Infertility sucks. Scratch that, it f*cking sucks. If you’ve dealt with infertility issues or are dealing with it right now, you know exactly what I mean. It’s lonely, scary, and depressing, mixed with a good dose of constantly feeling on edge. It’s literally, the thief of joy.
Infertility is hard. Relationship, career, life-changing hard. In the beginning you likely underestimated how difficult it would be — you get diagnosed with it and at the time you think “great, we’ll have a hard time getting pregnant.” But as time goes on, you begin to realize how much bigger infertility is — how bullshit it is.
How it creeps into every aspect of your life, consuming your every thought and decision.
It starts with spending money on medications and taking time off work for tests and appointments, but then quickly escalates into the realization that intense budgeting is a must if you ever want the chance to have a family. This ends up resulting in some major social life changes (and eventually, what social life?). No more spur of the moment nights out, vacations, or any other spending plans are in your future. Frugal and minimalist living have now become your new way of life.
Oh, and that career you had — well we all know how that goes. With so much effort constantly being put into fertility treatments, you just don’t have the energy to go for that promotion at work. Or if you’re considered one of the lucky few, you get pushed out of your job or overlooked for a position because your employer doesn’t seem to understand that you’re not actually playing hooky or sleeping in every morning, but in fact have some real issues going on and are scheduled to the max with appointments, to-do lists, and daily reminders for meds.
And food. Let’s not forget about that!
Your new diet consists of the never-ending pregnancy diet — eating and drinking only ‘safe’ foods because “this is the month that could finally work.” Say bye to coffee, wine, and other delicious foods that you once loved because they now leave you feeling guilt, thinking “what if this could jeopardize this cycle?”. To add to the misery, it just so happens that during this process is the most tired you’ve EVER been. All those early appointments and medications catch up to you fast, so that coffee is extra missed!
This is why I’ve decided that infertility sucks. Too many tears are shed, so much grief is felt, so many lives constantly being shattered and rearranged, all because our bodies have decided to malfunction. There are so many things that are out of our control on this journey. We can follow treatment plans, change our diet, exercise less or more, and meditate, but doing all this unfortunately will still not guarantee us anything. What we can do and what we do have control over is how infertility is perceived and how it’s talked about in society.
For something that’s so common, you’d think we wouldn’t all feel so alone, so distant from everyone around us, so different.
For something that’s so common, you’d think that there would be more awareness, more resources, and more support. You’d think there wouldn’t still be this stigma, shame, judgement and ignorance surrounding it. It’s upsetting to know so many people are suffering in silence, that so many people feel this alone.
For those of you suffering, remind yourself you’ve survived 100% of your worst days already. You’re sitting here today, surviving. Life hasn’t offered you an easy hand, but you’ve somehow fought back. The good news? You’ll continue surviving. It won’t always be easy, but you will. YOU got this. On days when you feel like you’re broken or like the pieces are falling apart, take a step back. Realize you’ve come so far, experienced so much, and you’re stronger than ever. You are a warrior and somehow you will find the strength to stand up and continue this fight. The struggle is part of the story, and one day, you’ll have a phenomenal story to tell (if you don’t have one already).
There are so many questions I have and so many things I continue to not understand on this journey, but one thing I know for certain is, infertility sucks. Can we all just agree that infertility f*cking sucks.
By Cheryl Dowling