20 April 2015

National Infertility Awareness Week

So this week is national infertility awareness week, and it gives us a great opportunity to share our stories and show support for the TTC community. The fact is, infertility is a lot more common than everyone most people are aware of because one in EIGHT couples have struggled with it. That pretty much guarantees that a few couples you know have struggled with this and never even let on... but why don't we talk about it?! I recently experienced some shame regarding my infertility issues and I blame it 100% on the fact that we just don't talk about it enough so the people who DON'T struggle with it can be pretty ignorant. I didn't want to share this story because it hurts, but I definitely believe the more we talk about it the more informed everyone will be and the less misconceptions there will be. 

First of all, I understand that it can be difficult to know what to say to someone trying to conceive. That’s why don’t bring it up to people who I am not close to. I’ve found this blog very helpful for this purpose because I can vent all I want and there are no awkward silences, nobody feels like they HAVE to respond or even read it, and the only ones who do respond are usually those who have been through it or are currently going through it – which is very encouraging!

Secondly, I understand that I will get pregnant in God’s time. It’s a big misconception I think some people have, they automatically assume I’m distraught when I tell them how long we’ve been “trying”. Incorrect! Yes, this has been a struggle but it is a God-given struggle and I am GRATEFUL for it. I feel God’s love and I know that He hasn’t given me infertility issues because He is punishing me, or because He has forgotten me. It’s the opposite. This is something that has brought me closer to Him because He is the only one who can calm my fears and I have truly learned how to hand over my worries and trust Him in a way I never have before. It’s terrifying to not know whether this is going to last two more months or ten more years or forever, so I am completely blind and the world just can’t comfort that. Just because I get scared sometimes doesn’t mean I don’t believe His timing is perfect.

That being said, every single day my faith and my fears both struggle to make their voices heard in my head. Most days it’s neck and neck, because apparently I still need more practice. I know that I am the one who is ultimately responsible for choosing faith, but it really does help when somebody says something encouraging…and in the same breath, it’s so easy for fear to win when somebody says something discouraging!

Like I said, there are only a select few that I open up to…Matthew mostly, my mom and dad, my in-laws sometimes, and my close friends are the main ones who I feel comfortable with. I expect them to understand (maybe that’s unfair?) because they’ve supported me from the beginning, and I definitely let my guard down around them. That’s why hurtful words regarding infertility from someone in one of these circles feel so much worse than hurtful words from a casual acquaintance. Here is how a conversation I recently had went:

I said “You know, that’s a great name. I would definitely put that on my list of potential baby names.” My friend’s face got all weird and in my head I thought: Dang…does the name suck?? Then she squirmed in her seat and said something I couldn’t hear, and when I asked her to speak up she said “Well…Maybe you and Matt can adopt one day?” (The first thing was not that many words…)

Now, it may not seem THAT bad, but it hit me that in this persons eyes, Matt and I have zero chance at having babies of our own!! I was so embarrassed by the pity I felt from her and I wondered if she thought of herself as more of a woman than I am because she was able to carry and have babies…for the first time I was embarrassed by my infertility, like it was my fault. My heart honestly broke.

I need to remember that this friend was trying her hardest to be as encouraging as she knew how, but I feel like I was doing really well and this just knocked me back a few steps. It honestly hurt so bad it took me a week or so of healing after it was said and done before I was able to get back to where I was. That recovery took emotional energy that is so valuable for someone struggling with an emotional issue.

For the record, if you are ever in a position to talk with someone who you know is trying to conceive and you struggle with what to say, a safe bet is “You will be such a great mother when your time comes!” That is both encouraging, and a compliment all in one, so it’s the perfect go-to. Or, as in the case above, just say “Yeah that’s a great name” and move on. Because I don’t want to be forced to reevaluate who it’s safe to open up to. 


Kristie's Blue Jeans said...

This post hurts my heart for you. I haven't dealt with trying to conceive, but I honestly agree that infertility is such a taboo conversation piece that it breeds ignorance and hurtful words. I have had many friends that were considered infertile, but as you said, it was all in God's time and I believe that is true for you and I know you will be a great mom.

Lita said...

This post is perfection! I am not married and have not experienced infertility, but it has always been a fear of mine. I think that it is an especially heartbreaking experience especially from a religious viewpoint that often focuses on family and motherhood. I loved your thoughts and love that you are giving it to God! It can be so hard to trust in His timing...but it is so necessary. New follower right here :)

Elena @ baby Ridley bump said...

Yes! Thank you for having the courage to open up! You rock girl!! We are here for you!

racheladams22 said...

I am on of those "1-8" people who are considered "infertile". I was told by my doctor over 4 months ago it was impossible to get pregnant with a child. me and my husband tried over a year with no success. Was after that I decided to check with my doctor to see if something was wrong and that is when I got the news. I honestly gave up hope when he said that but my husband kept saying "anything is possible". Feeling so helpless is not fun and having something you wanted for so long stripped from your dreams is a living nightmare. I prayed night after night for what felt like forever because I was so desperate. I am very happy to say that I am now 2 weeks pregnant and things are going great! I am not sure if its the praying or countless things I tried but whatever it was worked! Last thing I tried was this (http://bit.ly/1Ga6a5b) and I feel it is what did the trick but I know god had to of had a part in it! Don't give up ladies as I myself recently found out their is always hope! God bless!

Amie said...

My sister said the very same thing to me and it just made me feel like she just really didn't understand. Granted she couldn't understand because she got pregnant unexpectedly and hasn't been in our shoes but it still hurt. I think it's great that you are talking about it here where there is so much support :)

Brittany Sanchez said...

Oh Laynah, I am so very sorry for the hurt that you've felt from those words. The pain is surely like a blow from a punch right to your gut and I all too well know that feeling that you are going through. After watching several people get pregnant and voicing my desire to be a mother, I was knocked down on several occasions. People who I thought of as very close friends would always mock my desire or say hurtful things trying to make light of it. It's one of the most beautiful desires of a woman's heart. God see's your heart and your struggle and he is comforting you every step of the way. You are going to be such a wonderful mother soon. Keep your head up, sweet girl and know there are so many people in your corner rooting for you. <3

E. Erquitt said...

My friend started a blog to document her similar journey. Here's the link. Only suggesting it because you two remind me of each other... able to find God's grace in the midst of a very private and personal struggle. HUGS.


Jenessa Kramer said...

Laynah girl, you will be such an amazing mother and I'm not just saying that because you said to;) You really will be. And I definitely think infertility prepares us to be amazing mothers. I'm so glad you're able to see God's hand in it now, I had a hard time with that in our 18 month trial. But I've seen so many blessings from it already and they just keep coming. It teaches you a new sensitivity and empathy for people you'd never have otherwise. It teaches you to depend on Him in ways you never have. It'll happen in His timing. I hated being told that by people that had never been in my shoes, but having been through it I can look back and see everything that fell into place perfectly. Things that knocked me to the floor ended up being major blessings and break throughs. Just keep trusting that He knows what He's doing and that he loves you so much. It'll all come together and you'll look back when it does, and see it as one of the best times of your life. I'm so grateful for the time we struggled and for what I learned and how close Derek and I became through it. Hold on tight and get ready to see so many blessings:)

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