Know someone struggling with infertility? Just listen.

This post is going to be much shorter. I want to talk about struggling with infertility.

I was reading an article in Redbook magazine the other day, and there was a huge article on infertility. It wasn’t about the health aspects as much as it was about how the topic is so taboo in today’s culture. Women who are infertile, or whose husbands are infertile, are scared, embarrassed, and unsure of who they can trust in talking about the issue, so they don’t. A large amount of women don’t even tell their own mothers that they are trying, and struggling, to conceive.

Well, this hit a nerve with me. I understand that I have not been labeled “infertile” by any doctor, by any means. Some women have gone through years of trying and have tried Clomid, injections, and IVF with no success. They have had doctors tell them it’s just not going to happen, and they’ve gone home knowing that they are, in fact, infertile. That is a horrible, horrible thing, and I hope for me, that day never comes. Yet, I feel infertile. I can’t conceive, I can’t even ovulate, I have long cycles with no period in sight. I’m young and generally healthy, except for this nagging thyroid condition. My husband and I have already expressed our hopes, desires, then disappointments, when we have realized this process isn’t going to be what we thought it was – easy. And I’m sure that in the next months/years, we will have friends who conceive and have kids. Some will do “all the right things”, like chart and watch for signs of ovulation, time it just right, and get pregnant, just like that. Some might get pregnant almost effortlessly, as if by accident. And there will be some, or at least me, who doesn’t. I have hope that I will, it’s not that. It’s just I think it’s going to be a while. And I was not mentally prepared for that in the beginning.

As you know, I like to talk about myself (haha). I like to talk TO myself. I like to reflect. What can I say? After reading that article, I can’t imagine not telling my mother what I have been going through. Heck, I’d be ready to tell anyone on the street what I’m going through. Yet, I haven’t told my husband’s side of the family. They know we want kids. They don’t know that we started trying last summer. That I’m going through all this crap. Why haven’t I told them? Well, just like the article said, it’s a taboo subject. People who don’t understand all this might think there’s something seriously wrong with you, or the opposite, that you’re over-exaggerating and you’re really fine. It’s embarrassing! How could this be happening to me? So I totally understand where those women in the article were coming from when they withheld the information from the world. I wanted to tell the public first, and most of my family second. But it shouldn’t be a taboo topic. It should be talked about and understood by everyone. It’s a big deal, and those women and men need support.

Then, also in the article, there was a list of phrases never to say to someone who is either infertile or is struggling to conceive. I can’t remember them all but here were a few:

-“Just relax and calm down. If you stress about it, it won’t happen.” The only kind of stress that hinders your ability to TTC is the debilitating kind, like if my house was destroyed by an earthquake right now and all my family died at once. That kind of stress.

-“Don’t think about it. It will happen when you least expect it, like it did to me.” Well thanks, I’m so glad you were Fertile-Mertile over there, but it’s kind of hard not to think about!

-“What’s meant to be is meant to be.” This one really hurts – are you saying that if it doesn’t happen, I wasn’t meant to have a child? Really? And Octo-Mom was meant to have 14 kids?

As someone who is officially struggling to conceive, I have heard some aspect of all three of these comments before. I know people want to say the right thing, but those comments aren’t it! If you know someone who is struggling with infertility, they probably just want you to listen.

Thanks! 🙂

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