National Infertility Awareness Week
Anyone can be challenged to have a family. No matter your race, religion, sexuality or economic status, infertility does not discriminate. National Infertility Awareness Week focuses on removing the stigma and barriers that stand in the way of building a family. Together, we can change the conversation.
For the past two years I’ve been in the fight of my life. I faced an opponent bigger and stronger than me who had no regard for my emotions or well-being. Who didn’t care why I was in the ring or what it was that I was hoping to win. And after each of nine long, soul shattering rounds of infertility treatments, I peeled my tired body off the mat each time a little bit slower and more tenderly than the last.
I’m tired. I’m beat. I concede to infertility. I’m that story you hear about a friend of a friend’s cousin’s college roommate who tried so hard to have a second baby and failed. I’ve tallied five rounds of IUI and four rounds of IVF. Hundreds of needle sticks. Innumerable bruises. Two hysteroscopies. Countless doctor visits. 36 Chinese herb pills a day. Thousands of dollars in acupuncture. Tens of thousands more in treatments. Royal jelly tinctures (if you don’t know, trust me, you don’t want to know). Moxa balm & heat packs. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction classes. Essential oils. Pomegranate juice. Healing crystals (I know, I know). Six negative pregnancy tests. Three positive pregnancy tests. Three miscarriages.
[And these are just the supplements, not the prescription meds.]
To clarify, I haven’t been going through this alone. My husband has been with me every step of the way. He’s been beside me for every procedure, every shot, every cautious happiness and every crushing blow. He’s felt everything that I have in his own way. But if there’s one thing infertility is really good at, it’s isolation. Because even though we both carry our individual packs of sadness and frustration, there’s nothing I can do to take his away nor he mine. We can only listen.
Through it all, right up until our last round of IVF, we both believed that having a second child was a when and not an if. We believed that like everything else we’ve done in life if we wanted it enough and worked hard enough it could be ours. The problem is that biology and genetics don’t agree with that philosophy. They’re mean sons of…well, you know. They don’t care about degrees or money or how fit you are. They don’t give a rat’s rear if all your friends have second or third children or how you worry about having an only child. They don’t care if celebrities are having babies at far older ages than you and they certainly don’t care how much you crave another babe in your arms.
Friends and family often ask if there’s anything they can do. We used to answer, “Just hope and pray.” Now I just shrug and offer my thanks for their support. Because at this moment I feel like I’m walking through life with a one-ton boulder on my back. We have countless cheerleaders on the sidelines rooting us on but not a single one – not my husband, not my mom, no one – can take this weight for even a moment. And that’s what I need. To rest.
And yet. There’s something infertility can’t take away from me. I’m still a mom. Four years ago, we conceived our beautiful, perfect, and now we believe miracle, little boy on our very first round of treatment. So you can suck it, infertility. I still win.
“Never let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
– Myles Munroe
This article was originally published on April 2, 2015, but the hope remains the same: to support one another within this beautiful community of women through the journey of infertility.