Monday, April 20, 2015

National Infertility Awareness Week: The Questions You Ask Yourself

Did you know that this week is National Infertility Awareness Week?

Yeah, I got a little ambushed by it on Thursday.

The other thing that kind of snuck up on me was the “trying for one year” mark. After Pitter Patter was born, we started trying again as soon as I got my cycle back. It’s been a year now. It was 1 year last week.

We had the same kind of trouble when we were trying the first time. I got pregnant with Pitter Patter after 15 months of trying when I was put on Metformin, and after I'd watched one of my co-workers get pregnant twice.

When I found out about National Infertility Week, I just knew I had to write something about it. The more I’ve sat down and tried to write something, the more I’ve come up with a fairly extensive list of all of the things I don’t really want to be told. And those things are already on the internet. Google it.

The thing that keeps coming up is that it’s surprisingly common. If it’s so common, then how come I don’t know anybody my own age who’s had to fight this battle?

Don’t get me wrong. Ours has by no means been the five- or eight-year drama that some couples have been through. I’ve never even gotten the prescription for Clomid, but that does not, by any means make it easier when a friend tells me that their coming baby was an accident.

I hear that and get mad. We try and try and try and you have “an accident”? A beautiful, wonderful miracle is growing inside you, and you’re calling that baby an “accident”? How ungrateful!

Daniel and I, ever since we were dating, we always agreed that we wanted children. Not child, children. And a lot of the things we did, we did on that assumption. Children.

For example, we bought a big house with lots of bedrooms, in a good school district that was out of town, because we knew we could either afford private schools for one, or we could afford to move to the good school district and have more than one. I quit my job to stay home because I really wanted to be there to form our children in the faith, and because daycare for multiple kids would have been outrageously expensive.

When you struggle with infertility, you ask yourself a lot of questions about decisions like that. This is what your internal monologue starts to sound like:

We paid for this huge house! What are we going to do with this huge house if we’re only going to have one?

Maybe we should move back into town and buy a smaller house with three bedrooms instead of buying four full bedrooms and two multipurpose rooms that can become bedrooms if we need them to.

Maybe I should go back to work so I can afford to provide those nice things that I’d really like for my kids to have.

Maybe we could adopt more...

Would I really love an adopted child as much as I love Pitter Patter? REALLY?

And never mind that question - can we even afford to adopt?

These are the kind of questions you start to ask yourself when you’re carrying infertility, and other questions besides… Especially when it’s the second time around.

People with fertility issues don’t usually like to broadcast them, because well… it’s a medical issue, and most people don’t like to broadcast their medical issues. Because of this, it can be a lonely walk.

If you’ve been approached by a friend who is struggling with infertility, there are a lot of things you shouldn’t say. I’ll leave you to Google “What not to say to your friend with infertility” for those - the lists are very good.

There is one important thing that you should say in that first conversation:

“What do you need from me?”

Be ready for some marching orders, because your friend - probably really needs you.

1 comment:

  1. Good, honest, raw piece, Shannon. I wanted to say that I know many wonderful Christian couples who struggle with infertility. It is a quiet, hidden cross for many--you're right. I could introduce you to several amazing couples in our area if you like.:) I wanted to tell you that I am saying a prayer for you and Daniel this morning. We have dear, close friends who have bravely shared their struggles with us, and we know a little about what you guys must be going through. I'm so sorry. In my own journey of having children, we have kind of rum the gamut: we have waited anxiously for a pregnancy, we have been surprised by a pregnancy, we have achieved pregnancy easily, and also we have lost a pregnancy unexpectedly. Our experiences overall have shown us clearly that we are not in control--at least not as in control as we think we are or sometimes want to be.