Angry. Mad. Shamed. Misunderstood. Complicated. Sad. Heartbroken. Confused. Terrified. Broken. Empty…
These are just a few of the choice adjectives I would use to describe how a person battling infertility may feel at any given time during their battle and journey.
Although you may look at them and think “she/he looks alright I don’t see anything physically wrong” you must understand the mental and emotional warfare that goes on inside.
You may wonder why we aren’t going to social gatherings like we used too, why we don’t seem as happy and joyful as we once were, why we aren’t at work and are taking time off, or you may wonder why you see me out at the grocery store or out to dinner with my spouse but not in the hallways at work or at social gatherings. Why can she/he do that but not this??
This is because WE are surviving infertility in any way that we can. Doing whatever we can that day to get through it and hopefully find some joy and happiness in that day. And that is absolutely okay. Whatever way you can improve your mental health is always the right way.
Have you ever wondered what your life would be like without children? I have and it is scary. I wonder to myself who will visit when my husband and I are old and grey. Not only will we never be parents, but we will not get to experience the joy of being Grandparents either. This breaks my heart to think about. What if something happens to my spouse…I will be all alone. Who will take care of us when we are unable to do this for ourselves? When our parents are no longer with us, what family will we have if we don’t have kids? We have siblings, nephews and neices but what if they move away? The list continues…
These are just some of the questions that burn in my mind on a daily basis and fill me with stress and anxiety. The struggle is hard and the fear is very real and hard to get past.
For some they want to keep themselves so busy so they don’t have to think about their recent losses or heartaches whereas others such as myself find it hard to focus on anything but just that. It’s like a cloudiness comes over your mind and you can’t focus or think straight anymore. A dark cloud grabs you and hugs you so tightly you worry will you ever get away from it. Will it consume you entirely that the only part left of you is infertility. Will this define me/us for the rest of my life…
The logical answer is no because I know I am a complex human being who is so much more than someone struggling to begin her family. But the fight and daily battle is real. When you want something so natural and by human nature something my body was designed to do but just can’t seem to obtain…it does consume your life and your mind. No matter how hard you try to forget.
Every month begins another cycle that starts with hope and ends with saddness, thus far. For a lucky few of us the tides change and finally one month that cycle ends with joy and elation only to start another journey of fear and worry of “will this pregnancy be viable and will it last?”. People who aren’t infertile don’t realize that the fear and worry doesn’t end for most when they finally see those two pink lines. I know this as I talk to many of these women daily and hear their struggles and new fears and I know this will be me too if I’m fortunate enough to get there.
As time goes on and with each year that passes during your battle to overcome infertility, these worries and emotions only get magnified and worsen. The fear this may never happen creeps and makes itself known. It whispers in your ear making sure you do not forget its presence like a plague. It wants you to remember your pain.
And like every woman or man going through this we rise up like warriors in battle to defeat that voice in our heads and we continue on. We do not give up. We will not let this beat us. Sometimes we win but sometimes we don’t. And that is okay because that is real life. It is hard for all of us. We all have hardships in our lives and even if you cannot relate to infertility, I know you can relate to pain and heartache.
So I ask that you be patient with your loved one while they are on this journey. I ask that you not judge them for their failures and celebrate them for their triumphs even if they seem small to you. I assure you it will mean the world to that person to feel supported. No one expects you to understand our experience but we do expect our friends and family to love us through it and be supportive. If support means not saying anything because you don’t know the right thing to say then that is okay too.
But please don’t ask us why we can’t come out or why we cannot work or why we don’t seem as happy as we once were. And I am speaking from personal experience with this because it is hurtful and makes us feel like we are being judged and not supported. It makes me feel isolated. It makes me feel worse. It makes me sad.
The best thing anyone can do is just say, “I am here for you” and mean it.