Firstly, thank you. One million times over, thank you.
When my husband and I started trying to conceive over six years ago, we were one of the first couples in our larger core groups of friends who were trying but as the months and years went on, we seemed to be the last to achieve our goal of being parents. I remember thinking all those years ago how it would be so different being a mom when a lot of my other friends weren’t at that stage yet. Would I miss out on other things because of my desire to start a family so soon? After every new pregnancy announcement, those thoughts soon turned to how it would be so different NOT being a mom when all of my other friends were now at that stage.
We have always been thrilled for our fertile friends and very active in the lives of their children, but when you go from first to last, it can be a lot to handle.
I started my personal blog in 2016 and noticed a lot of other bloggers had created Instagram accounts for posting and sharing their infertility journey so I decided to do the same. It was convenient when we were starting IUI to search hashtags and to look at other people’s journeys who were going through similar things as us. It was even more helpful when we started IVF and went on to complete more than one retrieval cycle.
I started following many different women on different paths of their infertility journey. They also started following me. I remember the first person who ever messaged me directly about her upcoming IUI. She also lived in Canada (Newfoundland) and we would be cycling at almost the same time. When she and her husband came to visit Toronto later that year, we met for coffee and chatted as if we had known each other forever. It was wonderful. After multiple IUIs and loss, she went on to have a happy, healthy baby boy a few months ago.
We still keep in touch.
I have connected with some of the most amazing friends in the US, UK, Australia and every other part of the world (most of whom I speak with daily). In Toronto, we coordinated our first TTC (trying to conceive) meet-up in January of 2018. There were six of us who were all at different stages in our journey (some trying, some waiting to start treatment, some waiting to undergo more treatment, some on a break, some newly pregnant and some ready to pop!). It was nice to sit down face-to-face and chat with real live women going through these struggles. Since that meet-up, we have done two more and plan to do another one in the new year (please feel free to reach out if you’d be interested in joining us for brunch!).
While I am grateful to have had overwhelming support from our “real-life” friends, even they knew they couldn’t completely relate to what we were going through.
The best part of it was that they didn’t try to relate because they knew they couldn’t. They just supported us. Whatever we wanted or needed, they were there. But when you’re having a heartbreaking day and you just want someone to get it, that’s where I am truly grateful for the women I have now befriended as a result of my infertility. These women have shared tears with me, sent me wine on my birthday, when I’ve been down and have really been spoiling this little babe now growing inside of me. Not all of my infertile friends have gone on to have happy endings and some of them went on to have theirs well in advance of me. The nice thing is, we are all in it for the same end goal and can support one another on all walks of the journey.
If you or someone you know is struggling, feel free to follow @alongroadtobaby on Instagram. I will never stop speaking about infertility and I will never turn my back on those still waiting. I too was once there and was supported by an amazing, strong, group of women.
Michelle Long, alongroadtobaby.wordpress.com