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As I mentioned in a previous post, this week is National Infertility Awareness Week®. It runs from April 19 through April 25, and was created to raise awareness about infertility and encourage the public to understand their reproductive health. With the theme for the week being “You are not alone,” it was suggested to share stories of infertility.
I began sharing my story in part 1 of this little series. In it, I detailed much of the clinical aspect of my journey through infertility. But I didn’t really touch much on the emotional aspect of it. [Click here to read Part 1.]
But let me tell you something, emotions are a HUGE part of the journey.
Because infertility is such a personal situation, that many prefer not to discuss openly, it can be difficult handling all of the emotions (let alone hormones!) running through your body. You are stuck enduring the question of, “So, when are you going to have a baby?” But depending on your mood, you are either holding back tears, or holding back the desire to punch the person.
It can all lead to the feeling of being isolated and alone. But remember, you are not alone! According to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, infertility impacts approximately 1 in 8 couples! I think it’s perfectly reasonable not to want to share your infertility struggles with family or friends. But maybe find a group of people that you can relate to. There is online support available!
On the other hand, there are people who do openly talk about their struggles and treatments. Despite that, they can still feel alone, because other people don’t truly understand what infertility feels like. They try to be well-meaning and supportive, but sometimes their comments or advice end up feeling like salt on an open wound.
I said in my first post that I was worried about sharing my journey through infertility because I am now on the other side, with 3 children of my own. But I do still remember what it felt like. So I wanted to share the emotions that I was constantly struggling with, and maybe if you are going through your own journey, you can relate.
7 Emotions of Infertility
This one is obvious. I was just plain sad about being unable to conceive a baby of our own. It’s a sadness that runs so deep because I had almost no control over the situation. It is not something that could be easily fixed. Eventually, the sadness moved in to full-fledged depression. If you think you are getting to that point, I highly suggest you discuss your feeling with your doctor. There are a variety of treatments, from therapy to medicine, which can help you through.
During our infertility struggles, I dealt with lot of guilt. I thought I had done something to mess up my body and it was causing our problems. I also felt guilty about going through our treatments instead of pursuing other alternatives, like adoption. Basically, I was very down on myself and it took a big hit on my self-esteem.
Even though it was only a small amount, I did feel a small piece of genuine happiness when my friends or family announced their pregnancies. I couldn’t deny that it was very exciting news. But of course, most of the time this small amount of happiness was overshadowed by the many other emotions I was dealing with.
As I mentioned above, happiness was usually drowned out by other emotions, typically jealousy. I know it’s a horrible thing to be, but I was incredibly jealous of my friends growing baby bellies. Or the pictures they were sharing of their children on social media. I wanted what they were having so badly.
I was angry at the world while on my journey through infertility. I was angry that people who abused their children were capable of having babies, while I could not. This was the time in my life that I stopped watching the news because I couldn’t handle hearing about the horrible stories regarding children. It all just seemed incredibly unfair.
There were so many different types of fear. Fears of the treatments, like needles and blood tests. Fear of messing up the medication and ruining that cycle. Then there was the fear of never becoming a mother. The fear of hearing that the test was negative again. And the fear to hope for good news to only be shattered when I didn’t hear it.
While I was afraid to hope, that didn’t stop me from doing it. Each month, I had that small bit of hope that “this was it.” This was the month that we were going to get pregnant. It was a weird balancing act of hoping just a little bit, but not too much so the feeling of disappointment wouldn’t be so great.
There were so many emotions during my journey through infertility, but these were probably what I felt most of the time. It was exhausting.
But I think these emotions are what is to be expected. They are normal. Infertility is such a life-altering journey that it is obviously going to be filled with intense feelings. Looking back, I wish I had been going through counseling during our fertility treatments. It might have made me feel a little bit more stable during the process. But hindsight is always 20/20!
If you are currently on your journey through infertility, I just want to remind you that you are not alone! If you don’t want to share what you are going through with friends or family, then find a support group of people who truly understand. Or if you connect better on an individual basis, then find just one person who is also experiencing this journey. Or maybe even find a counselor. I wish that I had done that!
If you have NOT dealt with infertility, try to be conscious of your words as you support someone who is struggling. One of the best tips I’d like to give is that you NOT offer advice, unless directly asked. If you don’t know what to say, then just be honest. I personally would prefer to hear someone tell me, “I don’t know what to say. But I am here for you with whatever you need.” Another great thing to do is just ask! Ask the person if they even want advice or a response, or if they just want someone to listen to them vent.
The journey through infertility is difficult, and that is probably an understatement. It can be a taboo subject, but hopefully if we talk about it more, it will slightly ease the burden of those who are struggling.
Wishing you the best of luck on your journey!
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