National Infertility Awareness Week: My Story

There’s no right way to deal with it.

Just because someone’s story is worse doesn’t make your feelings superficial.

Whatever you are feeling is valid. 

These were my mantras for years.

I mastered the art of the fake smile and polite response of “no… not yet” when people asked me if I had children. What I really felt was rage, shame, and the urge to scream and hit a punching bag. The truth was that I wasn’t getting pregnant and after many months, the official diagnosis was on paper, like a failing report card — “infertility.”

I was using the pee sticks, bought the basal thermometer, had several apps to track my ovulation, was meditating, exercising, and taking care of my body. So why wasn’t it happening?

Well-meaning friends, family, and colleagues said phrases like:

“It will happen”

“Just relax”

“Let nature take its course”

“You’re still young” (The irony is anyone older than 35 is labeled “Advanced Maternal Age”)

The reality was many of these people never experienced what I was going through. My mother and older sister both were able to conceive naturally in their mid-30’s so I never thought my journey to motherhood would be difficult. After going through common tests facilitated for those labeled “infertile”, everything came back normal. It was a relief to hear, but it didn’t do much for the emotional part of my mind that was losing patience with the process.

The following year was a test of my mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual self. Another year without success, one with many highs, lows, and bumps in the road. I share this story not because I want empathy, compassion, or a hug. It’s because I know so many women are going through these emotions right now and don’t know what to do with them. They are hiding under a blanket and crying. They are numbing themselves with television. They are running miles outside to get their anger out. They are avoiding social/virtual interactions for the fear the subject of kids will come up. They are the ones giving you a fake smile and polite answer when you ask them if they have children.

To these women:

There’s no right way to deal with it.

Just because someone’s story is worse doesn’t make your feelings superficial.

Whatever you are feeling is valid. 

I didn’t reach out for the support I needed at the time. What gives me hope is organizations like RESOLVE that are heightening awareness about infertility.

We all have a story to share when it comes to our struggle to build a family, and RESOLVE is empowering people to share their stories during National Infertility Awareness Week,” said Barbara Collura, RESOLVE’s President/CEO. “The collective power of our stories can change policies, make someone realize they are not alone, and help erase the stigmas and biases so many of us face.”

I will continue to share my story with BELLA Family because it always helped to know there was some stranger in some part of the world who understood me. I get it. Whoever you are, I’m thinking of you and wishing you strength on your journey.

 

To learn more about RESOLVE, visit https://resolve.org/

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