Infertility: The silent illness

Infertility: The silent illness

Angry. Mad. Shamed. Misunderstood. Complicated. Sad. Heartbroken. Confused. Terrified. Broken. Empty.

These are just a few of the adjectives I would use to describe how a person battling infertility may feel at any given time during their journey.

Although you may look at that person and think to yourself “she/he looks alright, I don’t see anything physically wrong,” you must understand the mental and emotional warfare that goes on inside of the mind and soul.

You may wonder why we aren’t going to social gatherings like we used to, why we don’t seem as happy and joyful as we once were, why we aren’t at work and are taking time off. You may wonder to yourself why you see me out at the grocery store or out to dinner with my spouse but not in the hallways at work or at social gatherings.

Why can she/he do that …but not this??

This is because we are surviving infertility in any way that we can—doing whatever we can that day to get through it, and hopefully find some joy and happiness in that day. And that is absolutely okay. Whatever way you can improve your mental health is always the right way.

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like without children? I have and it’s scary. I  wonder to myself who will visit when my husband and I are old and grey. Not only may we never become parents, but we may never get to experience the joy of being grandparents either. This breaks my heart to think about.  What if something happens to my spouse…I will be all alone. Who will take care of us when we are unable to do things for ourselves? When our parents are no longer with us, what family will we have if we don’t have kids? We have siblings, nephews and nieces but what if they move away?

The list continues…

These are just some of the questions that burn in my mind on a daily basis and fill me with stress and anxiety. The struggle is hard and the fear is very real and hard to get past.

For some, they want to keep themselves so busy so they don’t have to think about their recent losses or heartaches whereas others such as myself find it hard to focus on anything but just that. It’s like a cloudiness comes over your mind and you can’t focus or think straight anymore. A dark cloud grabs you and squeezes you so tightly you worry if will you ever get away from it. Will it consume you entirely that the only part left of you is infertility?

Will this define me/us for the rest of my life?

The logical answer is no because I know I am a complex human being who is so much more than someone struggling to begin her family. But the fight and daily battle is real. When you want something so natural, something my body was designed to do but just can’t seem to—it does consume your life and your mind. No matter how hard you try to forget about it.

Every month begins another cycle that starts with hope and ends with sadness for many. For a lucky few of us, the tides change and finally one month that cycle ends with joy and elation only to start another journey of fear and worry of “will this pregnancy be viable and will it last?”

People who aren’t infertile may not realize that the fear and worry doesn’t end for most when they finally see those two pink lines. I know this as I talk to many of these women daily and hear their struggles and new fears and I know this will be me too if I’m fortunate enough to get there.

As time goes on and with each year that passes during your battle to overcome infertility, these worries and emotions only get magnified.

The fear that this may never happen creeps and makes itself known. It whispers in your ear making sure you do not forget its presence. It wants you to remember your pain. You push it away and continue on but you know it will be back.

And like every woman or man going through this, we rise up like warriors in battle to defeat that voice in our heads and we continue on.

We do not give up. We will not let this beat us.

Sometimes we win but sometimes we don’t. And that’s okay because that is real life. It’s hard for all of us. We all have hardships in our lives and even if you cannot relate to infertility, I know you can relate to pain and heartache.

So I ask that you be patient with your loved one while they are on this journey. I ask that you not judge them for their failures and celebrate them for their triumphs even if they seem small to you. I assure you it will mean the world to that person to feel supported. No one expects you to understand our experience but we do expect our friends and family to love us through it and be supportive.

If support means not saying anything because you don’t know the right thing to say then that is okay too.

But please don’t ask us why we can’t come out or why we cannot work or why we don’t seem as happy as we once were. And I’m speaking from personal experience with this because it is hurtful and makes us feel like we are being judged and not supported. It makes us feel isolated. It makes us feel worse. It can make us feel sad.

The best thing anyone can do is just say, “I am here for you” and mean it. ♡♡♡

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