This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. This is a week that is near and dear to my heart as we unfortunately experienced infertility prior to conceiving our daughter just like other 1 in 8 couples trying to start their family. Each year as this week rolls around I’m reminded of how hard of a struggle it is and how emotional it makes everything in life. I remember one particular night after trying for 2 years just collapsing in the hallway of our apartment alone sobbing and crying out to God why he wasn’t making it happen for us. I had been told by several doctors that the chances of me having children on my own were slim due to my PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The sting of hearing that was just one of many, like hearing of others getting pregnant by surprise or even going to baby showers. I started to shut down and just seeing pregnant women or little babies made me want to cry. One of the worst feelings I had was going to a baby shower for my cousin after the baby was born. When the party was winding down they wanted to take a picture of myself and my two female cousins since they both lived out of state. Both of them had children already now and as we sat down to take a picture my mom, not intentionally trying to be hurtful, joked around and said, “Here, you can hold this!” and handed me a stuffed animal since both my cousins had their daughters in their laps. It took all I had to not burst into tears being reminded once again that I was childless.
It ended up taking us 3 years and 4 months to get pregnant with our daughter, including one miscarriage and one ectopic pregnancy before her. When we decided to try to add to our family of 3 I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was so thankful and elated that it only took us 2 months to conceive our son. The funny thing is though that even after having children and feeling so blessed and knowing that our family is complete the feelings of infertility doesn’t end. I’ve heard some women describe it as a survivors guilt and I would say that’s pretty accurate. With my daughter I had it a little but mainly I just felt complete relief when she was finally in my arms. However with my son I struggled a lot with the pregnancy and my feelings over it. I almost felt like I hadn’t worked hard enough for him and that I didn’t deserve him after how much I struggled to get pregnant with our daughter. My whole pregnancy I dealt with those feelings and feared that I wouldn’t love him as much because Aydia had such a special place in our hearts since we tried so very hard for her. Thankfully once he was here that all changed but I still have almost a guilt feeling that he was so easy to conceive.
When I hear of some of my close friends struggling I wish there was something I could do or offer but mainly I know that what they need most is just a listening ear. I don’t give advice when someone tells me they are struggling as most of them have heard it all and honestly it’s just frustrating to hear all that advice when you are trying so hard. The most well intentioned people; like those who tell you that if you just relax, or maybe if you start an adoption process you’ll get pregnant; are the people that most us those struggling with infertility just want to strangle! I’m sure they are trying to be helpful and they don’t realize that they are being insensitive but it hurts that person to the core…if it were as simple as just relaxing then I’m sure they would have been pregnant already! So if you hear of someone struggling, don’t offer advice (unless they are asking specifically for your advice!) and just be that shoulder to cry on or the ear to listen. But do NOT ignore that person, they need your support and your love! Infertility shakes the core of a person and even the marriage. I wish that it didn’t happen to anyone and I pray daily for those in my life affected by it and that they too will soon experience the joys of parenthood, one way or another.
Did you experience infertility? How has it impacted your life? Need some support, check out RESOLVE; The National Infertility Association.
- http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
- http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)