Living with infertility hurts. There really is no point in sugar coating it; it is just hard. But please know that you are not alone. One in eight couples will experience infertility by being unable to get pregnant after a year of trying, unable to successfully sustain a pregnancy, or both. Odds are that you know several people struggling with this issue–you just might not know that you know them since so many people keep silent on the issue.
Infertility is not your fault. It is a not a punishment for some wrong-doing earlier in your life or in a past life. It is not a hardship designed to teach you a lesson. Infertility just happens. We want to make sure that you really hear this since most, if not all, couples that experience infertility struggle with feeling like it is their fault. It is NOT your fault.
Along with knowing it is not your fault, we want you to know that your feelings are normal. Infertility is the loss of a dream and expectation of how your life would be, so it’s normal to grieve.
Infertility can cause feelings like frustration, anger, bitterness, confusion, hopelessness, sadness, bitterness, jealousy, and feeling betrayed by your body. All of those feelings and more are normal. Please honour your heart by acknowledging your feelings. Denying them will only cause you more pain and can come out in self-destructive ways.
For many of us, as soon as we start trying to build our family, our Mother’s heart begins to grow. We research like crazy to make our bodies as healthy as possible, begin dreaming over names, possible due dates and adorable baby shoes. We already love the children that we believe we will have. Infertility can rob us of that as we experience failed cycle after failed cycle. Each period causes us to mourn the child that we should have conceived that month. Each failed cycle can cause depression, anger and more. These feelings are normal and understandable.
When you add to that the heartbreak of losing the child you’ve worked so hard to have, it can feel as though you will ever find hope or joy again.
Living with infertility will teach you to be your own advocate when dealing with the medical profession. There are some great doctors out there and there are some that can do more harm than good. It’s essential that you educate yourself so that you know what questions to ask, tests to requests, and when to ask for a referral for a specialist. If you have been trying for a year or more (six months if you are age 35 or older) we would suggest skipping your family doctor or OB/gyn and seeking out a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). REs focus on infertility (including recurrent pregnancy loss) and are better trained to help you through the necessary testing and then developing a treatment plan for you.
Please surround yourself with people who will support you during this struggle. Support can come from family and friends who have been through it themselves or have an empathetic heart. Support can also come from a therapist or support group. Some of us have also found great support in online communities. There are many friends you may never meet in person but they will cry with you on the bad days, and laugh with you on the good. You don’t need to do this alone.
- About Infertility
- Mayo Clinic – Infertility
- Path 2 Parenthood – Double Jeopardy: Infertility and Pregnancy Loss – Part I
- Path 2 Parenthood – Double Jeopardy: Infertility and Pregnancy Loss – Part II
Support Groups – Face-to-Face
- Check with your RE’s office to see if they offer support groups – many do.
- Resolve Support Groups, by State
Support Groups – Online
- To the Childless Mother Suffering From Infertility from We, A Great Parade
- Why is Living With Infertility So Hard? from Our Journey to the Baby Bump
- Still Standing’s Infertility Page
- How to Take Care of Your Relationship Through Infertility
- 7 Ways We’re Keeping Infertility from Destroying Our Marriage
- Accepting Childlessness After Infertility
- Acceptance in Infertility: 9 Untruths in the “Never Give Up” Message
For Family and Friends
- 25 Things to Say/Not Say to Someone Living With Infertility
- How Can I Support a Friend with Infertility?
- Infertility Etiquette
- 10 Things to Stop Doing if you Want to Support Someone with Infertility
- 12 Things Not to Say to Someone with Infertility
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler
- Coping With Infertility, Miscarriage, and NeoNatal Loss, by Amy Wenzel
- Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping With Infertility, by Janet Jaffe, David Diamond, and Martha Diamond
Do you know of a great resource we could add to this page? Please send us a note!