Currently the girls and I are down in Georgia visiting my mom and dad while my bathroom is being demolished. We always have a great time down here, and with my sweet niece visiting too, it’s like a full on girly slumber party. Similar to a slumber party, I didn’t much sleep last night. Hailey was up at 1:00 needing to go potty, Kaitlyn woke up at 3:30 to eat, then again at 5:30 with her jammies soaked through. I changed her diaper, put her in new jammies and decided to lay in the bed to nurse her back to sleep… until she peed again, through the diaper, onto me and on the bed. Glorious. From there on, we were up so it will be interesting to see how the day goes.
This is one of those mornings that moms like to cheers their coffees together, commiserating over puffy eyes and slow-working brains. No doubt that I have both today, but fortunately I also have a little perspective. Sure being a mom is tiring and stressful some days but it also fills me with more joy than I ever imagined and I remind myself daily how grateful I am for the sleepless nights and soaked jammies.
A few weeks ago a reader named Lauren reached out to me. She candidly shared her story with me about her battle with infertility. She asked that I might help shine some light on this struggle that so many women face on my blog. Her words touched me. I was worried, though, that I wouldn’t be able to do the topic justice. Since I write largely about my first hand experiences here, in journal-fashion, I didn’t want to be insensitive enough to pretend I understood the struggle, frustration and pain that women dealing with infertility face, so I asked Lauren if she would be open to writing something for me to share. I was thrilled when she said yes, as I believe women opening up, sharing our struggles and leaning on each other for support is powerful. And with that, I turn it over to Lauren…
I was always the responsible one in both my group of friends and amongst my siblings. Always planning ahead and make sure things were taken care of. So naturally after I married my husband we thought it best to wait to have children until we felt financially ready (I know the seasoned parents out there got a chuckle out of that one). After we had been married for four years we decided we were ready. Most of our friends had one or two children at this point and we needed to catch up. So in December of 2012 the “fun” began. I had been tracking my Basal Body Temperature prior to this so we knew when to avoid sex, now I had the chance to put that information to good use. I not only knew when I ovulated but what signs to look for, I had thought to myself this is going to be a piece of cake. I had also started using Ovulation Predictor Kits those first few months, so I had an arsenal of things telling me when I needed to have sex to get pregnant. Much to my dismay time passed, one month, two, five, ten…trying became efficient and tiring. If someone suggested it we tried it, acupuncture, herbs, gluten free, standing on my head drinking pomegranate juice (ok the last one isn’t true but if I thought it would’ve worked I would’ve done it).
For everyone else, chances are you know someone who is struggling with infertility. They may not have “come out” to you yet but they’re out there, remember infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. There are some great resources out there for you too, websites to help you understand the procedures and medical talk, and of course things not to say. However, I also want to help you understand what to say. Some examples are below:
Your friend or loved one will direct the conversation how they see fit. Some days they’ll want to talk, vent, or cry. Other days they may want to be left alone. The emotions that accompany infertility come in waves. For me most days are good, I can talk about it, see pregnancy announcements, and hang out with my friends kids. But then there are the other days, when the littlest things hit me like a ton of bricks and all I want to do is cry (and drink some wine). The best thing you can do is check in with them regularly, let them know you’re there if they need to talk, and please don’t ever say “just relax”. Infertility is a medical diagnosis, one that cannot be cured by relaxing, drinking wine, or taking a vacation (trust me I would have a baseball team if any of this was true). What they need is your compassion and understanding, not your solutions and anecdotes.
Thank you so much Lauren for sharing your journey. I have no doubt it will help others in their personal journeys.