It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be angry, to feel betrayed by your own body. It’s okay to feel bitter when your friends share miraculous stories about getting pregnant on the first try. It’s okay to sit quietly as one of your friends complains about their pregnancy, and then excuse yourself to go sob silently in the bathroom. It’s okay to hide on Mother’s Day. It’s okay to politely decline yet another baby shower because the pain you felt during the last one hasn’t subsided. It’s okay to buy pregnancy tests by the dozens and take four every month.
Because infertility is not fair.
You are NOT alone, even though this is the most alone you have ever felt. A lot of women have been there. But not many talk about it. Not many people talk about it because it’s devastating, and saying it out loud makes it too real, and too painful. You don’t want people to know you’re not as happy for them as your smile would suggest. You don’t want to rain on everyone’s parade. You don’t want their (absolute crap) suggestion of “just stop trying and it will happen.”
If you are struggling to get pregnant, or it’s just taking longer than you’d like, or you have been diagnosed as infertile, or your spouse is infertile, here is some advice.
Throw a tantrum. Kick the ground. Scream at the sky (you may want to do this alone). Cry HARD. Cry LONG. Shatter something. Whatever you need to do to GET IT OUT. You have been living with a lump in your throat for months or years. LET IT ALL OUT. My tantrum happened during an entire eight-hour car ride. Eventually, when you can’t cry any more, scrape yourself up off the ground and keep moving. Take one breath at a time.
Find a mentor. It may seem like no one around you has struggled like you, but I guarantee once you talk to a few people, your network will connect you with someone who has been there or is there right now. You will feel better hearing their story and sharing yours. They will know to just listen and not to give crappy suggestions.
Find your favorite medical professionals. Don’t just find a doctor, clinic, nurse, OBGYN or fertility clinic. Find people you love. You may be seeing a lot of them soon. Do your research, ask around, and don’t settle until you find someone you’re comfortable with. The first doctor I visited with about struggling to get pregnant showed me a calendar and told me when to have sex. For real? Did she really think I didn’t know all of that?! NEXT! The Infertility Coordinator at my clinic helped me find an OBGYN that was a better fit. She also helped me find a fertility clinic. She was also the person that cried happy tears with me when we watched my pregnancy blood test turn positive for the first time.
Laugh more. By the time I started the IVF process, I was so sick of being sad that I couldn’t handle being inside my own depressing brain. I needed to laugh! After all, we had a plan. We had hope! I needed to smile! I literally googled “IVF jokes” to cheer myself up, and started keeping a list of infertility jokes. If you need the same, check out this website.
Save your pennies. Infertility is expensive and a lot of insurance plans will not cover fertility procedures. Ask your doctor a lot of questions and do your research. If you do not already have a HSA (Health Savings Account), you may want to set one up that allows you to pay for some of your fertility treatments and drugs with the account. Ask your clinic if they allow a payment plan. Ask. So. Many. Questions. You need to plan your finances before you dive into fertility treatments. If you decide to adopt, it is crazy expensive. With so many children out there needing a good home, it’s hard to stomach how expensive it is. Sit down with your partner and create a savings plan. And, the expenses don’t end if you are lucky enough to get pregnant. At least most health insurance plans cover pregnancy! My first pregnancy was twins, which means every expense is doubled (ultrasounds, delivery, etc). Let’s just say we met our health insurance deductible on January 8th the year I was pregnant – at my first ultrasound of the year.
Have hope. Everything is temporary. Whether you end up pregnant through a miracle or modern medicine, you adopt, or you decide to forgo the whole process and focus on your partner, you won’t always feel like you feel now. Months or years of failure will make it hard to have hope. Even if you see the positive pregnancy test, you won’t believe it. Even when you’ve been chosen for adoption, you will know there is still a possibility it will fall through. You won’t believe that the struggle could end. But something inside of you will still be hopeful, and that’s okay.
Hold on to that shred of hope and take it