I am the 1 in 8 suffering from infertility. Looking at pictures of my family, you would have no idea. But it was a long and emotionally painful road to get to having the two girls I have today. And it was a road that I traveled alone. Not many people talk about infertility. Maybe it’s because no one wants to share the heartache or feel like they are alone in this struggle. But they are not. 1 in 8. That is how many women deal with infertility.
I remember being newly married. We thought about starting a family but wanted some couple time to adjust to our new life together. Not to mention that we lived in separate states for the first 6 months of our marriage. Once we started settling in, we began to imagine our life with children. After a few months of trying, nothing was happening. I went to my regular OB/GYN and she didn’t seem too concerned. She said I should track my temperature and ovulation using ovulation predictor kits from the pharmacy. And thus I was now immersed into the crazy world of trying to conceive or TTC as it is known online. Every month that passed where I didn’t see a plus sign was another month of failure. I was at a new level of crazy. My OB/GYN finally did some blood work and said my hormone levels were not right and this is when I finally went to see a reproductive endocrinologist who diagnosed me with polycystic ovaries. Basically this diagnosis meant that I ovulate infrequently, if at all. While I was relieved to find an answer, I also found that my journey was just beginning.
After trying various medications and spending lots of money (many infertility treatments are not covered under insurance), I was finally pregnant. My husband and I were over the moon but it soon brought more heartache. We handled what was dealt to us the best we could and celebrated the birth of a healthy girl in June 2010. By the time my daughter was 1 we decided to start trying again, naturally. This did not work at all. We went back to the doctor and our first few rounds of treatments didn’t work. I took some time off and switched doctors. Within a few weeks of working with the new doctor, I was pregnant again. This pregnancy was a breeze and completely uncomplicated. My younger daughter was born in October 2012. My girls are my world and while we would accept any more children that may come, we are definitely done with fertility treatments.
Dealing with my infertility was one of the saddest and lonely times of my life. Every friend that announced a pregnancy was a stab in the heart. Every failed cycle was another reminder of how my body wouldn’t work. Every time someone asked, “When are you going to have children?” had me on the verge of tears. I threw the biggest pity party for myself and didn’t care who I alienated in the process. I just could not be around happy pregnant ladies when I was feeling so awful. I did find an online community for women dealing with infertility, and I still keep in touch with these ladies today. Having the virtual support of someone who could truly relate made a huge difference.
People loved to give me tips such as, “Oh just relax and it will happen.” Or say things like, “I know how you feel. It took me and my husband 3 whole months to get pregnant!” One of the best was, “You should just adopt. Then you’ll get pregnant.” That logic never made sense to me. People love offering insight or trying to commiserate but until they have truly walked in your shoes, it is hard to explain the complex emotions you are feeling. And if you have a friend dealing with infertility, sometimes the best thing to do is to sit quietly, listen to what they say and respond with something like, “That really sucks. I am so sorry.”
Because for the 1 in 8 suffering from infertility, it is really hard and lonely.