I’ve learned a lot over the years in the world of infertility – and I mean, A LOT. Struggling for nearly five years to build our family, allowing me to mingle in this world of infertility, has taught me these ten things:
- NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO SUPPORT YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY
and that’s ok, right? You’ll find you’ll get support from people you least expect it from and you’ll find that you won’t get any support from those closest to you (i.e. immediate family members, friends, etc). It’s hurtful, yes, but you’ll be reminded that those just aren’t your people. Ef them. Surround yourself with those that love you, support you, cry with you, and reach out to you in good times and in bad.
- IT’S UNREALISTIC TO THINK ONE IVF CYCLE WILL RESULT IN A BABY
Let’s be real. I think we ALL go into our first cycle thinking it will work. It has to right? And don’t get me wrong, there’s several people that it does work for that first round. But there’s also several of us (myself included) that it won’t work for, even after countless rounds. When I see someone successful after just one round of IVF, I’m shocked and so envious of them. Good for them though! But yes, sometimes I wanna scream “HOW ARE THEY SO LUCKY?” LOL. I’m not mad at them – trust me – I just wish things would have worked out differently for us.
- THE NURSING STAFF AT YOUR CLINIC WILL BECOME YOUR SECOND FAMILY
It’ll be hard for them not to become your second family. You’ll spend many days a week at the clinic, getting poked, prodded and putting your feet up in the stirrups. They’ll become your biggest cheerleaders and hold a smile while giving you some bad news (if they have to). They work day in and day out, even on holidays, to ensure we are taken care of. Nothing will be off limits because you’ll get so darn comfortable around them – really, they’re the best and we owe a lot to them.
- YOU WON’T GET INVITES TO BABY SHOWERS/KID BIRTHDAY PARTIES
I think this one can sting the most. It hurts to attend so you decide to skip out on these events or you’re just not invited at all. I never know if they don’t invite me out of respect because they think it’ll be too hard for me to be surrounded by children, or if I’m not invited because I don’t have kids to bring to the party. Either way, I’d rather be invited and decide for myself if I want to partake than not be invited at all. Please, keep this in mind friends of infertiles.
- NEEDLE PHOBIA WILL END REAL QUICKLY
Yep, and I mean real quick. I remember first starting out on this journey. I couldn’t watch my nurse draw my blood and I would go to my husband’s work at the same time every night for injections. Now? I watch my blood being drawn and I do injections myself (85% of the time). Some of the injections aren’t even in the comfort of my own home – they’re in bathroom stalls at concerts, in my car, or even at work, etc. I still like to have my husband do them (especially PIO) because it makes me feel like he’s “more apart of the journey” that way and a little break can be nice. You’ll become a bad ass with injections – hell, you’re a bad ass just for fighting through infertility. Go you!
- THE INFERTILITY SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY IS BEYOND AMAZING
One of the first things I will tell a friend or someone that reaches out to me about infertility is to get into social media – especially Instagram. I would have never found my reproductive immunologist (nor would I even know that field existed) if it wasn’t for Instagram. The #ttc community we have on there has been a savior for me. I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime and I’ve had friendships that have lasted only a month or so cause we were cycle buddies. Regardless – it will open up your eyes and your heart and the support you’ll receive from these women will blow you away. However, don’t be shocked if after they have success they disappear. And that’s ok – that’s their choice!
- YOU’LL NEED SUPPORT FROM MORE THAN JUST YOUR SPOUSE/SIGNIFICANT OTHER
Yes, you will. A lot of it. I get it though – not everyone decides to go public and you don’t have to. But I strongly suggest you think about talking to your family and/or close friends about it. It will make a world of difference – not only will you feel better for putting it out there and all the extra support you’ll receive, but you’ll also start raising awareness for infertility. It doesn’t have to be such a taboo topic; I promise! You’re going to need things to keep you busy and keep your mind off things sometimes (especially during that two week wait) so find your people and make plans! Also, our two dogs have been one of the best things for me during our struggles. Yes, that means you need a pet – like now! LOL.
- YOU’LL RECEIVE A LOT OF UNSOLICITED OPINIONS/ADVICE
I think this just goes with the territory. And it is to be expected. While most of the time, I like to think people are coming from a place of love – it can be REALLY hard to bite my tongue when this happens. If I want your advice or opinions about MY infertility journey, I’ll ask for it. Enough said.
- YOU’LL TRY ANYTHING THAT YOU THINK WILL HELP INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF SUCCESS
Am I right ladies?! Pineapple core – give me all of it. Acupuncture – even though it can cost an arm and a leg I better try it because it worked for someone else. Brasil nuts – these help your lining thicken right? Who knows, but we still eat them! McDonald’s french fries after transfer – sure why not? Can’t hurt! Let’s be real here – NONE of these will get you pregnant. But, if they help give you piece of mind and give you some hope – then by all means, have at it.
- PREGNANCY ANNOUNCEMENTS NEVER GET EASIER
And I mean, literally, never ever get easier. Are we happy for them? Absolutely. But it’s just plain hard. Some families I know are on their 3rd or 4th kid since we have been trying to have one…just ONE! Each new pregnancy announcement is a total mind f*ck. It brings you back to square one and thinking “when will it ever be my turn?” every…single…time… You’ll watch their weekly bump pics and a lump will form in your throat and tears will well in your eyes. It’s only natural, but it still sucks, royally.
Infertility has been the best and worst thing to ever happen to me. It’s made me stronger, more patient, and has blessed me with some really amazing people in my life. But it’s also ripped my heart out and brought me to my lowest lows. What’s important is that you keep fighting and keep going. Do what’s best for YOU and your partner. Don’t let others dictate your journey – in the end, you know what’s best.