Infertility affects 7.3 million people in the U.S. This figure represents 1 in 8 couples, or 12% of women of childbearing age.
Don't ignore... infertility.
It's real. It's a disease. It's emotional. There are warning signs. If you have symptoms of infertility, talk to your doctor! Don't wait until it is too late and your ovaries are old and shriveled (like mine) to face it.
Don't ignore... the impact of your words.
Don't trivialize this painful process. Don't tell us to relax. Or tell us to adopt. Or tell us Sally's story. Or tell us all about how fertile you are when drunk. Check out this post (Struggling With What to Say) for other things not to say.
Don't ignore ... my struggle.
Don't let my infertility be the elephant in the room. There is something medically wrong with me. It invades my every thought and the very core of who I am. Even once I have a child (either because medical treatments work or through adoption) I will still be infertile. It will forever change who I am and how I think. Don't pretend nothing is wrong. Don't pretend I'm not going through this. Don't ignore the biggest thing in my life (literally the biggest: most time consuming, most expensive, most emotionally draining). Casey and I are talking about it. After many many months of lying and hiding it, we are "out of the infertility closet" so to speak. Talk about it with us.
Don't ignore... the rest of my life.
There is more to me than my ability to have a child. I am child of God and I place my hope in Him and not in my own body. I won't let infertility and the brokenness of my body lead to brokenness of spirit. It is really east to get caught up in the constant doctors appointments. The daily blood work. The cramping so bad I can't walk. But I don't want to stay home anymore. I don't want to spend my 2ww afraid to do to much because I don't want to hurt our chances of implantation. Casey and I retreated from many (most...almost all) of our friends in 2011. We stopped inviting people over. We stopped accepting invitations. The few times we saw people in the fall, I ended up cutting the night short by getting sick. I miss my life. I miss my friends.
Don't ignore... my feeling of isolation.
I frequently feel really isolated dealing with infertility. Even when I talk to other women going through infertility, they are typically dealing with PCOS or unexplained infertility. With both of those doctors have high rates of success rates of succesful pregnancies (in fact, 65% of people who seek reproductive assistance will give birth). I have premature ovarian aging. The doctors don't know why. Doctors can't make my ovaries younger or my eggs more plentiful. We can try IVF, but it's gosh darn rare to have ovaries so old on a person so young. The likelihood of IVF working for us is fairly low. Despite my feelings of isolation, I am not alone! 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility (about 12% of women of childbearing age). I am so fortunate to have an incredible support network. Our families, friends, bible study, coworkers, and my tweeps have been incredibly supportive. Thank you for being my community!
Don't ignore... the weight of these decisions.
Please don't judge our decisions. The moral issues when dealing with infertility are huge. Every decision is hard. And painful. And prayerful. We don't need snide remarks from doctors -- or from you. Believe me, we struggled to get to the peace we now feel with our decisions. We have decided to try IVF. And it wasn't an easy path. We aren't "jumping in." We have tried naturally. We have tried drug assisted cycles. We have tried IUI. Only 3% of couples that seek reproductive assistance require IVF. We are part of that 3%. We will be one of the over one million IVF procedures performed this year. Don't judge. Don't moralize. Don't preach.
Don't ignore... me.
I am the 1 in 8. I am infertile. I am struggling. But I have hope.