Last week, in Say What (Part 1), I touched on a few things I’ve heard in just the short time we were told we have fertility challenges. As I stated before, I completely understand when certain questions are asked, statements are made, or advice is given, it is done with love and good intentions. If anything I have learned many people don’t realize how common infertility is, let alone know how to respond to someone who says they are facing infertility. This week, I have a few more questions or statements I’ve heard that I want to talk about.
“But you’re so young! You have plenty of time to get pregnant.”
I’m 28 years old, (29 in November). I have plenty of friends who have children or even two or three. I also have friends who have just started building their families. In an ideal situation, my husband and I had a “5 year plan” after we got married that involved the possibility of starting a family when we were ready.
That all changed within the last year. One day we were told I have Endometriosis and if we do want kids we need to focus on trying soon. They told us with as bad the Endo is, I could end up needing a full hysterectomy if we wait too long. Then, almost a year to the day later, we were told I have PCOS and in addition to the severity of the Endo, our chances of conceiving on our own are almost zilch and oh by the way, our best option for a successful pregnancy is through IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) so we’ll need to come up with at least $14k asap.
Talk about a dagger to my heart. I’ll never forget sitting in the consultation room after our first appointment with the fertility specialist and zoning out while talking to the nurses, doctors, financial coordinators for 3 hours learning the process, the percentages, the statistics, and the thousands of dollars it would cost for us to have a baby of our own. To say it was overwhelming is an understatement. I may be young but I definitely do not have all the time in the world.
Do understand at times we are overwhelmed with the amount of information we are receiving and stressing at the thought that I can hear a clock ticking that isn’t just biological but also scientific. While being younger does help, it doesn’t guarantee that I will become pregnant.
“Just relax and it will happen when you least expect it!”
I hear this and my first thought is “Oh my goodness! Why didn’t we think of that?!” and I just want to laugh. I wish it were that easy but not for us. Stress is not solely responsible for my infertility but I would be lying if I said it can’t complicate things.
In the all-encompassing binder full of info on IVF we received at our consultation, it says to reduce stress to aid in the success of IVF. Again I chuckle at the thought of not “stressing” while your other half is poking you daily with needles and your body is waging in a hormonal world war inside.
I would also be lying if I said we haven’t made changes to relieve some stress. Some are minor such as limiting extra activities, spending more time on my hobbies, focusing on my faith and ensuring I have my daily quiet time with God. Then some changes have been major, like quitting a growing career I had worked for years to eliminate emotional and physical stresses to solely focus on my health and my family. It took some adjusting but I’m grateful for the decisions we have made and the positive changes that have come from those decisions.
Please understand it is a myth that stress can cause infertility. My infertility is caused by Endo and PCOS so telling me to “relax” isn’t magically going to give us a baby. Also understand when we start our IVF cycle I may seem more stressed trying to keep organized and track medications. This will be stressful individually and for us both, please continue to provide support or encouragement and offer help when the time is right.
“Everything happens for a reason.” or “It’s all a part of God’s plan.”
This one is possibly the one I hear the most and also probably the hardest for me. Let me say that I am fully aware that God has a plan in place. Trusting His plan has always been a struggle for me. While trying to figure out if we were going to be able to do IVF and when the possibility seemed hopeless, I remember crying out to Him, “Why are you doing this to me?!” At my weakest, I told my husband I didn’t understand why God would allow me to want to be a mother so badly and then turn his back on me and that I had never felt so lonely in all my life. However, it was shortly after this moment I felt led to start this blog and be a voice for others who may be feeling the same way I have felt.
I’m a firm believer that this journey we are on is God’s way of working through me to grow my faith all while learning to give complete control to Him. With that said, hearing someone tell me this is all God’s plan/will or everything happens for a reason, does not make this easier. There have been many times where I feel entitled to be angry and upset with His plan and in my opinion, I think it’s ok to be angry sometimes. Honestly, instead of hearing someone trying to comfort me with these words, I want people to be upset along with me. When I hear people tell me this, I take it as a reminder I have no control over what happens. (There is my inner-control freak trying to break her way out again!) It’s hard for me to completely let go and admit, I don’t have control over this.
Please understand that I struggle with this daily and that I know deep down God is in control. Please tell me if you recognize this isn’t fair for us and know that there will be times I will be angry and upset. Empathy goes a long way.
Lastly, maybe you just found out you are pregnant but don’t want to upset the infertile girl with the news. Yes, it sucks. There I said it. It sucks to be on Facebook and my newsfeed be filled with what seems like 1000 friends who are expecting (actually this last month I’ve already counted 12 pregnancy announcements. March and April is going to be a doozy.) However, as much as it sucks, at the same time I’m thrilled for my friends and family!
I had heard from other friends searching for their last key, how hard it was when friends or family would announce they were expecting. I never anticipated the effect it would have on me. I received my first experience a few months ago while hanging out with a group of our close friends. They told everyone they had news and I immediately looked down and in my mind I began repeating “Please don’t say you are pregnant. Please don’t say you are pregnant.” I wasn’t ready. We were just told our news and I hadn’t even had time to process it yet, let alone figure out how I would handle someone’s announcement. When they announced, I smiled and told them congratulations and that I was happy for them and their exciting news, and I truly am! Shortly after, my mind began racing, my face felt hot, I could feel my heartbeat in my throat and I asked my husband if we could go home. It was when we got inside and started getting ready for bed I just broke down. I don’t think either one of us were ready for my feelings at that moment.
It’s a weird inner-emotional clash that happens inside of me when I hear others’ joyful news. I am truly happy and deeply excited for them in my heart but then my sympathetic nervous system takes over my body. I can say it seems to have gotten easier as I have heard about numerous family additions but occasionally the rush of feelings happens all over again when I least expect it.
Please know that I am excited to hear your news and I am so happy for you and your family. If possible, a text message or email to let me know is ideal. I’ll have the time to digest the news and if for whatever reason my pesky sympathetic nervous system decides to take over, you won’t have to witness it. In no way do I want to take away from your joy. Please keep in mind it’s not always easy for me sometimes to keep my hormones in check and sometimes the ugly cry face comes out!
I hope this is somewhat helpful and explains things from my personal experience. This is just how I feel and if you or your friends are facing their own infertility battle may feel differently or have similar out different experiences, I would love to hear your/their experiences!
Have a great weekend!