It took us nearly 18 months to get pregnant, and that might not seem like a long time to some, but when all you want is a baby, that’s an eternity. That’s right, my husband and I found ourselves smack-dab in the middle of a battle with infertility.
NO! NOT THAT WORD! ANYTHING BUT THAT WORD!
Yes, we struggled with infertility. The word “struggle” is even a bit of a stretch, because we just about went out of our minds with doctors and testing and charts and temperatures and emotions and timing and bloodwork. I know people who tried for 5, 7, sometimes 10 years, and I’m still amazed at the thought of waiting for something that long. I was about at the end of my rope after a year and a half. But why is “infertility” such a taboo word? People are only recently getting more comfortable talking about it. But, truth be told, I certainly wish someone had told us sooner what a gigantic miracle it is to get pregnant. In fact, the Mayo Clinic says that 10-15% of couples are classified as infertile. It’s a crazy, scientific, stars-must-be-aligned process of nature.
It’s not something you think about in high school. Or really, even college. We, as women, are taught to do everything possible not to get pregnant – abstinence, birth control, condoms, Plan B, etc. – not realizing that when the time comes to completely flip your script, it can be a lot harder on your body than you think.
Deciding to have a baby… ahhhhhh. It’s all very romantic, isn’t it? You both decide that it’s time to take the next step toward your future, so you discontinue birth control and start humping like rabbits – as if you’ll get pregnant that very day. You start planning gender reveals in your head and watching pregnancy announcement videos on Facebook, just for ideas on how you’ll break the good news to the people you love (and get a good video for Facebook). You just know it’s going to happen super fast because you love each other so much, right?
And then it doesn’t.
Each month after that, your period shows up and you cry and scream and ponder all the “wasted” time. You start getting really angry when people ask you guys about when you’re planning to start a family. And you get REALLY discouraged, depressed, anxious, resentful, frustrated, and worried. What’s the problem? Is it you or him? You’re doing everything right, so whose fault is it that we aren’t pregnant yet?
Truth: Infertility absolutely consumes you.
I began to hate all of my friends who had… oops!… gotten pregnant by accident. Seriously, I was Charlotte in that Sex & the City episode when Miranda accidentally gets pregnant, and Charlotte is so hurt because they’d been trying and trying and trying to no avail. Their situations had absolutely nothing to do with one another, but just the idea of her best friend having a baby was the worst possible news. (I still cry when I watch that one.)
I went through a long phase of really hating my friends who had kids, hating the pregnant ones, avoiding baby showers at all costs, forcing my way through Mother’s Day, hating the adorable pregnant strangers browsing the baby aisles at Target with the registry scanner, and really hating our friends who said “Oh, we don’t really want kids” or “We’ve decided not to have children.” These were undoubtedly the most infuriating for me. “What do you mean? Who doesn’t want kids?! I bet you’re perfectly capable of having a baby, but you don’t WANT a baby? Some of us would love to have what you have (i.e. a working reproductive system). And what does your opinion have to do with MY feelings?! I thought you were my friend!”
Truth: Don’t be surprised if you completely lose your mind.
Everyone living their life in their own way is suddenly a direct rebuttal to your difficulty conceiving a child, right? It seems comical now, but if you are going through these emotions, don’t worry. I get it, and I’m certainly not the only one. What most people don’t realize, and what I definitely didn’t realize until going through our journey, is that there are only 2-3 days of the whole month that you can get pregnant, and even still there’s only about a 25% chance of it happening, and that’s only if all of your systems are working properly. Crazy odds. Unbelievably lucky that it happens so fast for some people.
Truth: Nobody can promise you that you will ever get pregnant – not even the fertility doctor you’re paying thousands of dollars to see.
Maybe it happens quickly for you, and maybe it doesn’t. But chin up – I see you, I feel you, and I’m hoping and praying with you and for you. It’s one of the hardest battles I’ve ever been through.