At times I feel like my posts are turning into a broken record. I worry that my readers are growing bored with the stagnant nature of my writing–never having anything new to report; no exciting news to share.
Depending on how well you know me, you may already know that I am an overthinker with a capital O (and probably capital other letters, too). But, it’s who I am, and when I sit down to write each week, I often worry that my fertility journey is becoming boring for you. (In my defense, I let you know I wasn’t good at this with the title of my blog.)
As I sit and write today, I am one week into my two week wait. This means I am technically still a week away from knowing if this cycle will be the one. If you’re reading this post hoping to find out some good news–Just a head’s up: I’m sorry, it won’t be in this one. The record is still broken.
This fourteen-day stretch is proving to be more brutal than its predecessors. You would think twelve years into this infertility journey and third trip down the road of “official treatments”, I would have this whole thing figured out. Newsflash: I don’t.
For this cycle, I began the round of drugs three days after I miscarried. Three days. Immediately jumping into the plan of action, I was color-coding and charting every function of my body. In short, I had something concrete on which to devote my energy. With the end of ovulation and the beginning of the luteal phase (the “TWW”), the space of my brain that is devoted to my reproductive habits lost its distraction. With nothing to chart besides my daily basal temperature, the worry (and overthinking) has taken over.
What if I am pregnant? What do I need to do differently? What if I lose another one?
What if I’m not, and I have to do this all over again?
“Well, at least now you know you can get pregnant.”
If I had a dollar for every time I have heard this sentiment in the last three and a half weeks, I could probably fund my next month of infertility costs. Hell, even my doctor said these words. And yes, I know this. I understand the implications of what happened. But after twelve years of trying, it was also the worst thing I have ever experienced. And even though my doctor said it was like “making contact with the ball”, I’m still struggling to see it as anything positive. After all, how many times can a batter hit a foul ball? For all my non-baseball-obsessed friends, the answer is infinite. Unfortunately, my eggs are finite. And I really wanted that baby to stick.
Infertility affects one in every eight couples. Miscarriages occur in one in every four pregnancies. Talk about staggering statistics. This means that I am not the only person you know that has gone (or is going) through this (what can only be described as) hell. I have not, for one second, regretted opening up about this journey. I have had so many people, both friends and family, come to me and ask, “What do I say?”
Let me tell you, friends, this has meant the world to me. And this is part of the reason I started this blog. I wanted those going down this road to feel less alone, and I wanted those who have never traveled it to gain a small understanding of it.
In answer to your question of how to support those around you going through this, there is no one hard and fast rule. My emotions and experience with infertility is different from your sister’s, your best friend’s…or yours. The best thing you can do is hug them and tell them you’re so sorry. You know it sucks and it’s just not fair.
Other than hugging her and telling her you’re sorry, I have only two things that I feel like I can safely offer after living with this for over a decade. Unless she asks for it, try to hold back on offering advice. Trust me, we’re getting plenty of that from our doctors. And secondly, try to avoid the cliche platitudes like: “Things happen for a reason”, “All in God’s timing” or any of the other sentiments that come from a place of genuine care, but to a woman who is going through infertility or loss, sound like “Wait…if it happened for a reason, what did I do wrong? Why am I not deserving enough to have this?” Trust me, our brains are already there. We don’t need the extra push.
Again, this is such a personal experience and all women are different. Some women are like me (now, at almost 40) and are totally fine opening up and talking about it and will answer any question you have. Others are like 28 year old me who felt the need to keep everything private. Both are okay. Whether she’s like old(ish) me or young me, check on her. Most of the time we feel like we’re going to make others uncomfortable if we bring it up, so we stay silent. So, just because she’s quiet about it, doesn’t mean she’s okay.
I don’t know how this post turned into a Dear Abby column. And I sure as hell don’t consider myself qualified to be giving advice. (Insert warning here: If you followed my advice about talking to a fellow infertile and she throat punched you, I cannot be held responsible. Also, I’m sorry about your throat.)
In the meantime, if you have more questions, please ask. I may not be good at making babies, but with this, I can help you out.
(two. thirteen. twenty-two)