When I first heard that Keiko Zoll known as The Infertility Voice was pregnant I shouted a great big “YES”!!! from my chair! You can learn about all of the best and worst things the quickest through Facebook! I also learned that there had been an earth quake in Boston! But Keiko’s pregnancy was big news. She has been a leading voice in the infertility community for a good number of years now. A true grass roots advocate, out there in the trenches telling her story of infertility to the world, and in that place of deep vulnerability allowing others not to feel alone.
You would think that her announcement would just be one of happiness and joy. A moment of personal victory – pure and stand alone in it’s beauty. But it wasn’t just that. It was also filled with an undertone of apology for not failing. A careful dance of not wanting her hard won success to be a source of pain for any one of her readers that are still trying.
I wept again, when I read her lines from her blog:
“I am fully aware that the instant I typed “I’m pregnant,” the entire dynamic of this blog has changed. For many of you, I know the simultaneous joy and sadness that comes in seeing those words on another blog.
For those of you still waiting, still hoping: I have thought about you almost every second since I got the good news. It was thinking about you that caused me to write this over and over and over again, because I know how incredibly painful this post can be to read. I have worked very hard to cultivate an ALI-sensitive environment here because I care so deeply about each of you and I know that this very post really tests those emotional limits.
I know, because I’ve been there too. And I remember how I was at once both joyful and sad readings posts like these, longing for my own announcement one day, typing “congrats” and “mazel tov” through the tears. Believe me, I know now: I’m typing through tears as I write this post, in it’s tenth iteration at this point.
While this blog is very much about me and my family building journey, a chronicle of my life through the lens of infertility, it also exists for the infertility community and for each and every one of you. It has never been – and will never be – my intention to hurt any of you.”
Too often in the infertility community, we have survivors guilt. We have to apologize for getting where all of us want to go. I remember too clearly an “Infertility and Adoption Conference” that I ran around 1988 at Mount Sinai Hospital. I was pregnant with my first child after many years of infertility. There was a big controversy about whether or not I should be allowed to welcome the audience from the podium because I was “showing”. It was awful. I felt shamed for achieving what everybody else wanted. Was my belly a symbol of hope? Or was I about to be stoned to death for my pregnancy? That truly was the feeling in my organization at that time. I remember getting up and standing belly proud in front of 500 people trying to get pregnant, and apologizing for my pregnancy. Reassuring everyone that I had suffered plenty and that my miracle didn’t replace there miracle. That indeed there was No Last Miracles“.
I know of “infertility friendships”that have ended because of pregnancy or adoption. I know of people who have not been allowed to participate in an infertility program because of a belly bump. And I would love this to end in our community.
Keiko Zoll is having a baby! Let’s throw up the confetti and eat cake! For a moment, let’s not apologize or feel bad in anyway. A woman who has advocated for all us, is having her turn. Let it be a turn that allows all of us that are still trying to feel love for a fellow warrior, and put our own stuff away. Keiko is now going to be on a new journey, one that we can all learn from. Pregnancy after infertility is different too! So is parenting after infertility! And Keiko is going to have to find her way as a voice of success and a voice of the community. We don’t always have to be in pain to lead, and to speak of our experiences. I know this to be true, as I have been leading in the world of infertility advocacy through my years of trying, failure, pregnancy, and raising children.
Infertility changes you forever. I am celebrating every pregnancy and adoption. No survivors guilt please. Let’s have only joy in these moments.
There has been plenty of sadness. Congratulations Keiko! I am looking forward to watching and reading all about this next leg of your journey!
And no apologies please!