Before I get started on this next post, I want to say THANK YOU to all my lovely friends and family who took the time to visit the blog last week. Your support, kind words of encouragement, and presence make my heart full. Now leading into this week…
I recently read a story about a woman wondering why she can’t talk about trying to get pregnant. She expressed the awkward conversations she had with friends, coworkers, and family about what “stage” of life she was in. Most of you can relate to these conversations. They go something like this:
You’re dating – “When are you getting married?”
You’re married – “When are you going to have a baby?”
You have a baby – “When are you having ANOTHER baby?”
We have all heard them, and most of us are guilty of asking them. I know I am. However, when you get to the baby stage, the real confusion sets in. How do you actually tell someone you’re “trying” to have a baby? Attention World: We stopped using birth control/condoms/contraceptives. Okay, fine. Brave pants are on, and you confide in people. Now that’s weird too. Uncomfortable. Like they didn’t know you had adult relations with your spouse before and it’s just now been revealed. You can’t win. People are JUST nosy enough. They want the simple answer, not the real answer.
You’ve been courageous enough to talk about trying to grow your family, and now you get to discuss the inability to do so. Infertility. Such an ugly word that comes with countless uncomfortable conversations and unsolicited advice. There are lots of women and men who can help you with their own personal infertility experiences. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find them. It’s more likely you’ll be talking to someone who has a friend/friend of a friend/family member/coworker/read something once that says you can get pregnant if you drink carrot juice and stand on your head after sex, but only on the 16th night if it’s a full moon. That’s only a slight exaggeration of what you might hear. Just like how people want a simple answer, they want a simple explanation as well. Relax, don’t stress, it will happen when it’s supposed to, it’s God’s will, just adopt, you can have mine they’re difficult, you’re lucky you have freedom still. Those are all such helpful things to hear. Thank you for that wealth of knowledge and wisdom.
Where’s the couple who knows what you’ve gone through or what might lie ahead? Where’s the woman who knows how I’ll feel on the $5k in IVF drugs? Where’s the man who can help my husband understand the emotional and physical roller coaster he’ll be on the receiving end of? Well with all the considerate comments and accurate advice (SARCASM ALERT), how do you expect couples to open up? Ugh. It’s not easy. Maybe only 1/2 of the couple is comfortable sharing their situation. Perhaps it’s too personal to share. Yes, it’s difficult and tricky to discuss conception and your bodies and how it’s working or not working. I’ve found many people who do not understand or agree with my openness on the subject. You don’t have to. And if you don’t, then you’re probably not the person I’m trying to reach. To each their own. And I’m owning this.
I would never wish this on anyone. The shame, isolation, fear, despair, feeling like a failure. Never do I want someone to experience this. Unfortunately I do not have control over the fertility gods. There will be many more women like me, and many more couples like us. I can’t help that. What I can do is be here for you. I can listen. I can share. I am not ashamed of the hand I’ve been dealt. I’m not perfect and I am certainly not brave. I am just going to pay it forward. There have been a handful of women who have been there for me. They have opened their lives up to me and shared so much. Infertility can feel like the most lonely disease, but if you open up you may find comfort in those around you. It won’t make it go away and it won’t fix everything. It will make you stronger, and hopefully optimistic. Infertility makes me feel vulnerable, but I’m going to own it. Infertility has made me feel empowered, and I’m going to own that too.
*If you would like to learn more on how you can be there for someone with infertility, RESOLVE is a wonderful organization and resource Infertility Etiquette – RESOLVE