National Infertility Awareness Week
April 22-28, 2018
Infertility feels lonely. No matter what your story, your meds, your dreams, how many times you’ve tried, how many babies you’ve lost, or where you are right this moment – everyone I know who is working through infertility feels lonely during their journey.
I know I did.
I felt lonely as a teenager when I was diagnosed with PCOS and told I might never have children. And I felt lonely when I had one child, but we struggled for years and years to have a second child.
That loneliness is part of the reason that I started Circle + Bloom. I realized that I wasn’t the only one feeling isolated (on top of the rollercoaster of other emotions that come with infertility). I saw close friends and family members experience the same thing.
We knew we weren’t alone. But we still felt alone.
That is one reason why I feel so strongly about the importance of National Infertility Awareness Week, which begins today. This one week every year, the media and our government and society talk about and recognize infertility, and the complex and widespread impact it has for so many of us.
This week, I want to help you feel a little less alone. So we’re bringing together personal stories of infertility from all over the internet. I hope you will feel a connection with some of them and feel, even for a moment, that you aren’t alone. (These are pull quotes from the original stories posted. To read the full original stories posted, please click on the name of the person.)
“When the one-year mark came and went, I was concerned, but didn’t take any concrete steps toward getting answers with the help of a doctor. I was just barely 20, after all, and I was young and healthy. Another year came and went, and during that time, it seemed like pregnancy blossomed everywhere except within me… I was working full-time with middle and high school students and several of them managed to get pregnant. How was it that they could get pregnant when I couldn’t? My infertility shook my faith.”
“The RE (reproductive endocrinologist) immediately launched into an obviously rehearsed speech on my chances of getting pregnant. He proceeded to pontificate on the difficulties and improbabilities of my being able to get pregnant at my age: I was 40. My eggs probably weren’t that good. My chances of getting pregnant were less than 2%. I really shouldn’t do IUI, but should go straight to IVF. But, if I decided to do IUI, then I would have to go straight to injectable drugs. And if I wanted to take my chances with timed IUI and have a chance of less than 2% of getting pregnant, then that was my choice.”
“The surgeon… thought there were only about 7 or 8 of these pesky fibroids to remove. But, once he got in there, he discovered there were 27 fibroids… The surgery was a raving success! My hope of conceiving was renewed. So, I guess a part of me doesn’t cringe at the word. MYOMECTOMY, as it will allow me to conceive my little Jaydon…”
“My journey has included:
5 failed medicated cycles
12 blood draws
25 bottles of pills
75 ovulation predictors
92 negative pregnancy tests
1,000’s of dollars
Unmeasurable heartache and sadness”
“I’m a choice mom to two wonderful teenagers, who are also my niece and nephew. Like many women I have always known I wanted to be a mother and although the role of ‘mother’ to my niece and nephew has been fulfilling, fun, and yes at times difficult; I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all again with another child. I have the desire and I’m completely ready, however one main component is missing – my partner! …
I had no idea all that was involved with assisted reproduction technology. Choosing the donor (open), jumping the hurdles required for IVF (test after test- ouch), discussing my decision with the children, biweekly acupuncture, and frequent visits to the reproductive endocrinologist… The “what if’s” crawl into my mind causing me to focus on the negatives at times (e.g., suppose the IVF fails). As a psychologist, I am aware of the powerful impact of stress upon the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. I remind myself that it is imperative to self soothe and calm such thoughts so as to not disrupt my body’s balance.”
“It struck me that the whole trying for a baby episode of my life took up seven whole years. Seven. At the time, in my late twenties and early thirties, when I should really have been enjoying my social life and focusing on all of the amazing opportunities that were coming my way, all I could think about was having a baby and why it wasn’t happening for me.
Not that I’m trying to downplay the emotional hardship of trying – and failing – to conceive; it just suddenly hit home quite how soul-destroying and disruptive that part of my life was.
The whole infertility subject is such a minefield; I almost don’t feel qualified to talk about it, or entitled to talk about it, because I have two beautiful children and – in the end – I didn’t have any sort of intervention or treatment. So was I infertile? Or was my body just biding its time? If I was infertile, how to explain the babies?”
Crazy for Crust
“About six months after we married, he had his vasectomy reversed… The best advice his doctor ever gave us was to bank some sperm, just in case. Vasectomy reversals have a nasty habit of scarring over, thus rendering the reversal useless.
I went through the month taking some sort of drug; I don’t remember which one now. We got all ready, did the “harvest” shot and went in on Easter Sunday to be implanted. My husband dropped off his sample, we left for an hour and went back for the procedure (they had to get the little guys all ready). I’ll never forget that woman’s face when I walked back into that clinic. There was no sperm. His vasectomy had reversed itself.”
Wife, Then Mama
“Finally, December 2012, we agreed to stop trying and work on adopting in the near future. I felt good about giving it up, but if I am totally honest, I still really hoped to get a miracle baby. In April 2013 we did classes to be foster parents, and we got our first placement on July 18th. Miss Baby was an 18 month old little girl, and she lived with us for 18 months. Having her leave was the saddest thing I have ever experienced, but I loved her so much I would go through all the infertility and the sorrow of losing her again if I was given the option. Our second placement was Little Guy, who was 6 months old on Halloween 2013, which is when we got him. He is our baby now, things were finalized at the beginning of 2016, but I don’t even remember the date because he has been ours since we met him! As much as the years of infertility were miserable, I am 100% okay with suffering through them, because I can’t imagine life without Little Guy.
In summer 2015 I was given a diagnosis for my infertility. A super crappy one. Premature Ovarian Failure. Basically I am in menopause, my ovaries are inactive. The likelihood of me conceiving is about 5-10%. Not in a month, but ever. So probably not going to happen, but better than zero I guess.”
How to Nest for Less
“I have to admit it was extremely tough watching my friends and family get pregnant during that time. My younger sister even got pregnant without even trying with her husband… uh, how are we related?! When my sister shared the news of her first pregnancy at our Sunday family dinner, I broke down. I just wasn’t expecting it and it caught me off guard.”
“There was a point where a doctor told me I had less than a 1% chance of having my own baby and that I should start looking into adoption or an egg donor. Fast forward, I now have my daughter, T…”
“…after acknowledging that pregnancy was contraindicated for my type of breast cancer, my husband and I scanned gestational profiles at a surrogate agency. A year after that, he told me he wanted a divorce. After we separated, I underwent two more years of legal proceedings, which amounted to a full-time job, leading to a courtroom battle for the custody of the frozen embryos.”
“There is a perception… out there of how you think people will respond to you [with male infertility]. You know, your peers, the lads down the pub, everyone that you know… Do you feel less of a man… And I thought no it is not my fault, I have not done anything, you know, I suppose it was through having mumps as a child. There’s no physiological reason. There is no genetic reason. So they are a little bit baffled as what causes the problem. But, so I thought no I am not going to be ashamed about this, I am not going to deny it, I’m not going to be embarrassed when I talk about it, you know, because I have got no reason to be, and you know, if I had any other kind of condition, people wouldn’t sort of condemn me or look at me in a different way, so why should I be any different about this?”
That we are all in this together. And that no matter where your journey leads you, there are people here to support you.
Get 25% off all of our infertility programs and guided meditations (Expires May 13, 2018) using the code NIAW25 at check-out, including our PCOS Program for Health, IVF and IUI Mind-Body Program, Natural Cycle for Fertility, and Relaxation for Men. Or try an introduction to the Circle + Bloom programs with our Free Fertility Relaxation Program.
With love & gratitude,