I am so honored to share another story of infertility with you today. It's great, because it's a successful one and even tho all couples are different, it provides so much hope. Heather is a friend of mine since childhood. We grew up just across the street from each other and not a single day went by we didn't get together and play or plan our next sleep-over. We spent many hours playing "house" and dragging our pretend babies around...(both of our mom's did daycare, so sometimes we even got to play with the 'real' babies). Never did it occur to me that one day one of us would struggle to have our own. A huge thanks to Heather for sharing her story today and giving us some insight on what's it's like to walk in her shoes.
I am one of the “lucky” ones. My husband and I were married in 2009 and knew right away we eventually wanted kids. After trying for about a year we finally sought medical help and after test, after test, after test, we had no official diagnoses. Meaning; Unexplained Infertility. We tried all sorts of medications and procedures and eventually landed upon IVF. Again, one of the lucky ones, we got pregnant with twins on our first try. In fact, those were our only two healthy embryos, if it didn’t work we had nothing left. At 36 weeks I gave birth to two 6 pound amazingly healthy boys. They are the best little boys in the world and I can’t imagine a day without them. But, with that being said, I will never forget the daily struggle we faced while trying to get pregnant. Most people won’t know what this struggle feels like and don’t know what to say or how to act. Here are a few things that, as someone that dealt with infertility, I wish you knew.
1. Deep Down, I am happy for you. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited that you’re pregnant. But please give me time to process things. I would never, EVER, wish someone to go through the same struggles as I am but you have to understand that it’s a hard pill to swallow when you see all of these wonderful Facebook announcements. I will be (and am) happy for you but it is going to take me time.
2. Do NOT tell me it will happen when it’s “meant to be”. Infertility is a medical condition. Please understand that this is an illness that needs medical attention. I am not going to tell you that your diabetes is going to just go away when it’s “meant to be”. Diabetes is an illness that needs medical treatment. So is infertility.
3. Do NOT tell me to relax. See #2. Relaxing is great, but doesn’t treat a medical condition.
4. Please be mindful when you’re pregnant. I know pregnancy isn’t comfortable. Heck…I measured 56 weeks pregnant the day I had my boys. But we all know that woman that is going to complain from day one about how uncomfortable she is and how this is “ruining” her body. I’m not saying you need to pretend that everything is coming up roses but please be mindful that there might be someone listening in the group that is fighting back tears because they would give ANYTHING to feel that discomfort. My heart breaks for that woman.
5. Be mindful…but you aren’t going to “catch” infertility. If you know someone is dealing with infertility, ask her how things are going. You don’t need to broadcast it or make a big deal but let her (or him) know you’re there for them if they want to talk. It’s a hard subject and they might not be ready to talk in that instance but let them know that when they are, you’re all ears.
6. For a couple of weeks, I WILL be a crazy person. I’m injecting $4,000 worth of hormones and medication in my body. I will be crazy and there’s nothing you, or I, can do about it.
7. I realize that I’m not facing death, but I am facing death of a dream. I know there are people facing cancer and death all over the world. They have it MUCH worse than I do, I get that. And while I’m thankful infertility isn’t going to actually kill me, I am facing the death of a dream. For so many people having kids is just the next thing to do in life: get married, buy a house, start a family. And for so many people this is how things do work. But when you’re faced with the reality that your life might not follow that path it’s a hard thing to come to terms with.
8. STOP asking people when they’re going to have children. I honestly don’t remember every asking anyone this is the first place, but I now know that I will NEVER do it in the future. You have no idea what a couple is going through. Maybe they want to enjoy being a married couple for a while, maybe they don’t want kids, or maybe they’re in the process of giving themselves nightly shots and getting up in the middle of the night to take medication so they can have children.
9. Do not tell me to “Just Adopt”. The term “Just Adopt” is ridiculous. Adoption isn’t an easy answer to infertility. It’s not an easy answer to anything. You don’t just pick up the phone and in a week have a child. I, admittedly, don’t know a lot about adoption but I do know it can be a long, hard, and expensive process that isn’t for everyone. Thankfully, for a lot of children around the world, there are couples that have the desire to adopt but I can tell you that they aren’t doing it because it’s a quick and easy way to have a child.
10. YAY! You’re pregnant and over infertility. That doesn’t happen. Infertility sticks with you through the whole process. Yes, I see those two babies on the ultrasound monitor but that doesn’t stop my mind from going to dark places. My body couldn’t get pregnant; will it be able to stay pregnant? My stomach is cramping, is this normal? My morning sickness is going away, is this normal? My back hurts, is this normal? I’m sure every pregnant woman has those feelings but I think it’s heightened for someone who has dealt with infertility.
Was it worth all the tears and struggles? Absolutely!
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
Would I wish it upon my greatest enemy? Not for a second.