As if we need even one reason why infertility sucks. This week was National Infertility Awareness Week, and if you haven’t personally struggled with infertility, you probably know someone who has. Let’s talk about it. Let’s rally around each other and offer support because way too many women and couples are affected by it.
Here are just 10 of the reasons infertility is the actual worst:
1. The poker face.
These days it’s impossible to scroll through social media without seeing at least one felt letterboard announcing that a baby is on the way. I usually feel a sting of…let’s be honest here…jealously, capitol J. I mean, it actually pains me. Hearing the news from a friend, maybe your best friend is worse in a way (always the bridesmaid never the bride…right!). It’s hard, what else can I say.
It’s bittersweet news to hear but, for the record, I am happy. Thrilled even! I love babies and I love my friends so, of course, I love when my friends have babies. I may need some time to process my own feelings. I’ll throw on my comfy pants, probably cry, and I’ll definitely feel a little sorry for myself. But seriously, once that’s all out of my system I’m going shopping for that sweet little babe of yours that I’m going to love, because I love you!
2. Your period.
Just a “gentle” reminder month after month that, once again, you’re not pregnant. Remember the days when getting your period every month was a good thing? Rejoice! Not anymore. BRB, heading out for some ice cream and tampons.
3. The uncertainty.
There are so many unanswered questions. Over the years I’ve been poked and prodded. There is no medical reason why we couldn’t conceive. PCOS could be a factor but I was able to get pregnant once so, maybe not? It would be nice if going through countless needle sticks and ultrasounds (transvaginal ultrasounds, you know, the fun kind) would have resulted in some answers for us but, they didn’t.
4. The stress.
Do you know what’s not good for your body when you’re trying to conceive? Stress. Do you know what’s stressful? Trying to conceive. Infertility is stressful AF. For those of you who might wonder what could be so bad about having all that sex, I can assure you there’s nothing spontaneous or carefree about it. And afterwards? Prop those hips up and mentally prepare for the longest two week wait of your life.
5. The isolation.
According to the CDC, about 12% of American women have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Together we’re all part of the worst club ever. And yet, most of the time I feel lonely. Really, really lonely.
6. The headspace.
I’m on an emotional rollercoaster. Some days I walk around thinking that having one kid rocks! But, unfortunately for me, there are other days where I’m a mess. When my daughter makes a comment about wishing she had a little brother or sister it tears me up inside. Even when I’m having a good day, there’s a sadness that has seemingly just become a part of who I am.
7. The minutiae.
When you’re trying to conceive and you’re unsuccessful, everything in your life is a reminder that you’re failing. Pregnancy announcements are rampant. A diaper commercial made me ugly cry. Even when you’re not thinking about it you are, it’s inescapable.
8. The exhaustion.
I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted. Months of feeling helpless and hopeless have completely worn me out. Some days I’m content, some days I’m not. Some days I’m unsettled and anxious, somedays I’m not. You get the picture.
9. The finality.
I struggle with secondary fertility, which means I have a daughter (ungrateful, right!). What I never expected was that my pregnancy with her would be my last. The last time I got up for a midnight feeding, the last diaper I changed…those moments are so hard when you’re living through them. It’s not until you’re past that phase that you start to see the sweetness of it all. And for me, I always assumed I’d do it one more time. My baby has grown up! Now she wipes off all my kisses and says “literally” a lot. LOL.
10. The next step forward.
Change is scary. Not being in control is scary. Acceptance is hard. We all have a dream of what our lives will be. When that doesn’t happen it is devastating; no matter what that dream is. I’m trying to resist the pressure I put on myself to find some sort of closure. I am hopeful that it will come with time. It takes time to really process feelings and you have to let yourself live with them for as long as it takes. It hasn’t been easy.
To all the women out there who are affected by infertility: I’m with you. Most of the time I feel like throwing an all-out temper tantrum. Think 2-year-old in the toy aisle at Target…kicking, screaming, and crying…the whole shebang. But, I’m 35 years old and it probably wouldn’t be a good look for me. Besides, I would never risk getting kicked out of Target.
I’m okay-ish. I’m sad every day, somedays a little more so than others. I desperately want to be over this, healed and moving on but we don’t get to choose how grief affects us and how long it plans to stick around. I feel stuck as the world around me keeps on moving. I am grateful for the women who bravely share their stories, laying it all out there for the world to see and sometimes even finding some humor in it all. And, I’m grateful for the people who support and love us through it.