Forgiving Myself Is The Hardest Thing To Do

A couple of week’s ago, while lying in bed one Sunday evening, me cradling my Kindle and Walter watching a show on Discovery channel about pregnancy and birth, he suddenly turned to me and asked me if I felt like something was missing or if I had missed out on something by not getting to experience a full term pregnancy and birth. The question floored me, mostly because I don’t like to go there, I don’t like to lift the band aid and peer and the proverbial wound healing underneath.

But Walter’s totally out of the blue question kind of forced me to have a long hard look at that wound and to answer his questions honestly. And the answer is yes and no.

No, because I wouldn’t change a thing about what I have now. No because I love Ava with all my heart and know that there is no way possible for me to love her any more than I do. No because I wouldn’t change a thing about our adoption experience, it was beautiful and perfect in every way.

And yes. Yes because I’m not sure I’ll ever feel completely and fully a woman without getting to experience everything that epitomizes femininity and being all woman is, without that pregnancy and birth experience.  Because that is such a large part of what makes a woman a woman and one of the things that separates us and makes us different from men. My uterus is just an empty shell, a pretty pointless organ taking up space in my abdomen with little to no purpose. It can create life, but it cannot sustain it, instead it will repeatedly strangle the miracle of any life that is nestled inside it.

Admitting these things was hard, but it was also a big aha moment and I realize that a lot of how I see myself is linked to my barrenness, most especially the issue I have surrounding femininity , I never feel feminine, I’m always concerned about coming across as butch or masculine and I think a lot of this has to do with my seemingly useless girly bits.

Now I know all you pregnant ladies out there are going to say, I’m missing out on nothing, I’ve heard a thousand times how uncomfortable and unpleasant pregnancy can be, how painful and scary birth is, what hard work breast feeding is but can you imagine now having the liberty of choice?


When I read tweets and FB updates about birth experiences, and pregnancy diaries, about feeling babies first movements in utero, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t experience a pang of sadness, wondering what that must feel like. But I try not to dwell on it because it is so painful.

Thinking about all over this over the last few weeks and then discussing with a couple of IF friends on Wednesday, one of whom is currently pregnant with her second baby and another a fellow adoptive mom, I realized that I have not forgiven my body for it’s ultimate betrayal and I’m not sure I’ll ever find the place of forgiveness either.

Instead I abuse my body, I punish it and abuse and don’t take any care of it and it’s because I’ve not forgiven it.

While chatting with my friends, I began to realize that pregnancy and live birth for an infertile are very much a part of the healing and forgiving process and that perhaps for those of us who have adopted, who don’t get to experience the pregnancy and birth, perhaps the road to closure and forgiveness is a longer one.

Regardless, I peered under the band aid after Walter’s question and there was still a  bloody, oozing, wound underneath, I have a long way to go to fully recover from what I’ve experienced,  I have a long road to travel before I’ll be able to forgive my body for failing.

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  • Reply Jeanette


    January 25, 2013 at 9:59 am
  • Reply cupcakemummy

    When I read this I feel more than just a little guilty that I got to experience it and you didn’t because I hated every moment of being pregnant. it was horrible, uncomfortable, painful and I nearly died. It doesn’t help you bond with your child, or it didn’t help me anyway. I feel guilty that someone like you who would love to be pregnant can’t where as someone like me got to and hated it.

    January 25, 2013 at 10:14 am
  • Reply Melinda

    One step at a time….

    January 25, 2013 at 10:14 am
  • Reply Sian

    I am definitely plan to write my own post on this one, but I wanted to add…..It was really difficult for me to admit that a pregnancy would have ultimately helped me to ‘make friends’ with my body again. One of those real brutal truths. But even so, I would never ever ever ever swap a pregnancy for my precious boy. Ever!!

    January 25, 2013 at 10:19 am
  • Reply CalT

    I have been going through the exact same thing the past few weeks 🙁 And I feel so many of the same things. I am glad I am not the only one who is experiencing this because at the moment I feel so isolated with what I am feeling. My heart still aches at pregnancy announcements, scan pics, etc and for the last few weeks I have really been struggling with what I never got to have and what I came so close to having and yet it was still so far away.. And feeling like this makes me feel so guilty because I also love my two boys so dearly and wouldn’t change our adoption experiences for anything but no matter how much I know I am a mom, I still don’t feel like I fit into that category. I try so hard to convince myself that being pregnant isn’t what my ideal thoughts make it out to be, that giving birth, breastfeeding etc is not easy, but it never takes away that longing, that lump in my throat, that dreaming… I don’t know if I will ever get over it and yet I so wish I would.

    January 25, 2013 at 10:30 am
  • Reply Fairy Girl

    Love and hugs xoxo

    January 25, 2013 at 10:45 am
  • Reply Denise

    Sharon, I know exactly what you mean about abusing your body and and not being able to forgive yourself for its failures. I think all IF girls go through that to different degrees. I abused my body with food and alcohol and managed to gain 18kg in 18months. I’ve since lost half of that weight and feel like I’m on the road to forgiveness but not fully there yet and possibly may never get there.
    A huge source of inspiration was a book by Marianne Williamson she of the poem “our greatest fear” that Nelson Mandela quoted. Her book is (poorly in my opinion) titled A course in weight loss. I gave my copy to a friend of mine who is in fact underweight and hates her body because the book guides you to look at yourself differently and forgive yourself.
    Each chapter comes with a bit of ‘homework’ like anointing yourself in oil for example. It has really changed a lot of how I think about myself and my tendency to abuse myself has lessened.
    Not gone but certainly lessened.
    Do yourself a favour and read this book. She is a wonderful insightful author and there isn’t a single word about diet or what to eat or what to avoid. It is simply about learning to appreciate the amazing things our body CAN do.

    January 25, 2013 at 11:10 am
  • Reply Cat@jugglingactoflife

    Oh Sharon, I can imagine. But be assured, you never come accross as butch or whatever you may think. You are a beautiful stylish feminine woman. I always think you look so beautifully groomed. I know this makes nothing better, but I have to say it. I know the healing has to come from the inside, but be assured the outside is beautiful

    January 25, 2013 at 2:12 pm
  • Reply Tarryn

    Your story is so inspirational. It makes a compelling case for adoption. On our family 2 of my cousins and 2 of my husband’s cousins are adopted, but they are so much a part of us that people have no idea!

    January 26, 2013 at 6:47 pm
  • Reply sophie

    Hey Sharon, thanks for this interesting post.
    I used to abuse my body a lot … anorexia, drug addiction, etc. I journeyed through a long road to loving my body. My DH’s love and loving way to look at me, was the best medicine I could ever have had. Thanks God, for sending him my way. Also, yoga and massage were good tools to regulate my weight, stop smoking etc. So, when I got into IF and ART treatment, which in itself is kind of abusive with all its shots and drugs., I made sure, I continued to stick to the tools that made me feel good.

    By now, I do not hate myself for being IF. I do not feel like I missed out on something by not being pregnant and deliver cause I realized, when I was listening to some “fertile mums of homemade babies” that we all struggle with something to forgive ourselves in that domain. e.g some felt the were not really a woman cause they delivered by Csection instead of vaginal. Others, couldn’t forgive themselves for not breastfeeding as long as they wanted ….. in the end, it comes to the same, we better accept and make the best of it !!

    The only thing I regret, is that I would have loved to know my little Zoé from day 1 in utero, the way she would have behaved, would she have been very active, … etc. It is not like I am “jealous” that I did not carry her, neither am I jealous of her birthmother (on the contrary I feel affection for her too), it is just that I feel that I failed my daughter in case she would have had to suffer during pregnancy, delivery and the 6 first months of her life !! I do not feel my body failed me, but I failed Zoé ….

    I hope you heal and rejoyce in everything else you do and how well you parent your girl !!

    ((hugs)), sophie

    January 26, 2013 at 11:36 pm
  • Reply Lisa-Marie

    Shaz, I’ve been wondering as of late, what it must be like to be pregnant. (Probably because my meds have been reduced now, so I’m waiting for the fall….).
    Mostly, I think that I’m over it; I’ve resigned myself totally to the fact that my body is not capable of doing what it’s “supposed” to do. It took me a long, long time – but I know that I am there. And I am particularly PROUD of myself for having reached this place.
    When I read or hear about pregnancies and everything that goes with it, I hold my breath and wait for that fierce pain I used to experience – but it’s not there anymore.
    Maybe next year I’ll feel differently; maybe the dream of “growing” a baby inside me, that I carried with me for so many years, will resurface. Maybe when Isabella is big enough to start asking me for a sibling, my feelings will change…..
    Who really knows?

    sending you so much love, my beloved friend


    January 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm
  • Reply Mash

    You know, I’m so with you on that. I’m slowly saying farewell to that hope myself. I just have to mention that when I went to BodyWorlds recently I was so blown away by what a tiny and insignificant organ the uterus actually is considering how much of my thinking time it has occupied over these painful, infertile years. I’m also, like you, very focussed on staying feminine nowadays as if to prove that I really am a woman despite my body’s complete failure in that area.

    February 5, 2013 at 11:16 pm
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