The comments are probably the thing that keeps most people from sharing their struggle with infertility publicly. They come from everywhere...perhaps the comments started even before you even knew you would be facing infertility. I will NEVER, EVER ask anyone when they plan on having children ever again! This is my solemn vow to myself and all the women who deserve more than to have their ovaries discussed as casual dinner conversation without their permission.
Anywho, envision yourself, amped up on doses of female hormones that are 4-5 times higher than normal (Not forgetting that most of us infertility types run lower than normal on these hormones, so it seems more exacerbated). You are the epitome of why hysteria was named for crazy women, and then someone asks, "Why don't you just adopt? I know tons of people who adopt and then just magically get pregnant on their own." Your blood boils, tears flood your eyes, your vision blurs, and you think 'What did I do to deserve this?'. 'What if everything I'm doing is wrong?' 'What if such-and-such decision would have been the ticket to us having a baby?' 'Why is this happening to me?' Then your eyes refocus and you smile and say, "We'll consider that option." Then, you get to your car and start bawling. It feels like it happens every day. Even when you're "on break".
Just the other day, I was telling someone who asked if I had kids that no I didn't but we had tried and had a few rounds of failed fertility treatments. [Please note that the fertility treatment failed, not me, or you, either if you didn't hit a winner the first go-around...or 2nd, 3rd, etc]. The person asked me if I had ever tried going off of birth control. Seriously, what? You mean, all this time my birth control could have been interfering with my ability to get pregnant? I simply responded that that was actually the first thing we tried and really didn't think about it again until I thought about writing this blog. I guess I've had lots of practice at deflecting, plus I've allowed myself to be happy again. So I'm hoping this post can help you.
At this time, I would like to address the adoption myth:
1. IT'S NOT TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DID YOU READ THIS? IT IS NOT TRUE! IT'S FALSE!!!! Despite that every person you know, tells you they know someone who adopted who got pregnant "like immediately right after they got the baby". Studies show, and just google pregnancy rate after adoption if you don't believe me, that it is only 3-10%. Which is about the same as an IUI working. I know, you still think you know somebody, but the reason you know or heard is because it is obviously special if it only happens 3 to 10 times out of 100. Not to mention plenty of people who adopt were never infertile to begin with. Also consider that maybe people who don't get pregnant after adoption are not updating their Facebook status as "We're the 90-97% who still couldn't conceive! Yay!"
2. I think it belittles adoption. People adopted to have that child. Those comments make it appear that the commenter believes the adopted child was simply to prime the pump or no better than the first pancake that is thrown out. I believe you would be hard-pressed finding an adoptive parent that feels that way about their adopted child.
3. We cheat. I've only glanced at adoption paperwork briefly from two different agencies. They both recommend you to not be undergoing fertility treatments while seeking adoption. After digging around, I've seen and put together some timelines that didn't exactly meet that expectation if they were working with one of those particular agencies. More power to ya! And, after considering what a friend told me, while they can do all the background searches they want, HIPPA still prevents them from finding out what, if any treatments you are receiving.
So there you go...that myth is BUSTED!
Then there is the unsolicited advice of standing on your head, eating this, not eating that, doing it in the morning, doing it in this position and that position, lose weight, gain weight, eat this, don't eat this, take this supplement. It's a little annoying, I admit that. The advice seems silly, but if you are honest with yourself, you probably tried a lot of it anyway. I mean I totally did headstands after we did the deed, ate pineapple like it was my job...None of it helped... But if you really break the statement down, all those silly suggestions are given to you because the person giving them wants you to get pregnant. I mean they wouldn't tell you "how to" if they didn't. They may be completely clueless as to how a woman's body actually works, but their intentions are good. So next time, take a deep breath (ok maybe 2 or 3) and think about how they are doing what they can to try to help you. It can really change your perspective on the bad advice!
The other route you may get is how burdensome it is to have a child. "Oh, you're so lucky, I haven't slept in 5 years." My advice...tell them that's why you want to have your own children and not theirs! I mean, I've been planning to have a children for a while. I'm well aware that children can have colic, cry all night, wet the bed, embarrass you, make crappy decisions, and just overall not be that cute, cuddly baby who absolutely adores you all the time. I still would like the opportunity to experience my child and all of their potential crappiness, and love them anyway...and not post bad things about them on Facebook...just sayin'!
The worst however, is when someone says something to the affect of "Maybe this is God telling you it's not meant to be." This one makes me want to tear their hair out, even sans fertility drugs. And yes, not my hair, their hair, and I'll do it because God said I could. I'll get an acquittal because of my "Battered Ovary Syndrome."
I really question the faith of someone who would tell you "God's plan" for you. I maybe read the wrong bible, but one of the take home points I got was, "judge not lest ye be judged", and I think telling someone what they think God is "doing" to them is a form of judgement. Again, maybe it's coming from my heathen Episcopalianism, but I don't believe God sits on his throne and goes, "Hmm, yes, that crack-whore will be an excellent mother, MK, however, no, she likes pink too much and if she has a son he'll be gay." (I've actually been told that my fetish for all things pink and girly will make my sons gay....insert huge eye roll). I don't believe that at all. It's like saying He gives people, even babies, cancer. What the Hell did the baby do? People who think like that are very lost in my opinion. They have such need for an explanation for everything that occurs. What happened to their faith in God? How can you have faith, but have to know all of God's plans for someone else? Besides, my gay son will rock your world. He'll be loved and cherished and mine. He's totally more awesome than the kid you complain about on Facebook all the time...SNAP!
My and probably a lot of other people's biggest problems when people make comments or give unsolicited advice is their fear of judgement. Especially when we take their advice as coming from a place of "they know better." Let's be honest, this infertility stuff is expensive. Most of us are limited in what we can do and afford, and we are always second guessing our decisions especially in hindsight when a treatment doesn't work. I know I let myself feel that way. I felt like everyone was 'Tut-tutting" me after both my failed IVF attempts. I thought people were thinking and saying, "Oh, I knew she should have adopted." "I knew that was going to be a waste of money."
Alright, again, especially after IVF when you have more hormones in your body than an entire middle school. You tend to blow things out of proportion and regress to teenage-like thoughts that everyone is talking about you and hates you. In reality, probably really nobody thought much about it. If people were talking badly about you, I'm sorry, that's just pretty shitty, inexcusable behavior that they will have to face on their own time. I mean honestly, what kind of person would do that? I'll let God figure that out for me.
For me, stepping away has been a huge help. So I'm hoping with this blog I can pass on the wisdom I've gained to those currently in the throes of infertility treatments. Remember today. Do the things you need to do for your body that you and your team have figured out, and then live your life.
You have to stay in the moment. Or time will fly through your fingers. I seriously went from being a happy go lucky "25" year-old to a miserable "not 25 anymore" and living like that for 2 and half years, but it seeming like 5 seconds. I missed so much! I didn't deserve that, but I, yes me, did it to myself. Again, write a list down of all the things you have, right now, that you are thankful for and read it everyday. Keep it with you, look at it whenever you need to, because as much as you think infertility can steal, it can never take any of those things you have on that list away without your permission. (Unless you put money, it does steal that, but then you'll learn why money isn't everything, so SCORE.)
It's so important that you remember you, not the crazy, hysterical you, but the person you want to be a mom. Take care of that person. Do good things for that person that don't have anything to do with infertility. Don't suppress the anger, scream and cuss when you need to. Go ahead and buy that cute dress. Go to nursing school and get a way cooler job. Get a facial instead of a "fertility massage".
If you start doing these things for yourself, you'll care way less about what other people think. Their comments, bad advice, and gossip wash away in your bliss. You'll get your confidence back and believe in your own decisions.
Go get 'em, girl!
Peace, Love (for me), and loving you, too.
Mary Katherine Roberts