There are certain people you meet in life who you can’t help but be drawn to. Camryn is one of those people for me. We became friends in college and her quiet confidence was something I greatly admired throughout our time there together. Fast forward to a few years ago when we reconnected and it turned out we were exactly alike—tall, blond, gorgeous copywriters. (Ok, maybe just the copywriter part, but still…) This week, which happens to be National Infertility Week in the U.S., I learned about her personal struggle on her new-to-me blog, theunpregnant.com. Yesterday, her words moved me in ways that I can’t explain and she was gracious enough to share them here. I know many of you will relate.
Soon, Martin and I will move. We are downsizing to a smaller, cheaper apartment in a northern borough of Copenhagen called Nørrebro. AKA, NørreBronx.
Our week of packing happens to coincide with National Infertility Awareness Week in the United States. The movement – complete with hashtags and extensive social media efforts – has given me time to reflect on the current wave of emotions (read, bitterness) I am feeling right now.
We are moving because I struggle with infertility; my body isn’t working right, and this is my punishment. Losing my home, in hopes of gaining some money. To pay for the children we so desperately want. We will have to pay a lot of money to earn the title of Parents, esq.
I am trying to be less bitter about this fact. But I am. 11 rounds of fertility treatments, and we are back at the bottom of our mountain. Only soon, we are homeless. Uprooted, physically and emotionally. And you don’t have to tell me, because I already know: it’s only money – and it will be the most gratifying, heart-filling investment we will ever make in our lives. Without question.
But I see our move as a huge failure on my part.
We are moving → the wrong way. We are the Jeffersons, in reverse. ♫ “We are moving on down, to the North side, to a deluxe shanty that makes me cry.” This predicament has upturned the old canard I clung to, promising my ‘upward mobility.’ We are going from spacious and posh and high ceilings, to smaller and dodgier and a single chipped bathroom in that rougher ’hood across town. The one where the terrorist was shot after his shooting rampage on February 14th. There is no sparkling pool of self-pity for me to swim in there. There are people there in far worse shape than me.
I would like to not be the sweater-set wearing a$$hole that I am who worries about the square-metres of her new address. We don’t really need a big flat, because we are just two. But where will the crib go, over there?
The moving boxes all over the flat eat me up inside. I mope around the joint, and fill half a box every evening before telling my husband I’m too tired.
I am annoying even myself.
Martin has called in the big guns. His parents. My precious in-laws from the island of Fyn have temporarily moved into the new, bare-ass flat. They brought sleeping bags and meatballs. They wake early every morning, put on their overalls, and get to work, painting it top to bottom (while Martin and I have our butts planted in Danish-design chairs, in front of our computer screens all day).
They’re sleeping on an air mattress every night in order to help us. And I still feel like I am entitled to complain. (I know I’m not). They don’t want to bunk with us at the old flat in order to “give us our privacy.” They get it. They know how our evenings are spent. Emailing adoption agencies in the U.S., fighting back tears.
I tell them, Tak. Tak so meget.
Thank you so much. I slipped into the kitchen during dinner last night to cry into the sink. Because their decency and generosity are things I feel unworthy of.
I am so mad at the world, but I love them so much. I love them for being so silent and loving. For helping us out in this confusing time. For making sure my amazing husband isn’t in that flat alone, painting it real nice for his bitter, infertile wife.
Camryn Thomas Andersen is a wife, daughter, proud aunt and sister who works as a Copywriter at an advertising agency. She lives with her husband in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she has been an expat since 2007.
This post originally ran on theunpregnant.com. Photos courtesy of Camryn Thomas Andersen.
Sam K. says
Oh, Camryn…This made me wish I could fly to Copenhagen to meet you over coffee/drinks and share with you that every single thing you feel is valid, important and part of a terrible process. Infertility is a horrible combination of grief/anger/hope/fear/shame all rolled into this ball of soul deep hurt that feels untouchable and perpetual. I can do nothing more than send you support from California. Your words are powerful Camryn, and by sharing them you are giving insight and guidance to everyone who loves someone battling infertility.
Sam….you’re so sweet. Will you come visit me one day in Denmark?? Not just to address this subject, but for you to see this fascinating place! You’d love it – it’s so idyllic, but has this very authentic edge. Probably the long, dark winters. 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind and loving words. Your continual support gives me a lot of comfort. You absolutely nailed what it feels like — the extraordinary clash of emotions that we deal with. I appreciate that you care and offer your love! Sending so much back to you and the whole family. xo
Thank you so much for posting about infertility. It broke my heart when your friend said she has been through 11 (!!) fertility treatments. But the last sentence is crushing. It feels strange having been through infertility myself but now having 2 children. I know it’s no longer true to say I “relate,” but I do vividly remember the roller coaster of emotions that your friend so carefully describes. Perhaps the most heartbreaking is how hard women are on themselves for even experiencing the roller coaster. I sincerely hope your friend’s journey leads to a wonderfully unexpected place.
Hi Kelly. Thanks for the sweet words. If you’ve also been on this roller coaster ride of trying to conceive – and struggling – then I’m sure you can relate. It’s heart-warming to hear from other women who have been through these challenges, and come out on the other side with children. I actually started a Support Group for TTC/fertility-challenged women here in Copenhagen, and our members run the gamut. Some have secondary infertility, some are just starting out, some are stopping…and we even have a lovely gal who just joined and has a 9-month old, who was 6 years in the making. She has a unique perspective and wisdom to share. I wish you and your family well. Thanks again, for being a sister in this struggle.