A couple weeks ago, I told you that I had made the decision to go see a Reproductive Endocrinologist. My appointment is this week, which I now realize is during National Infertility Awareness Week- nice coincidence. Resolve is challenging bloggers to blog about infertility using the title: Don't Ignore... This is my contribution.
Don't Ignore the definition of infertility. Until my second miscarriage, I just thought I was really unlucky, that I was just one in four women that experience the very common but unfortunate event of miscarriage. After my second miscarriage and over a year of trying without a successful pregnancy, it was time to face what I was ignoring- that I am actually considered infertile since I haven't been able to carry a pregnancy to term and having been trying for so long. This is a label I have been hesitant to give myself. I've always felt like the club was exclusive to women trying to get pregnant and not succeeding, and I was just this weird case that didn't really fit in the fertile or infertile world. After all, I can get pregnant, so am I really infertile? Yes, I really am. I've learned that there are a lot of women like me. There are forums for women who have experienced multiple, recurrent miscarriage, and unfortunately a lot of people are going through the same thing I am.
Don't Ignore educating yourself about your cycle and the reproductive process. I've learned a lot about fertility, and lack thereof, since my journey to try to conceive started. For those of you who want to start a family, I encourage you to think about it sooner than later, because you never know what obstacles you might face once you do want a baby. I think it's important to at least understand your cycle and notice what is regular and what is not, but also to understand when you are ovulating and the rest of the reproductive process. I've been surprised at how many of us didn't pay much attention to our cycles until we wanted babies. In my case it wouldn't have made a difference, because I have a very regular cycle that really didn't indicate any issues in that way, but even still, learning more about fertility ahead of time wouldn't have been a bad thing.
Don't Ignore the strain infertility puts on your marriage/relationship. My husband and I have already been through a lot, not including infertility. His furlough, moving, changing jobs, etc... all have put a lot of stress on our marriage, and now we're dealing with the frustration of trying to conceive and multiple miscarriage on top of it all. Sometimes we're just coasting along and then we'll have an argument that turns into a full on blow out about it. It kind of takes me by surprise, but it shouldn't. This is a huge deal and it shouldn't be a surprise that it's affecting my marriage. I'm looking into counseling, because I think it's time we talked to someone and made sure we're dealing with it the way we should be to ensure our marriage survives it.
Don't Ignore that infertility will affect your friendships. Infertility has affected almost every friendship I have in some way. It's sometimes hard for me to be around my friends who conceived easily and had successful pregnancies. It's sometimes hard for me to be around my friends who are currently pregnant and talk non-stop about all the things going on with their pregnancies. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't avoiding my pregnant friends sometimes. On the flip side, I feel closer to my friends that are also going through infertility. I talk to one of them almost daily and sometimes I think she's the only one that really understands what this feels like. Even my friends who have gone through infertility but were able to turn into success stories are sometimes hard to be around. I'm jealous and I feel left behind. At this stage of life, when most of my friends are having kids, talking about having kids, or pregnant, it's really hard to be struggling with infertility.
Don't Ignore that people want to help and mean well. I think it's pretty universal that infertile people feel annoyed and hurt by things a lot of people say to us. My personal pet peeve is "At least you know you can get pregnant". For the record, this is the wrong thing to say to someone who can't successfully carry a pregnancy. While it may seem that my problems are not "as bad" as someone trying to conceive that can't, the fact that I can get pregnant but haven't been able to carry a pregnancy to term makes it especially frustrating to hear things like that. I'm constantly reminded of the babies I was supposed to have. The knowledge that I can get pregnant doesn't ease the pain that I lost these pregnancies. Also telling me about other people you know with fertility issues that did such and such to get pregnant, people that got pregnant after 40, people that had successful pregnancies after drinking heavily... none of this really helps me. Every case is different. That said, I am trying my best to not be hyper sensitive. I know people don't know what to say to me. I get that. I know they mean well. Here is a link to infertility etiquette.
Unfortunately, my struggles with infertility have changed me. I know I'm very strong for handling all of this, but at the same time, I think I'm more jaded, bitter, and angry at the universe for doing this to me. It's not fair and I'm sick of struggling with something that is supposed to be such a happy and exciting event. I really hope that in the end, this works out for us and everyone else who is struggling with infertility. We deserve our happy endings too.
Here are some links if you'd like to learn more about infertility: