Thursday, April 26, 2012

Don't Ignore Yourself


This week RESOLVE (The National Infertility Association) is promoting National Infertility Awareness week. Their theme this year is "Don't Ignore Infertility." They have asked bloggers to write about this theme and explain their own opinion on what shouldn't be ignored regarding infertility.

Where to begin? There's so much I would like the general public to know about infertility, but I also feel it's important for infertility warriors to remember themselves as they fight this battle. It’s a road that no one thinks they will ever have to travel. We are taught from an early age that conceiving a child is an easy business. It’s how the fairy tale goes – find the right person, get married, have babies. We’ve all watched countless friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers do it. Then your own time comes. Simple, right? Wrong.

The months tick by and… nothing. You watch other people your age get pregnant after trying for a short time. You endure numerous negative home pregnancy tests. You obsessively research fertility tips online. Then one day you give in and decide to consult your doctor. They run various fertility tests, trying to find a solution to your problem. As each possibility is negated you feel a mixture of hope and despair - hope because you don’t want there to be a problem and despair because you know there is a problem and you need to find the culprit so you’ll know how to fight it.

Meanwhile, your emotions are on a constant rollercoaster ride. Every month there’s a possibility that you will conceive. You are filled with hope and determination – this will be the month! You track your cycle, figure out the best days to conceive and give it your best shot. Then you wait. The dreaded two week wait has begun (the time between ovulation and the end of your cycle). You overanalyze every single twinge that your body makes. Could this be an early pregnancy symptom? What about this? You consult Google on a daily basis (at least). You remain hopeful right up until the very last second. Those can’t be menstrual cramps, they have to be a pregnancy symptom. When your period comes you are devastated. You drown your sorrows in anything you can get your hands on – chocolate, a sappy movie, wine, bitching to your husband, reading infertility blogs. You feel empty…hollow…defeated.  And the messed up part is this – you will do it all over again the next month. The hope, the determination, the anxiousness, the despair.

And while you are riding this wave of emotions you continue to live in a world of fertileness. Your coworker gets pregnant after two months of trying - you feign happiness for her. Every woman your age at the grocery store is either pregnant or has a baby in tow. You hear news stories about crazed mothers murdering their children and wonder about the unfairness of it all. Everywhere you turn it seems that you are reminded of your childless status. You are full to the brim with motherly instincts, but have no child in your arms.

It seems like infertility is your life. You think about it when you wake up, while you drive to work, during work, while you make dinner and as you drift off to sleep. You are constantly researching, taking new drugs, calling your doctor’s office, scheduling procreation time with your husband (sex has lost all sense of spontaneity in your marriage. It is a job, a necessary evil).  The goal of pregnancy supersedes all else and you begin to lose track of yourself. You can’t remember a day where you didn’t feel like crying, where you were genuinely happy about your status in life.

This is where infertility gets really scary. It’s hard to pull yourself from this abyss and learn to make time for you, the old you - the one who didn’t worry about whether it was ovulation time or not, the one who had a million interests that kept her happy. You have to rediscover that person and make time for her. She’s still in there, somewhere, waiting for you to invite her out to play.

Don't forget about her! She's the heart of your personality, the part of you that makes you you. Don't forget that you are much more than an infertile - you are a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. You have interests outside of reproduction, don't forget about them! Set aside time for yourself that is totally unrelated to infertility - see a movie, go for a walk with a friend, plan a fancy date with your husband, get lost in a good book. 

Let's face it - infertility sucks. It is a very private issue that many people unfortunately struggle with. This struggle can oftentimes become all consuming, bringing a couple to despair. Don't ignore yourself as you travel this road - a little "you time" will help you feel more grounded and give you the strength you need to continue fighting. 



Here is more information about Resolve and NIAW: 
http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html

8 comments:

  1. I just found your blog through the NIAW blog list. I look forward to following your journey. Good luck and God bless. =) Praying for you in Alabama. =)

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  2. This sounds so similar to my post! Everone of these posts that I read I can relate to, we do have awesome support community in the IF world.

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    1. Thanks for finding me! Now I'm going to go read what you wrote... :)

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  3. Thank you for the comment on my blog! I have added you on my blog roll, I hope you don't mind!

    Well said. Don't ignore that fun, interesting person who is somewhere behind the wall we've built around her. Such an easy thing to say, but such a hard thing to do. Infertility sucks and is such a tormenting thing ... constantly taunting us and challenging us to come out ahead.

    We are all in this together. Although there isn't a "cure", there is hope for all of us. Our journey is not over until we are happy and satisfied. Looking forward to following your process. :)

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    1. I don't mind at all - thank you for doing so!

      I know, it's really hard to break down that wall. Some days are harder than others. I'm so thankful to have an outlet like this. It really helps to connect with others who understand where I'm coming from.

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  4. "Don't forget about her! She's the heart of your personality, the part of you that makes you you". I love that. . . and soo true! Great post!!

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  5. It's so easy to get lost in the TTC abyss. You describe the rollercoaster horror ride beautifully, and your advice is spot-on. I will bookmark this post for "one of those days."

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