To my fellow Infertility Warriors, I just want to tell you that I see you. I can feel your agony. You have been, yet again, given another period of “wait” in your battle.
No one in this club, that we did not ask to join, has the same story. None of our paths wind the same way. But, we do all share the time of “wait.”
In this time of pandemic not only is it just another wait. It is an indefinite period of wait! Typically when we hear that we need to wait, we’re told a number of weeks, or when your next period starts.
All of the periods of waiting while suffering infertility are agonizing, to say the least. But, with many states currently deeming infertility care not to be medically necessary, the light at the end of the tunnel can appear to be so far away.
Maybe your journey is just beginning or maybe you’ve been at it for years. Nick and I waited for seven years to confirm a successful pregnancy and will welcome our first little one, eight years after our journey began.
But I’m here to tell you that no matter where you are, it hurts. Your hurt is no more or less than another’s. Clocks tick faster for us when it comes to the end of the road, but seem to move at a micro-pace when it comes to the next step.
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How to Cope with Waiting
It can feel so isolating during these periods. And I know you may not feel it, but there are people there for you, and though I can’t take your “waits” away, there are ways to make it just a little bit easier on yourself.
To start, turn to your partner.
Infertility can wreak havoc on a relationship, but it can also bring you so much closer. In the middle of what actually felt like the end of our infertility journey, I actually told Nick that he had an out.
It was my fault that we weren’t able to have children naturally. He didn’t sign up for this life. He was capable of having children. And the process had already stressed our relationship so much.
His response brought me back to why I married him in the first place. “Staci, this isn’t your problem. This is our problem. We figure this out together.”
After that, we started talking more openly about how we felt. Even the deep angry feelings that you tell yourself you shouldn’t let anyone know.
I knew that everything we were experiencing hurt him too, but I didn’t realize how much of an ally I had against this monster. His views may not be exactly the same as mine, but that was what was so amazing about hearing them. They helped me see past my own thoughts. And when they were the same as mine, I felt so much less alone.
After we heard the news that my Fallopian Tubes had been removed, and our only option for pregnancy was IVF, we decided to join a local support group through New Blossoms New Life Foundation. This was a life changer for us! If you are local to Erie, PA area I can’t urge you enough to reach out! If you are not, search your area for support groups!
Our first meeting had maybe five couples in attendance, and everyone of them is someone that we can turn to, to this day. Nick met some fellow husbands that he can call, play a round of golf with or grab a drink when he feels like others in his life just don’t understand.
I have a group that I know I can text or call for anything! We have drinks and dinner and I can’t imagine my life without them now.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve text one of these ladies with a random comment that someone made that only they would understand!
But more than that, New Blossoms has helped so many families over the years that I can’t even count how many others there are to help us and cheer us along the way.
I can’t tell you how often I use guided imagery to cope with the stressors of infertility, and life in general really! I was introduced to it at support group when a guest speaker came in and assisted us through the process.
Guided imagery is similar to hypnosis. And no, it’s not going to make you do weird things like quack like a duck. It helps you to mentally remove yourself from your struggles and focus on finding a place of peace.
You can use YouTube or free apps like Calm and Guided Mind for guided imagery sessions.
Talk to Your Close Family & Friends
For the longest time I hid my feelings about our struggles from my friends and family that hadn’t gone through the struggles that we had.
My Mom has been the most helpful through our infertility, but it took me the longest to open up to her. First, she was one of those Fertile Myrtle’s that got pregnant even though she’d had her tubes tied. You can curse her under your breath a little, I did for awhile. I love you Mom. 🙂
But more importantly, she was my mom, and what hurt me, hurt her and it took awhile before I was strong enough to fully open up and let her know just how much I was hurting.
What I found when I did… She was one of my biggest supporters, educating others and wanting to educate herself more on what we were experiencing and how she could help.
She was also suffering the waits like we were. I found this out on a day that she took me to a conservatory for my birthday. I was in the middle of a wait. I had just had a cancelled IVF cycle, because I had a dominant follicle and we had to stop and wait for my next period to start again.
It was 10 days before I should start and I felt off and went to the restroom. I realized I had started my period and yelled out of the stall, “I know this is a fat chance but do you have a tampon????”
She did not, but a sweet younger girl in the bathroom did. LOL
But when I looked up at my Mom, she was crying and laughing, “I’m not crying, you’re crying!” She had been waiting just as longingly as me for the next step.
I also had to thank that sweet girl, who at that point looked terrified, and said, “Sorry! Infertility Warrior here! We get really excited about periods!”
As for friends, some, just might not get it. And that’s okay. But you may be surprised how much some of our friends think about us.
And I don’t mean, ‘Should we invite them to the baby shower or birthday party?’
I’ve found that after opening up, some of our close friends are tracking our cycles and appointments behind the scenes. Our close friend Kara always asked how an appointment went, before I had a chance to say anything. She also mentioned that she thought of us everyday on her way to work.
It’s easy to think none of them get it and shut ourselves off. And they might not ever feel the pain we feel for themselves, but they DO feel it for us and if we let them in, they can be so much help.
Infertility Forums & Facebook Groups
I put this last, because I know they can be helpful, but proceed with caution. I found them hard to handle because there are so many conflicting personalities and some “advice” might actually end up being the opposite of what you need.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in someone else’s story. Take it with a grain of salt and ALWAYS consult with your doctor regarding the medical advice given from well meaning people in these groups.
After all of the tests, medications, timed intercourse and procedures, sometimes the infertility waiting can be the hardest of all. We just want answers. But, please know, as lonely as it feels, you are not alone. The next step will come and we will be stronger for the next wait.