23 April, 2012

"Don't Ignore" The Pain of Infertility

It is "National Infertility Awareness Week" also know as "NIAW"
 April 22-28, 2012 is National Infertility Awareness Week®, a nationwide campaign intended to educate the public about infertility and the concerns of the infertility community. Since 1989, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association has led efforts to celebrate this special week by hosting events and activities designed to encourage grassroots advocacy and motivate the infertility movement
 This is a week set aside to discus all things infertility - How we are affected, how those around us are affected, how we can be helped, how we can help each other, how we can make changes and. . .  how we cope. 

I'm 29 years old - I have Stage IV Endometriosis and have had 3 miscarriages. I have been TTC for 7 years, 5 years spent trying on our own, and the last 2 1/2 years have been with a doctor.

The Theme for this years NIAW is "Don't Ignore______". You are supposed to fill in the blank with something you'd like to tell people "Not to Ignore" about infertility. I have chosen Pain. . . I have felt deep pain due to infertility. I have felt a pain that echos throughout my heart, my soul and body. It is the type of pain that greets me in the morning with a cruel smile. It is like a companion I feel chained to, a companion I have grown tired of, and a companion that has changed my life completely. Sometimes I feel that Infertility has highjacked my life. It has only been recently that I have become more able to face it and accept it for what it is. I have suffered loss and that is hard to swallow at times, not only am I infertile, but I can't stay pregnant. Infertility is pain that is handed out in doses, it's not all at once, it stays with you and lingers. I realize that I may never have a child of my own, it is a very real outcome that I try not to think about too much, yet the reality of that truth haunts me at times. I have felt pain both physically and emotionally. It doesn't go away and it cant be rated on a scale of 1-10, because the pain vibrates out and touches family members, spouses and friends in totally different ways. . . it touches whole lives and has little mercy.

I had a "feeling" I was infertile in my early 20's. I chose to ignore my gut feelings, because of what society told me and how I was made to feel by doctors. "You are so young, don't you want to wait and take birth control in the meantime". I was young, and why would I want to have children so young when there is treatment available for later on when I was "really" ready? All I can say is treatment does not guarantee that you'll get pregnant and stay pregnant.

Don't ignore your gut feeling and don't ignore the pain.

I have done the following - Relaxed, Taken it easy, Prayed, Vacationed, Had surgery, Hoped, Peed on ovulation strips, Tracked my cycle, Taken my temperature, Use special lube for sex, Laid in awkward positions after sex, Eaten different foods around ovulation, IUI, Clomid, Letrozole, Taken Vitamins, Changed my Diet, Charted, Stopped smoking, Stopped Drinking, Cried, Pleaded, Crossed my fingers, Tried not to think about it, and I have propositioned God, or whatever God is listening.
I have already tried all of it and more. And, let me tell you. . .  it is an insult when you tell me "It is in Gods hands" or that it will happen when "God says it is time". . .

Infertility has changed my life in many ways, many ways I could never explain to you, because I can't seem to find the right words. If I could share anything with the wold it would be this - Please Do Not tell a woman to do all of these things I have already done, while she is trying to conceive especially if it has already been over a year or more. I can understand saying some of these things within the first 3-8 months of trying to conceive, because it can take a few tries. Once you hit that year mark it is pretty obvious that there is a problem somewhere. It it hurts deep inside when you hit that year mark, have no answers, and no funds to figure it out. People have no clue that your heart is suddenly thrown into a most fearful and tragic state of being. And with everyone around you saying that you need to relax, well it is a slap right in the face and a hard one too. . . So if we open up enough to tell you we are struggling don't use those types of comments when responding to us. We usually know you had the best intentions when you make those types of comments, we know that you were just trying to be kind and say something nice, because you probably just didn't know what to say. What you should say is that you are sorry things didn't work this cycle, and that you hope the next month will be successful and maybe, that you hope one day they are blessed with a healthy pregnancy and that all their hard work pays off. That is truly the most neutral, kindest and honest statement you could say to any man or woman dealing with infertility. We know people don't necessarily understand what it is like to be infertile, but we know you are capable of opening your hearts to hear us, and that is what we need most of all. . . for those around us to listen, and not question. . . It seems a little scary for us to share things too, so don't be afraid to talk to us, and ask us what is going on in our "journey". We are used to most people not asking us what's going on, so your curiosity is sometimes a blessing in disguise, often allowing us to open up and release a little bit of our hurt that is bottled up inside. Talking about it makes it easier to deal with, and that is no lie.


And to all of the infertile woman out there right now - Don't ignore your own disease or your own feelings about the disease. Don't ignore your gut feelings. It is time to stop putting ourselves through so much torture, stop keeping it bottled up inside. We need to do our part and start opening our mouths to the world, make the people hear us, understand us. The world, everyday people and insurance agencies will not know we are in pain unless we tell them, show them or force them them understand. People around you will not know you are suffering unless you tell them. States will not know to cover Family reproduction aid, unless we tell them we need to the help, and if they don't listen, then make them listen. And, I don't mean just in this week. It is up to you to tell those around you when you are at your lowest, don't put on the fake smile and say your great, if someone is asking then tell them how you truly feel, or else how are they to know what you are dealing with? How are they to know that your heart was broken hours before you came into work because of another failed fertility treatment? Tell your friends when you hate the world, tell them when you feel jealous, and hurting, because you are so broken inside from dealing with infertility. Tell your family the truth about your struggles, tell them you've already had two losses and never shared it with them, because you didn't want to burden anyone with your pain and struggle. Tell your friends honestly that you don't want to go to that 3rd baby shower, because it is just too painful. Take time for your self and don't ignore your mental needs. "We" as infertile woman want to control how people see us while were dealing with infertility, we want people to think we are strong and we are, but we are also fragile and living on the edge of something so fierce, something so much bigger than ourselves. It is overwhelming at times, so Ladies - Stop trying to hold it all on your own shoulders, share your burden, your feelings, your hopes and your struggles. Do not be ashamed, we are Warriors. It is time to break the cycle of living in silence. It is completely up to us to change the way people, insurance agencies and the Government sees and treats Infertility. We must share our pain no matter how painful that is. Infertility affects 1 in 8. . . That is a lot people struggling, a lot of broken hearts, a lot of financially broken couples. . . and so much pain that isn't necessary. Don't  Ignore Infertility, because it wont ignore you!!


If you are interested in learning more about infertility please visit Resolve.org
You can also participate in National Infertility Awareness week

 http://www.resolve.org/infertility101  (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
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31 comments:

  1. Beautiful post! I wish none of us had to know this pain. Thank you for your vulnerability.

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    1. Thank you for reading! I too wish non of us had to endure this type of pain!

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  2. I LOVE your wording in the first section, especially the parts about it being a champion that is chained to you and about the doses of infertility pain.

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    1. Thanks girl, it is the truth... I feel very deeply connected with my infertility if that makes sense.

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  3. Wow. What a post! These areas of confusion about how to react to infertility are something that needs to be broken down, and this can only be done through being more open about the effects of infertility on our lives. I love this post! Thank you for being so open and honest about your struggle...

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    1. Thank you so much Ali, and yes, it definitely needs to be broken down... There is no instruction guide and that is what makes it so hard sometimes.

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  4. Lovely post! All I can say after reading is "I am infertile...hear me ROAR!" We are a damn scrappy community and we will be heard! XO

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    1. Yes!! ROAR!!! Scrappy has always gotten my by, lol :) Thanks girl!!

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  5. Wonderful post. I would stand up and applaud you right now if I could. Thank you for writing this.

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  6. Thanks for writing this. It's so good. We haven't been trying nearly as long as you have, and I can totally relate to "do you have any idea what it's like to have your life consumed by something so sad!? Or what it's like to keep your legs in the air for 30 minutes after sex?! etc. etc." I'll be following your story and hoping for good news for you soon.

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    1. Having your life consumed is so hard... so hard. I'm glad you found me and thanks for reading :)

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  7. I really think you hit the nail on the head saying "Infertility is pain that is handed out in doses, it's not all at once, it stays with you and lingers." -It's definately something that becomes an everyday part of life. Although I think about having/not having a baby every day, some days are more of a struggle than others. Some days I'm optimistic and think "I could be pregnant in __ months" other days I think "Is this every going to happen?"

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    1. Thanks for your comment!! And you are so right, some days are more of a struggle than others - Best of luck to you Girl!!

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  8. What an amazing post! We are hurting but we are not alone! I am grateful for your sharing and for others who are brave enough to stand up and share. I am, as always, wishing you all the best.

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  9. Couldn't have said it better myself, especially the part about trusting your gut. So many times we believe the doctors becaue they are supposed to know everything, but no one knows our bodies better than we do. Been thinking of you a lot lately, hope you are hangin in there xoxo

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    1. If there is anything I regret most it would have to be the not trusting my gut... Thank you for your sweet comments!!

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  10. I kind of had a feeling, like you, that it was going to be difficult for us to get pregnant...I chose not to listen for a while...and when I finally did listen I chose a crappy RE. Finally think I'm at the right place. Sending hope!

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    1. I hope everything goes great for you with your new place, you have to trust your doc!! Sending hope back to you as well :)

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  11. So perfectly put. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    And thank you for stopping by my blog as well.

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  12. I just found your blog, and this post in particular is hitting me hard. We haven't been trying anywhere near as long as you (we just recently hit the one year mark) but I identify with virtually everything you wrote here. I've recently tried to open up to a few people because keeping our struggle to myself was getting too hard, and all I got in response was "relax!". Seriously? Even my own mother gave me that crap, that's all she said. No words of comfort or support, just "relax!" It's like a kick in the teeth. I guess I'll just go back into hiding, since nobody I know in real life seems to be able to give me any support. I know fertile people can't really understand infertility, but the way I see it is that you don't have to have been through something to offer a shoulder to cry on. Plenty of times I've been supportive of people going through bad times that I haven't experienced myself. I guess those same people just aren't going to even try to be there for me!
    I wish you all the best and I really hope you get your take-home baby soon, you so deserve it.

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  13. Thank you for wording it so beautifully. I've been trying for 2 years and have had 2 miscarriages. After the first miscarriage, which was a year after trying I tried to move on from my grief because many a person explained it was a positive thing, it showed I could get pregnant. Whilst I understand their logic it belittled how devestated I felt and how much it had taken to get there. I was told 'relax, it will happen'! From then on I felt my feelings of fear and frustration were disproportionate. However on the anniversary a year later I concieved again. That year felt the longest ever but as soon as I saw the positive test it felt worth it and meant to be! Unfortunately I miscarried at the same time again. Now the doctors have found I may not be able to maintain a pregnancy. Yet still I get told stories of miracles, told what to cut out, what to eat, what yoga to do. I'm a rational person but often at night I search the internet for hours for miracle answers. My colleague is pregnant, announced to me 3 days after I returned to work after the miscarriage. She's lovely and I am happy for her yet my team (all of whom have been pregnant around me for the past 2 years discuss little but babies and pregnancy. Most days I join in with a brave face (and cry once I'm home). Other days I walk away hoping someone will realise I'm finding it tough. No one asks and I dont know if its out of a lack of understanding of how deeply this affects mg life or out of a wish not to upset me by mentioning it. I feel so self centred in my feelings and try to just 'focus on what I do have'. However when I finally broke down in front of my best friend she told me that I should move on, at least I'm not dying! It hurt so much after the years I'd been there for her.

    This sounds a very negative post (I've never posted before) but these feelings are waves and more regularly now I am able to think of an alternative future with my husband. However I have printed your words off and on a bad day I may pass them to a colleague or friend to say how I feel. I dont feel like an over emotional nutter now! Thank you

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  14. What an amazing post and something that I really needed to read today. I too never thought we would be going down this path which sometimes doesn't feel like a straight path but rather one with twists and turns and not always clear.

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