Infertility is a looming, often misunderstood word that can appear on your radar when you’ve settled down and are looking forward to having kids. You’re overwhelmed and you’re not even sure what this means for your dreams of having kids. But you are NOT alone. Infertility is common. Out of 100 couples in the United States, about 12 to 13 of them have trouble becoming pregnant.
One day you’re at your OBGYN’s office for your regular checkup and you’re told that you need additional testing. Great, just great. After the testing and the prodding, it turns out you have PCOS (or polycystic ovarian syndrome), an imbalance in your reproductive hormones. You learn that it can cause infertility.
That was me, friends. Still is, actually. My husband and I have been trying to expand our family for over a year now and sometimes I still don’t know what I’m doing half of the time. It’s overwhelming, frustrating, and it can be very lonely. Here’s what no one tells you about infertility that you need to know.
It doesn’t get easier to hear that your friends are pregnant.
Ever. It may sting a little less each time, but it doesn’t get easier. It’s ok to let yourself feel upset, it’s normal. Just last week, my good friend told me she was expecting and I cried for two days. It will hurt. If you need to, stop scrolling on social media and give yourself a break. It will help.
You’ll compare yourself to every friend who is or was pregnant—and strangers too!
What did they do to get pregnant so fast? Why not me? How did they do it? What am I doing wrong? How come it isn’t me? Shouldn’t it be my turn? A million comparisons will be made and none of them will make you feel good. At all. By the time you’re done comparing, you’ll feel even more exhausted and mentally drained.
Advice, advice, and more advice.
You’re going to get a lot of advice. From your doctors (always good to take this advice), from your family members, and from your well-meaning friends, and probably some more strangers! Suggestions such as, “just relax!” or “did you try doing it such and such way?” will be offered up to you if you mention trying to conceive at all. Some advice will be good, some bad, and some will hurt you more than you expected it to. Most of the time, the advice giver probably just wants to help you out. You should always feel empowered to say something if it comes across as more than just well-meaning advice.
With Infertility each month feels like an eternity.
When you’re trying to conceive, every month feels like a thousand years. Everyone else appears to be moving at supersonic speed and getting pregnant while you wait in agony. It can seem like time is wasting away and you’re behind. After all, you aren’t getting any younger, right?
You continue to hope each month.
Through each month of trying, through each round of medication, through each two-week wait, you get SO hopeful. You think this month is the month. You get so excited and when it doesn’t happen, it crushes you. Each time. It doesn’t get easier. My husband tells me that each month he gets even more hopeful that this will be the month.
April 21- 27 is National Infertility Awareness Week. This is a great time to learn more about what infertility is, support your friends and family experiencing infertility. If you’re experiencing infertility yourself, gain some confidence to share your story and connect with others experiencing infertility as well.
To those reading who know someone experiencing infertility: It can be hard to relate to your friends and family who are going through this. Ask them how you can support them. Tell them you’re sorry that they are going through this. Listen if they choose to tell their story. Be an advocate for them.
To those reading who are experiencing infertility: I see you and understand the hurt. I am so sorry you are going through this. While I do not have the answers, I want you to know you are more than your infertility. You are seen, heard, and loved. Your pain is not wasted. Please know you are not alone in your struggles.
About The Author
Andi Marrs, Blogger
Needing a creative outlet from her 9-to-5 fundraising job, Andi created her own fun slice of the internet, andimarrs.com, where she shares about fashion and body positivity!