Infertility in women (and men) is so much more common than you realize. These thoughts are because we too understand how hard this struggle can be. You so desperately want a child of your own. You try to do everything “right”. Month after month you wait – longing to see those two little lines. The hurt and brokenness can be suffocating at times. You have questioned God more times than you can count.
But you know deep down that even in the midst of the emotional rollercoaster every month that He is good.
I am all about breaking the silence of infertility. We need to talk about it. Just like we need to talk about miscarriages, we need to talk about infertility.
Infertility In Women: 10 Things You Should Know
1. Infertility is not just a female problem. That’s why it is super important for the guy to put aside his pride and be tested too. Guys don’t talk about infertility much. It’s not very manly. But they should really break the silence too. While infertility in women is the larger reason couples struggle for pregnancy, checking the male partner is a must.
2. It’s okay to be excited and share your pregnancy news. Just not in a big group of people. Maybe not even in a small group. One on one is probably best. Call on the phone. Yes, it might be awkward, but I promise your friend will appreciate your compassion.
3. Please stop trying to make everyone feel better by saying things like “Just relax! It will happen!!” or “You can always adopt.”. You aren’t God so technically you don’t know if it will ever happen. Sure relaxing is part of it, but there is more to the story. Adoption is wonderful. Yes, infertile couples can adopt. Lots have. But that doesn’t fix the hurt or mend the brokenness.
4. Every month is an emotional roller coaster. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but it is. You try not to even let yourself hope because the disappointment is like rubbing salt into an open wound. But the hope is there, and month after month it gets dashed against the rocks of disappointment. Infertility in women is one of the leading causes of depression in females. Understand that this is something that is very hard to just get over.
5. Yes there are infertility treatments available BUT not everyone is comfortable with them or can afford them. Just because something is available doesn’t make it feasible for everyone.
6. It’s not an easy fix. Infertility is complex. There are multiple causes and no real answers. Some people can cut out gluten and dairy and be pregnant within six months. Others are deemed healthy by their doctor but can not get pregnant or stay pregnant. It’s heartbreaking.
7. Baby Showers, delivering meals after a birth, and hospital visits can be challenging. I’ll throw in Mother’s Day and Father’s Day too. Some days are just hard. If one of those events falls on a challenging day of the month, please show some grace. It doesn’t mean you aren’t loved. Promise.
8. Infertility sucks. The end. Whether you are struggling with infertility or secondary infertility, they both cause hurt and pain. It’s not a journey anyone wants to walk through.
9. Even if you don’t understand, it’s okay. Just listen. Don’t try to “fix it”. Infertility is lonely. Couples suffer silently. Be a sounding board. A safe place to vent. A shoulder to cry on. Listen.
10. Infertility is all encompassing. Everything. Your whole life. Relationships. Work. Church. You have no idea how many times I wished I could compartmentalize our infertility to just sex. I tried. It’s not possible. Especially if you try fertility drugs like Clomid. Whew. Talk about mood swings and water works.
Sometimes I feel guilty because I have children. Does that sound crazy? I wanted children for so long. I begged for a baby to hold in my arms. Someone to call me “Mama”. I know that there are people out there who are crying into their pillow because they want what I now have. Although I was there, I’m not there now, and I feel guilty about that sometimes. Infertility in women is hard to manage not just while in the situation, but after you conceive and have a healthy baby it lingers.
But I’ve learned that it’s okay to accept blessings.
Have you struggled with infertility? What would you add?
Friday 29th of April 2016
#8 - Infertility sucks. Yes. Yes it does.
I just found your blog researching infertility posts for National Infertility Awareness Week. The emotions involved, even with having faith, really are a monthly thing. I've noticed that some months are better than others. For some reason, it seems like a couple of months can go by where I don't feel overwhelmed and infertility is almost an afterthought and then there are other months that it seems like every single day is draining. Welcome to the rollercoaster - and that's without any fertility drugs.
Also - I hate the "relax and stop trying" comments. I have to bite my tongue to not say, "Oh, really? Not trying is more successful than trying?" Luckily I only sometimes feel like saying that. :)
Sunday 13th of September 2015
To elaborate on #3, to say "so and so just stopped trying and they were pregnant within 3 months!", really?? If they had stopped trying, would they really be pregnant...???
I'll make you casseroles upon casseroles and bring them over and visit with mom, but don't be offended if I don't want to hold your baby, I just can't bear it. But I will if we are the best of friends (especially if you experienced loss and/or infertility yourself and now are celebrating your new life!).
Thursday 10th of September 2015
#10 was very hard. I found people took my negative attitude personally when really I was having a bad week. But how can you explain to everyone you're in contact with, when it's such a personal experience? We had secondary infertility, so I'd add "having other children does not make infertility hurt less". It almost seemed like most people didn't take it seriously, like since I already had children I should just be grateful. I was grateful! But as I told a well-meaningful friend who tried to console me with "at least you already have 2", I knew exactly what I had... and I knew exactly what I was missing. I'm using past tense because after several years of prayer and tears we are pregnant with #3. :-)