Did you know that it is national infertility awareness week?
I have wondered if I am still considered a member of that club that no one wants to be part of. I have four children, how can I be infertile?
But my journey with infertility has been with me for most of my married life and certainly shaped me into who I am today. For our 12 years of marriage, we have spent almost 8 of them hoping to be pregnant. Eight long years of monthly disappointment, not to mention daily, if not hourly, reminders that I wanted something that I wasn't getting.
I know that my journey isn't typical. While it took 20 months to get pregnant with Tyler, it was secondary infertility that became my big trial. And on top of that, it was unexplained infertility. After many doctor's visits, it was determined that there was no reason why I shouldn't be pregnant. Which is why we never went through those invasive and expensive procedures that so many other couples do. I often wonder how differently we would have attacked this if we knew what we were fighting. But instead we waited, pursued other avenues, and waited some more.
I am still envious of those people who have complete control over when they get pregnant. While I would love another baby, I don't really know if that will ever happen, and I certainly don't know when it would happen.
So what have I learned about infertility?
1. It doesn't matter if you have children or not, anyone can feel an ache each and every day for a child that they don't have.
2. Don't ignore infertility. If you know someone who is suffering, let them talk; let them grieve; be a support.
3. Adoption does not cure infertility. I have heard this many times in the adoption community, and it is so true.
4. Don't say stupid things. "You need more faith." "You just need to relax." "My cousin's friend's coach's daughter had ..." Don't joke about it. Don't minimize it. And don't offer medical advice unless asked first. All you need to say is "I am so sorry you have to go through this. I am here for you when you need me."
5. Be considerate. While most people will eventually cycle through all the stages of grief and reach acceptance at some point, please cut them some slack in the mean time. Let them know they don't need to attend every baby shower, and don't be offended if they don't gush over your big announcement. I know I reached a point where I could be genuinely happy for others, but it would still hurt at the same time.
In the end, I wouldn't change a thing. My journey, while hard at the time, has ended in four beautiful boys--my boys. And if it weren't for infertility, we would not have the family we have now.