Infertility. A topic that seems to be casually mentioned everywhere. On talk shows. TV shows. In magazines. For those not experiencing it, it can easily be talked about in an impersonal and factual tone. But for those living through an infertility battle, there is nothing impersonal about it.
“The hope is the hardest part, but the idea that you’re going to give up the hope is even harder than that. And even if you say you gave up, even if, it never works, even if…”
Instead, it is an experience that is close to the heart. And one that is full of emotion. It’s a rollercoaster ride full of high hopes and deep pain. And often, this experience is hidden from others. And it can be incredibly isolating.
I used to think that infertility was uncommon. I thought families with no children were just people who consciously chose to live kid-free. But now I realize it is not uncommon at all. I can think of over 20 people I know who have battled infertility. That’s because about 10% of women struggle to get pregnant or sustain a pregnancy.1
A Look Into Infertility From Women Experiencing It
Instead of writing about the facts of this subject, I want you to hear about the heart of it from those deep within it. Here is a personal and honest look into the everyday rollercoaster of battling infertility from a few special ladies experiencing it.
You feel every emotion.
“That is what infertility is. A long, weird journey of being happy, mad, lost, angry, depressed, okay, excited, and numb. Honestly, it makes me, as a woman, feel inadequate and extremely jealous of everyone. When people would tell me they were pregnant, I was happy for them, but even more so sad for myself. I would cry every single time someone told me they were expecting.“
You feel isolated.
“After multiple failed IUI cycles and IVF, I’d say the hardest thing for me was not having a big support group because it isn’t talked about enough. Most of my friends wanted to be supportive but didn’t know how. They ended up saying things that were meant well but ended up being hurtful. Once I started talking to more people and sharing our experiences, I realized just how common it is.”
You look for simple solutions.
“I have sat through several sessions of acupuncture, changed my diet a million times, taken vitamins, and have detoxed with chemicals. Neither my husband nor I are drinkers — we don’t drink alcohol ever or smoke. Also, I’ve tried every herbal, holistic, and friend’s idea thrown at me. Plus prayer, and more prayer… It’s hard to convince me that anything is easy or that quick solutions are the answers to any problem. But then the scared, sad, desperate part of my brain says, ‘But hey, it might be crazy enough to work.’ So I do every weird insane ‘try this to get pregnant’ thing I read about.”
You try and make sense of it.
“I pray about it a lot and have concluded that maybe I am praying wrong. If I don’t get a baby of my own or inner peace as to when I might, then maybe I should just be praying for the desire to have a baby of my own to go away.”
You look for something to blame.
“One of the hardest things to deal with is the anger. I don’t like to be angry, but if I get angry at someone, I can yell at them or tell them why. I have something to take my anger out on, but with infertility…. there’s no one to take anything out on. There is nothing to blame it on. It’s just this big dark cloud above my head with nowhere to go.”
“I find myself mourning the loss of something I will never have or experience. I am missing something that I’ve never had. And I feel that I won’t ever be the one to turn a pregnancy test positive, run to the bathroom to throw up during dinner, feel a kick from the inside, give someone my Grandmother’s middle name, or look into a little, chubby face and see the perfect mix of me and my husband looking back at me.”
You make peace.
“I won’t let it win, though. I have to fight it in increments because fighting something I can’t find or explain takes a lot out of me. And as hard as it may have been in the moment when I found out yet another friend was pregnant (or was pregnant again), I tried not to let what I was going through keep me from being happy for them. It was tough, but important, I think, to keep some perspective and be there for them.”
You find the positives.
“I know I’m missing a lot and giving up a huge dream, but I also get to experience something a lot of my friends haven’t, and that’s a bond between an adopted child and adoptive parents… It’s a long, painful process, but I feel we will soon be blessed with our child through adoption.”
I hope these words have given you insight into the private and painful journey of many around you battling infertility. I hope these words inspire you to appreciate your little ones and know that if you’re facing a fertility struggle, you are not alone.
I have to give a special thank you to the AMAZING ladies who have contributed to this article. Your words are poignant. Raw. And beautiful. May we all grow from them.