I recently read this article in Self Magazine. . According to the article 1 in 8 couples will be affected by some type of infertility. That statistic doesn’t really surprise me, it seems everytime I turnaround, I bump into someone who has or is struggling with fertility. The article goes on to state that 61% of women seeking infertility treatment do not share their struggles with friends and family. Really? People don’t talk about infertility? I would not have survived infertility, my marriage would not have survived infertility, if I hadn’t talked about it.
I remember the pain and frustration as I waited for my body to do what it was supposed to do naturally. As you are going through it, infertility is stressful which doesn’t help matters any. But, in hindsight, I can say infertility is biology, and failure to conceive is not a character flaw. I did not choose this, I refused to feel ashamed.
The couple in the Self story took extensive measures to hide their infertility treatments. They went so far as to rent an apartment in New York City (closer to their doctor) and when their deception almost came to light, they were forced to concoct outrageous stories about surviving last winter’s blizzard in Washington D.C. even though they weren’t there. Wow! Infertility is hard enough without adding layers of lies that you have to keep track of. I’m not judging them. I feel sadness for them that they felt had to go to such an extremes.
I was fortunate to have a supportive husband and family and a great group of friends (many of whom were touched by infertility in one way or another). I was also fortunate to have conceived two children. Not everyone is as successful.
Like other women’s issues before it (rape, breast cancer), infertility needs to be dragged into the spotlight. So that IVF and Clomid become as understood as chemo and radiation.
As the article highlights, if infertility treatment is successful, the result is new parents (sometimes of multiples). I speak from experience when I say new parents barely have time to shower never mind rallying the troops. If the treatments are not successful, the feelings of devastation, loss and depression can force a person to withdraw completely from the topic. I understand and respect both perspectives. My kids keep me busy, so I can’t jump out and lead the charger either. Still, I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone and I can do my small part to spread the word.
I’ll share my stories soon. If you have a fertility story you’d like to share or know someone willing to be profiled, please leave a comment here and I’ll follow up with you privately.
Here are two resources I found helpful when I was dealing with infertility.
Resolve a support group for couples dealing with infertility.
Dr. Alice Domar is a well known specialist focused on the mind/body connection and women’s health issues, specifically infertility. I’ve met her and heard her speak severa times. She is a passionate and delightful woman. I also highly recommend her books.
Photo credit Hebedesigns