I’ve been writing this post for months, hell…nearly a year. I’d put my thoughts down, save it as a draft, and then decide to delete it a few days later. Then, a month or two later, I’d go through the exact same process: write down my thoughts, save it, then delete it. Again and again, over and over. And I realized that cycle was a great description of my struggle with infertility. Each month, we’d go through the same process: gear up for another cycle, schedule our time together to maximize our chances of conception, wait to find out if it worked, then start all over again.
Why? Why did I write this post, time and time again, only to turn around and delete it? Was I ashamed of our infertility? Was I scared of people’s reactions? Was I scared in general, of how writing it all down would solidify it in reality? And I realized it was all of that, coupled with a hundred other emotions. As much as we think we’re an open society, there are still some things that are far too personal to really talk about. There are still some secrets that, no matter how much we want to tell them, there’s a small part deep inside that’s worried about how others will react. We’re worried that we’ll be treated differently. Or, even more, too scared to say anything, because the minute you put it out there for the world to see, it becomes real. It’s public now, “FB official.” And infertility is one of those things.
And that’s the
shameful honest truth about infertility. It’s sad, because I know that if I had cancer or epilepsy, I wouldn’t be scared or ashamed to speak out about it. I wouldn’t try to shield my family and friends from our difficulties, and I’d be receptive to comfort from others. Infertility is not any different, so why the different response?
And maybe THAT is the shameful truth. The fact that, as
women men HUMANS, we feel we can’t talk about something so deeply personal with others, for fear of their reactions, their well-meaning advice, or worse, their indifference. We can’t talk about the grieving process as we continually yearn for something that might never happen for us. The ups and downs, the moments of excitement that plummet to crushing despair month after month of failed cycles. The feeling of being broken, so irretrievably broken, and feeling like there’s never going to be a fix for you. And feeling like a failure. Failure as a woman, as a wife, and as a potential mother. Over time, it’s like these feelings just compound, one on top of the other, and with each failed cycle it just gets worse and worse.
We’ve been trying for two years now. 28 long, hard, cycles of hope, disappointment, and commitment to a dream that (at this point) is nothing more than an idea in our heads and our hearts. We’re two IUI cycles in, with the potential for IVF looming in our future. Tests have come back fine for us, so we have been diagnosed with Unexplained Infertility. While I don’t wish for something wrong with us, I do wish there were something to fix. Not knowing what we could do more of, what we could do better, what we could change, has really been one the hardest things for me. I struggle with knowing that there is no medical reason why we haven’t conceived a child yet, and each month is just more and more of the same. I’m a fixer by nature, and not having anything to fix has been incredibly frustrating for me.
I’m ready to come out and talk about this now. I’m ready to put aside the stigma of shame and heartache, and be open about our struggles with infertility. I don’t plan to make this blog an infertility blog, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I probably will post on it from time to time. I want others who are struggling with this to know that they’re not alone, no matter how LONELY this journey feels at times, and I want to be available to others as someone to lean on, when it feels like all you can do is stand alone.
Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. I am 1 in 8. You are not alone.