I have been struggling with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome my entire reproductive life. It is essentially a genetic hormonal condition which not only causes infertility but a host of lovely symptoms including hair loss, excess facial hair (fun fun) diabetes, weight gain, hunger, irregular cycles…the list goes on. I guess I won the genetic lottery because I have every symptom of the condition. I carry excess weight around my belly and I have type 2 diabetes because I have PCOS. All of those symptoms I can deal with. I never looked good in a bikini so in my eyes I am not missing out. The only symptom I cannot deal with is the infertility.
I have wanted to be a mother my entire life. I was so excited when I met the man of my dreams at 19 and we were married at 25. Understanding that the process of starting a family would be a challenging one I wanted to start our family right away. My husband needed more time. More time to grow up, get established in his career, all of which would make him a better father. How could I not respect that. He wanted to be the best father he could be. So we decided we would wait a bit and reevaluate it from time to time. At the beginning of this year he turned to me and said he was ready…lets start this family.
I was elated! I was finally going to have the babies I dream about every night!
So that was back in February…its November…and still no baby. It is a painful and long road when dealing with infertility. Along the way everyone wants to give you advice. They mean well but I don’t think they realize what they are saying. After a while you just learn to smile and nod and hope they stop talking long enough for you to change the subject. Before the waterworks start.
So here they are…the top 10 responses I am tired of hearing…
1. You have not been going through the process that long
Ok really? I know that it may not seam like a long time to go though this process and yes I understand that healthy couples try for a year before they are even able to consult a fertility doctor but the process seams like forever. When healthy/normal couples try to conceive they do their thing, have a feeling, and then take a test. When you are going through fertility treatments it is constantly in your face. You are there two or three times a week and they are poking you with needles and sonogram instruments and constantly talking about your potential pregnancy. It is enough to make you go mad! So yes, to you the time I have spent may not seam like a lot to you but to me it is en eternity.
2. Everything happens for a reason
This is the standard response to the “yeah stuff sucks” scenario. Now I am not trying to be cynical because I am a believer in a bigger plan…bigger than we can ever even conceive. But it is nearly impossible to see it when you are going through the process and the last thing you need is someone to remind you that what your looking for does exist but your unable to see it. I certainly hope things happen for a reason but in the mean time I am unable to comprehend how the universe or whatever would keep me from the one thing I will be the absolute best at. Motherhood is my calling…how could it not be happening as soon as possible?
3. You will get pregnant when the time is right
Ok, and who determines this “right time”? I thought people said that the time is never right and that if everyone waited for the right time there would be no more babies. What people should say is “Sometimes the universe (or whatever you believe oversees us all) has crappy timing”. That is the one thing someone said to me that made me feel better.
4. You have to be patient
On some level I do agree with this one. I think all of us, myself included, could always use a bit more patience. And most of us are patient. We understand that pregnancy may not happen right away and that infertility is a process. But after months and months and even years of going through the process your patience gives way to sadness, hurt, and anger.
5. Just Be happy for them
How could I not be happy for them? They (insert couple) are having a baby. It is just hard not to feel some sort of jealousy or the general sense of being left out. When you are moving through fertility you work so hard to understand every piece of conception and pregnancy and to see someone achieve it with such ease can break your heart. It is not that they are pregnant it is that you are not and you are watching them experience all the wonderful things that you have been fantasizing about. You can’t help but cry on the inside (and sometimes on the outside) as you watch them at their baby shower
or holding their baby or their child’s first Christmas
because it makes it painfully obvious to you that you are not experiencing these things. You long for these things so much that it can, at times, consume you. Yes you are happy for them but watching them makes you long for your own baby even more.
Really….you think? Of course it is a difficult and involved process. They are getting your eggs, removing them from you body, fertilizing
them and the putting them back in, all in hopes at least one not only sticks but is carried to full term
. There is about a 35% birth rate for women in my age group. Of course the process is difficult, long, and involved. Reminding me of this is not going to change any of those factors. It will only increase the anxiety I will feel about the entire process.
7. You have so much to be thankful for
Yes I do. And longing for a baby does not change my level of thankfulness for all the wonderful things I have in my life. It is because the other aspects of my life are so wonderful that I want a baby
even more. If those factors were out of whack I certainly would not be looking to add a baby to the mix. I want a baby…and I would be willing to trade anything for it.
8. Don’t worry…it will happen
Oh I HATE this one. With all the childless couples in the world how could I NOT WORRY
about joining them? Those sad people who have everything in place and are unable to have a family. When people who should never be parents turn babies out like clockwork. If this was my second child and I knew I was capable of creating a happy healthy child this response would do more to comfort me. Now…it creates more anxiety…Yes, it will happen….you put enough fertilized eggs up in there one should stick by sheer probability. But what will I have to go through to get there? How many months do I have to feel the roller coaster of highs and lows before I get to be a mommy? I am probably the only person that would welcome morning sickness from conception to birth if it meant I was going to have my baby.
9. Don’t get so emotionally invested in the process each month
How exactly am I suppose to do this? Any suggestions? Maybe you could detach yourself from the experience if the hormones are are given don’t make you feel pregnant. Your nauseous, your lady parts are crampy, your boobs hurt and swell, you can’t wear your regular bras, you get headaches, and your exhausted. And you have to behave, especially when you are diabetic, like you are pregnant. So you choke down the kale and grilled chicken, avoid the sushi and ice cream, all in attempts to provide your potential growing embryo with the best nutrition possible. In your eyes you are pregnant. How can you not get emotionally invested. When that test comes back negative your whole world crumbles. You were wrong…your not pregnant…why are you not pregnant…did you do something wrong…can you not get pregnant…is there something wrong with you that you don’t know about yet…could I have changed this outcome…All questions which answers suck. Don’t get emotionally involved….I would like to see you try.
10. You can always adopt
Yes, you can adopt. But this process is equally difficult, costly, and takes a great deal of time. It is not a puppy people. It is a baby. And as much as I fantasize about one day adopting a little girl from China I want at least one of my babies to look like my husband. This is something that crosses everyones mind, especially those struggling with infertility…yes, we know we can adopt. We are smart people perfectly capable of coming to that conclusion all on our own. We want to exhaust every option possible before we go down this very long and difficult road.
Now I understand that you or someone you know may have said one or more of these responses to someone you know and love going through infertility. You are human and are only trying to help. I just want you to understand how these responses are interpreted so that you can be more understanding of how we may respond. We love you and appreciate that you are trying to help make us feel better.
Stay tuned for my next post….10 things you can do to help a couple struggling with infertility…
Remember….It WILL be worth the wait
– The Mad Mama