Before you fire up your fingertips to type an offended response, please know there are no real benefits of infertility. Not one. But after three miscarriages, nine rounds of treatment and enough tears to fill the Gulf of Mexico, my desire and ability to suffer through one more day of emotional gray skies has simply run out.
So perhaps it was kismet. Or divine intervention. Or even just good old-fashioned coincidence that the same day I threw in the towel against infertility, a little ditty by the Carter Family came reaching across the airwaves and straight into my brain. Though written 116 years earlier, the words of “Keep on the Sunny Side” couldn’t have been more perfect if they had been crafted on this very day.
Tho’ the storm in its fury break today,
Crushing hopes that we cherished so dear,
Storm and cloud will in time pass away,
The sun again will shine bright and clear.
My heart isn’t healed. I still get swept away by sudden waves of grief and pain. But after years of stormy weather, it’s finally time to take a step over onto the sunny side of life…and infertility. So, inspired by a beat my great-grandparents would have gotten down to, here is my best attempt at opening the exam room doors and letting a little light shine in. And a maybe a teeny, tiny little bit of sarcasm.
9 Benefits of Infertility
It’s a club no one wants to be in. The cost of membership is staggering. There are no fun outings or happy hours. And there are no special handshakes, tee shirts or nametags to help identify other club members. But once they’re found, these friends are stone fortresses of support. Every day, I’m thankful for those who knew what to say, when to say it and when to just let me cry. And for letting me learn how to do the same for them.
Improved spousal relationship
From the beginning, we knew talking about what we were going through and how we were feeling would be the only way we’d survive. The stress of infertility takes a huge toll, as evidenced by the study showing infertile couples are three times more likely to divorce than their fellow fertile couples. And though we didn’t come through our secondary battle with the outcome we prayed for, my husband and I are stronger today than ever.
Eradication of needle phobia
Hate shots? Get over it. You have 15-500 self-administered injections and blood draws in your future. And some of them require unnaturally large needles. I’m proud to say that while I never before enjoyed shots, I developed an unhealthy fascination with the art of venipuncture.
Effective temporary insanity defense
Whether it’s a senseless argument with the spouse, tears over a Puppy Chow commercial or the third bowl of ice cream in a week day hour, the excuse is convenient, easy and true: Hormones.
Development of positive birdlike qualities
You know the saying, “rolled off like water off a duck’s back?” Well, that kind of unflappable quality is critical to surviving infertility. Where comments like “why don’t you just adopt?”or “be thankful you have one” or “just relax and it will happen” once ruffled my feathers, I now barely hear them. And when I do, I know that the speaker just doesn’t know. And in a way, that’s good. Because I wouldn’t wish this intimate knowledge of infertility on anyone.
Virtually unlimited “me time”
Acupuncture, relaxation massages, mindfulness meditation, counseling sessions. Put together, these necessary treatments equal nearly unlimited amounts of weekly self care…and time away from frivolous things like working, cleaning and time with friends and family.
Rarely do healthy people in their 30s get to take advantage of the government’s generous tax breaks for medical expenses that exceed 10% of a couple’s annual income. But the five figured bills of infertility make those savings a reality. Score.
No future awkward sex talk
Someday when our son asks about the birds and the bees we can honestly answer him that mommy and daddy loved each other so much and wanted a baby so we drove to a clinic where you were placed in mommy’s tummy by a doctor. The end.
My child will never doubt he was wanted
Sure, this holds true for children who were conceived on the first month of trying naturally. But I have to hold on to the idea that someday when we tell our son how hard we tried to create him and give him a sibling, he’ll understand a little bit better just how much he was meant to be a part of our family. But if it doesn’t, we can always threaten to bill him for the infertility treatments when he acts up as a teenager. Either way, we win.