Infertility was something I was not prepared for.
I wish I had some fancy phrase or words to get started on this topic, but the truth is that I don’t. With Mother’s Day coming in just a few of days, it’s harder to keep myself distracted and shake off the sense of loss about something I’ve never even had. Like most, I thought having a family would happen naturally, but unfortunately, my husband and I ended up being that 1 in 8 who got the unlucky ticket. Yes, 1 in 8 couples struggle to conceive a child. It could be your sister, brother, friend, or coworker; it could be the couple you met at the grocery store yesterday or that professor you really liked back in college. It really sucks to be that 1 in 8. It sucks not being able to feel completely happy for your best friend getting pregnant. It sucks being asked, “Hey, when are you planning to have kids? You should start now; it’s harder when you get older.” It sucks having that constant fear of being a disappointment to your spouse, even if he tells you all the time how much he loves you and that you’ll conquer this together. It sucks scrolling through social media and feeling that every person you know is having a kid. It sucks having so little control over your body and feeling as though it doesn’t function how it was meant to.
But if I were to list all of the things that suck about what it’s like to fight infertility, I think this would be a much, much longer essay; and that’s not the point.
To you who are fighting to become a parent, I want to tell you that you are not alone. I know how scary the thought of never being able to have a child feels. I know how it feels to inject all those hormones into your body in hopes that it responds. I know how devastating it is when there was no positive result, even after all those pills and injections. I know how mentally and emotionally draining it is to figure out how you will get the money to even begin your treatment. I know how hard it is having to find support from strangers because you can’t talk to your family about this. I hope that after reading this, we can get together; please, don’t go through this alone. If you need professional help, please don’t hesitate to reach out. There are so many of resources to share.
To you who are part of the lucky 7 out of 8, I want to ask for your compassion. Many people you know are probably fighting to become parents, so do not make assumptions. Do not ask when the babies are coming. If someone close to you has trusted you enough to share their situation, listen. We know there’s hardly a thing you’ll be able to do to help, not because you don’t have the heart for it, but because there’s no instant solution. Avoid mentioning how great it is to adopt and how life-changing it could be; trust me, we have done the research. It can take 5+years and tens of thousands of dollars to adopt. Sometimes we just need a shoulder to cry on or someone to share some time and some wine with. Tell your friends and loved ones how valuable they to you, because there’s a chance they might be feeling completely worthless and really need to hear those words today.
Lastly, I’d like to emphasize the positive impact of sharing my story. I’ve met many amazing women (and couples) who are currently fighting to become parents, some who have been able to accomplish it, and some who are currently trying to find acceptance in the middle of their grief. I know it’s hard to keep fighting when the odds seem to be entirely against you. It hurts to know that success is not guaranteed and that many of us will need to find contentment with a result we absolutely don’t want. Even in the middle of the pain, I want to encourage you to find an anchor in your life, because loss like this can be lonely and scary.
In my case, what gives me hope is the thought that this life is temporary. Someday, I believe I will rest in eternity, in a place where there’s no pain or suffering.
To all of you trying to conceive, I send prayers, hugs, and lots of baby dust. God bless you.
A VU employee