A Different Perspective on Infertility

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I am one in eight.

infertility
Photo credit Lindsay Konopa (https://lindsaykonopaphotography.com)

One in eight couples are affected by infertility in the United States.

If you knew me during the time of our struggles, you would have never guessed it, though. My husband and I struggled in silence for 10 painful years. We went through the “adopt a million animals” stage, the “maybe we just shouldn’t have kids” stage, and then the “okay, maybe now it’s time to do IVF” stage.

Over the span of these years, I’ve been asked if I hate children. I’ve been called selfish. I’ve been told I need to “hurry up and have them before it is too late.” Then there is my personal favorite: “Well, I want a grandchild. Why don’t you just give me one?”

You may be thinking, why didn’t we just tell people about our struggles? The truth is, to us, it felt embarrassing. This thing that everyone can do so “easily” wasn’t coming to us. Was there something wrong with us? Was it a higher being telling us that we shouldn’t reproduce? At the time, I didn’t know anyone who struggled to get pregnant, so of course, I didn’t want to be the oddball. I also did not want sympathy or the sad eyes that so many people give when you explain that you don’t have children.

Instead, we kept our infertility bottled up for years. Only until we had official testing done did we even tell our families what was actually going on. Believe it or not, that still didn’t stop the constant questions of when we would decide if we were doing IVF or other measures.

We decided as a couple that we were not going to do any outside measures to get pregnant, the stress that comes with it was just not something that we wanted to put ourselves through. We had come to the conclusion that we would eventually adopt a child. It had been ten years of struggles, and we were tired of trying.

Then, a miracle happened.

We were blessed with our son Owen. It was completely unexpected but an oh-so-amazing surprise. At this point, we finally felt the need to tell everyone about how hard we struggled to get pregnant. I got a post together and put it on Facebook. I was armed and ready to defend myself against any negative comments or the “it’s about time” sly remarks.

Instead, I was met with so much empathy. So many of my friends came forward with their stories of how hard it was to conceive and their extreme struggles. Suddenly, this world that I thought I was the only one in was filled with so many others.

I had no idea so many people (especially friends) struggled with infertility. Why had no one come forward? Then it hit me that a lot of us think how I did. That it’s this shameful thing that shouldn’t be spoken of. Hide the emotions with another pet (or a few!)

It isn’t, though! If you are in that moment of “I will never have a child,” stop and know that you are not alone. There are so many people that relate to your longing, relate to the sly comments and relate to the envy when you see someone announce their pregnancy.

You. Are. Not. Alone.

I write all of this because I hope that someone reading will relate to what we went through. We were blessed with not just one but two miracle babies. Will that happen for everyone? It won’t, unfortunately. Will someone else’s story end with adoption? Or will it end with accepting that they will be the best dog mom there ever was? This doesn’t make one person better than the other, it makes all of us amazing moms whether that is to a human child you birthed all the way to a dog you rescued. You are worthy.

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