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I Will Not Stop Talking About Infertility…

…so don’t even bother asking me to. 

Wow! The plan for this week’s blog post was SO different than what it has become. I guess I can just save that one for a later time. 

So let’s back up a second. Yesterday I downloaded Resolve.org‘s Listen Up toolkit for this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week. It’s next month, April 23-29…the 29th is my birthday. After I downloaded the toolkit, I created an album on my personal Facebook profile and added all the photos to it. A little while later, I was “gently” asked to maybe not focus so much on infertility because it may make some people a little uncomfortable. 

So after I calmly removed myself from the conversation…telling them to forget my name and blocking them is “calm”, right?!…I sat and stewed for a while. 

Infertility is a disease. Just like cancer, diabetes, heart disease. Why do we welcome and encourage awareness for those things, and ask people with infertility to sit a corner and stay quiet?

When a friend is going through a divorce, what do we tell them? We tell them we’re here for them. We tell them to talk about it. We tell them it’s natural to grieve the loss of the relationship, the loss of the future. We tell them it’s not healthy to keep all those emotions bottled up. We tell them we are their friends and that’s what friends are for. 

Why do I not get that same level of understanding?! And the…well, I’ve never experienced infertility and that’s why I’m uncomfortable with it…is kind of lame. I’ve never been through a divorce. I still don’t tell my friends who are going through a divorce to leave me out of those conversations. I’ve never had cancer…I still talk to my friends while they are going through chemo. 

My husband lost his mother more than 20 years ago, I lost my father less than 5 years ago. Him knowing what it’s like to lose a parent didn’t make his hugs to me more comforting. It didn’t make his presence by my side more important. Just like my arms, when he lost his father a year and a half ago, weren’t a place of solace because I knew what it was like to lose a daddy. All that mattered was that we were there for one another, we were by each other’s side, when we needed support. We didn’t have to understand in order to comfort. 

Because when you’re going through something difficult, all that matters is that you are surrounded by people who love you. They don’t have to know what to say, what you’re feeling, what journey lies ahead of you. They just need to support you through it. 

I talk about infertility, because so many people don’t even know what it is. There’s this idea that if you want to get pregnant and you don’t get pregnant that very first month you try, it’s infertility. Or that infertility can be “fixed” by simply getting a massage to help you relax or a different kind of underwear. (By the way…don’t talk to your friends about their spouse’s underwear. You want to talk about uncomfortable.) 

Not talking about it, doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t make it less painful. It doesn’t. And while you may be more comfortable not hearing about it, someone you love is still suffering alone. 

1 in 8…that’s how many people suffer through infertility. 1 in 8 have a disease that’s not contagious, but no one wants to be “around” it. Can you imagine how isolating that can be?

My life is a messy kind of happiness. It is full of loss, full of cuss words, full of hospital stays & surgeries. It is financial worries, broken plans, and plants I can’t always keep alive. It’s full of love, full of faith, full of hope. It’s fur baby snuggles through out the night, a marriage working on it’s second decade, it’s Christmas tree lights hung year round. It’s kisses followed by death threats and some times death threats followed by kisses. It’s beautifully crazy. It’s not easy, but it is amazing. 

It’s not fair to ask me to share only the happy. To only share the inconsequential. If I can share when a recipe goes right, or when flowers are randomly brought home…why shouldn’t I share when I have a bad day trying to conceive a child? It’s not fair to only be a friend during the good times. 

Yes, infertility can be uncomfortable for those that are blessed enough to never face it head on. But that level of comfor comes at the expense of someone you love. And being silent about infertility makes me uncomfortable. And I’m not willing to do that. 

Day of Hope

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One of my biggest supporters is Ashley from Pee On A Stick Freak. Sometimes I think she believes in me more than I do. lol So the other day, she was helping to promote my blog, Twitter, and Facebook page and asked me if I call my site a fertility site or an infertility site. I told her I call my site an infertility blog.

Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely am all about promoting fertility.  Everything in my being is focused around TTC and trying to improve my chances of having a baby. But I spent years running from the word “infertility”. It scared the shit out of me, if I’m being honest. And then I was officially diagnosed with it. I can no longer hide from it, it caught me.

infertile adjective: not fertile; unproductive; sterile; barren: infertile soil. 

(Thank you dictionary.com for making it so heartbreakingly blunt.)

Everything about infertility sucks! At least for me, I can’t speak for the entire world. It’s isolating, by definition…unproductive and barren. It’s a waste land of emptiness that you walk through. And you feel like you’re walking through it alone. Even though you’re not. My wonderfully supportive husband walks this path with me. He anxiously awaits the lab results, knows more about charting a menstrual cycle than he ever wanted to, and can tell you the sensitivity level of First Response EArly Results home pregnancy test. (For those of you wondering…they’re quantitative nor qualitative and are designed to pick up any amount of hCG in your system over the level of zero, per the manufacturer. I called them myself.) So, I am not alone on this journey, but at times I still feel like I am.

I’m in TTC groups online, and we all talk about the things that we are doing to try to get pregnant. And we do the “get to know you” games, like post the 12th pic in your camera roll. We talk about where we’re from, what our favorite color is, what’s your hobby to keep you busy during the TTW…two week wait, the time between ovulation and testing time/period. But even in the most supportive and loving groups, it’s rare to see anyone actually talking about infertility. It’s the elephant in the room…we all know that the majority of us are in these groups because we’ve had issues getting and/or staying pregnant, but we all ignore that particular aspect. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll see the occasional post about wanting to quit, or someone struggling at the moment with their emotions, and we all know that we can absolutely reach out for support when we need it, but for the most part the posts are mostly upbeat & casual.

So when I say I’m not alone, I mean I am surrounding by loving and supportive people.

I consider myself an incurable optimist. I always look for the silver lining. There is always something beautiful in a situation. You just have to want to see it, and sometimes you have to really search hard for it…but, it’s always there. So I completely understand not wanting to ruin the mood of a group by posting something sad. No one wants a Debbie Downer at a party. And no wants to be one. But sometimes, in the process of keeping a happy mask on, we isolate ourselves even more.

Infertility is a struggle. And it’s scary. It’s something that not everyone will understand or know how to talk to you about. It can be uncomfortable for someone who has never experienced it. But it will ALWAYS be uncomfortable if we never talk about it. It will ALWAYS be something that isolates us as long as we allow it to by only dealing with it inside our own heads. As long as we try to hide from it, it’s going to continue to be a taboo topic to bring up and discuss openly about.

I don’t know if I will ever have a baby. I want it more than I can even begin to describe. My heart and soul ache for it. But the reality is, I don’t know if it will ever happen for me. I know that I pray this new doctor will be able to help us. I pray every day. And my prayer is that I will one day overcome the word “infertility”. But in order to do that, in order to truly overcome the word, I first have to acknowledge that it is my current reality. It is, unfortunately, a part of my life. And ignoring it won’t change that.

So, yes, this is a blog about infertility and what it has done to my life. And I’m proud of that…because one day, hopefully, I will be able to say that I kicked infertility’s ass! In every way possible…not just by having a baby. So for now, I am not going to let infertility rule my life with fear. I will not let it isolate me, I will not stay quiet about it. I will own this!

So on this Carly Marie Project Heal Day of Hope, I am breaking the silence surrounding infertility and offering my support to anyone who is struggling with it. You are not alone!