Being a fertility advocate sucks sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with the route we have chosen, being open about everything. But sometimes it’s hard. When we started this journey, I was exhausted. I was exhausted from the pain of trying to conceive. Exhausted from the failures month after month. Exhausted from the emotions.
I was tired of living under a cloud.
I didn’t want to be that person who didn’t go to baby showers because I couldn’t handle other people being happy. I couldn’t talk to people with primary infertility about my problems because they get mad and accuse me of being selfish, and ungrateful. I couldn’t talk to people who weren’t struggling with infertility because I was afraid of making them uncomfortable and stealing their joy. I was tired of being that person who was miserable in the mall during shopping trips because of all the happy glowing pregnant women.
I was tired of being afraid to talk about our infertility.
But since being open, things are so much better. But… some things have been harder.
Our disappointments are not just ours to mourn
This one might be the hardest. There is so much hope in fertility treatments, but the reality is that nothing is guaranteed. So when something is unsuccessful, or you take a step back, there are so many people who grieve with you. The support is incredible, but at the same time you feel guilty having put people through the pain with you. You feel guilty that you can’t give them good news.
“Everyone has to walk on egg shells around you”
Yes, this is actually something that someone said to me. No less a woman that actually claimed to have been open about fertility herself. Part of being an advocate is when someone says something that is inappropriate, or insensitive, I will absolutely speak up. Ignorance on fertility and loss is overwhelmingly prevalent. So when someone complains to me about being pregnant, and “losing their body”, or that they’ve had more practice looking at sonograms, yes… I’m basically going to tell you to stop being a dick.
So no, you don’t have to walk on eggshells, but maybe you should rethink the way you think about fertility, because since one in eight couples face infertility, I guarantee I’m not the only one you’ve been insensitive to.
Fertility treatments feel as if they take a lifetime
I really wish that when we talked to people about our path forward that we had news to share. The reality is that fertility treatments move SO SLOWLY. Seriously. At the speed of government.
You can only try something once a month. If that. That means if you’re lucky, you get maybe 10-12 tries a year. Unless it’s something like IVF, which is closer to 4 or 5 tries a year (if you can emotionally handle it).
But really. Whoever said patience is a virtue has clearly never had the two week wait after a fertility treatment.
IVF is selfish and morally wrong
Yes, this is something I actually had said to me. And if you know me at all you can pretty much envision how it went.
Some people are very judgmental about infertility treatment, and some even oppose it on religious or moral grounds. Many of these folks are self-righteous and not above judging someone who avails themselves of modern fertility treatments. This is life and I’ve had to just let those people go.
And this. This is why it’s worth it. Infertility is nothing to be ashamed of and continued silence lends the impression that there is. We all need to talk about infertility to remove the stigma. More people than you can imagine have experienced or are experiencing infertility. You won’t find out about them unless you let people know you are infertile. You may be a blessing in someone else’s life by letting them know what you are going through.
Being open about infertility, allows others to be open about their struggles in other areas with you. Once people understand that you’ve experienced great pain in your life, they may feel comfortable talking with you about their life pains. And we all need support.
On April 8th, 2017, Sarah’s Laughter will be hosting the Baby Steps Fun Run.
Brewing up a Baby will have a team! At this fun run, they will be giving away FOUR (yes… FOUR) free IVF cycles and a $10,000 fertility grant. Most people know that IVF is a huge financial burden, and this is an amazing opportunity for five couples to have.
For each team member running, the team will get one ticket in the drawing, and for every $250 raised in the fundraiser, the team will get ten tickets in the drawing!
If you cannot run with us… CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Our team name is Brewing up a Baby – Baby Pellerin