Infertility is not a favorite topic of discussion, especially if you and your partner are the ones going through it. It can feel like you are in a dark tunnel, looking for the light and knowing that many probably don’t even know you are in there to save you.
It’s hard to imagine when it feels like you spent your younger years so worried about not getting pregnant that here you are now, ready to get pregnant, and you don’t understand why it is so difficult.
The hardest years of my life were struggling with infertility. I had wanted to become a mom as soon as my husband and I got married. But we were young, still trying to figure out our lives and get a good footing.
We decided to wait a few more years before deciding that we were ready. When we finally decided to move forward with having kids, the anxiety and the worry of not getting pregnant built month after month, year after year.
Through various doctors’ appointments and infertility treatments, my husband and I kept this struggle to ourselves. We didn’t want to add the pressure of everyone knowing, and didn’t want our friends who were also starting their families, feel as though they needed to censor the happiest time in their life because they knew we were struggling.
It was hard on our marriage. Sex wasn’t as fun as it used to be. It was scheduled and almost robotic, as it felt that we took out the emotion and desire for one another and put all our energy into the desire for children.
While my partner was on the path of coming to terms that maybe we weren’t meant to have children, I, on the other hand, went full force into becoming a parent in any way possible. I was looking up avenues for adopting, becoming foster parents, and surrogacy.
In the end and after years of fertility treatments, our dream did end up coming true. With 3 amazing kids to complete our family, I’ve come to appreciate the struggle we had been in.
Lessons Learned For Those Struggling with Infertility
I know that this happy ending may not be the case for many couples out there struggling. Paths may have gone a different route or even concessions had to be made about what their family picture looks like now. But there are some very important lessons I learned throughout this whole process.
1. Share your story
We kept our family and friends from the hard struggle we were facing. We were just hanging onto each other when we had a wonderful support system just waiting for us to ask them for help. I wonder each day why we didn’t share and tell people what was going on.
In hindsight, instead of putting all my stress and anxiety onto my husband, who was already dealing with his own, I could have lightened the load by just having the ability to talk about it with a family member or friend. Sharing what I was going through would have helped me, but probably someone else, who is going through the same thing.
Through sharing, I probably would have found out that I wasn’t alone and there were so many others struggling with the same thing.
2. Talk to a therapist
I thought I could manage my feelings on my own. I had never gone to see a therapist before and while I could see myself fall into a black hole of depression; it wasn’t until it was nearly too late before I got in touch with someone to talk to.
If you are beginning an infertility treatment of any kind, I would recommend that if you are not already seeing a professional, I would find someone now.
It was a relief to talk to someone who wasn’t emotionally tied to my husband and me and could put things in perspective. I couldn’t have resentment and talk about the pain I was in without judgment or the well-meaning friend who was trying to solve my problems.
3. Don’t neglect your partner
You may feel like you are all alone in this journey – especially if it is you that is trying to get pregnant and you are wondering why your body is not doing what it is supposed to.
Your partner is struggling just as much. They are there right with you, probably feeling exactly the way you do.
Focus on your relationship. Get away for a night or a week. Make efforts every day to keep the romance and the desire still there. Work and fight for your marriage every day and even after your infertility journey ends.
4. Give yourself some grace
Be mindful that you are not alone and you are not the only one struggling. It is okay to be mad and upset about your infertility. As it is also normal to be jealous and sad when you hear someone break the news that they are pregnant. These are all legitimate feelings that any normal being has.
5. Make a plan for yourself
Did a friend just announce she is pregnant? Make a conscious effort to be happy for her and send your congratulations, but also be aware that you are going to be sad and upset and this is normal.
However, have a plan for yourself on how you are going to react to the news. Set up time with your therapist or a trusted friend to just vent. Or maybe it is allowing yourself a day to be upset.
It can be giving yourself a day to get away from your every day responsibilities to be mindful of your feelings and focus only on things that make you happy.
Be mindful that this season of life won’t be forever. There is always growth behind any struggle you are faced with. You are never alone and remember to rely on your support system.