. The cycle that promises a two week wait (TWW) that will never go faster, the days seem longer and the 5 minutes waiting for a pregnancy test to return the answer feels like hours.
In a way that is the greatest realization to have come as a result of my bike ride. I have learned that I can keep enduring, that I am strong, that I can continue or pause or even stop when I am ready. Learning that I can rally myself with just a glance of my affirming bracelet, or my ridiculous chant of “I am fierce and I am fearless and I will not die today.”
While battling infertility caused me to realize I have little control over aspects of life, I do have control over how I deal with my circumstances and what is right for me, right now in this moment, and that might look different in a year or so from now and I realized that I have the ability to roll with the punches.
As I have gotten more involved in the infertility community I realize how I am among the strong and the brave; surrounded by those that continue fighting even when the odds aren’t stacked in their favor. As I learned by my involvement at Advocacy Day with RESOLVE, we are a family. We are among the men and women who understand the pain and the frustration. We understand that families come in all shapes and sizes and methods.
While we might be at different stages in our journey, different experiences and different diagnoses we remain firm in our desire to allow men and women to have a family. Which is one of the reasons I came to Washington D.C. to fight for those that have no support but desperately need it.