Most of my posts are geared towards men and women dealing with Infertility and Miscarriage. In honor of Infertility Awareness Week, I wanted to write a post that not only is for my wonderful Infertility Community, but to the general public to help shed this stigma that Infertility and Miscarriage are plagued with. Although I have accepted my status quo, I would like to shed a little light about Infertility and Pregnancy Loss and the struggles that millions of couples go through when trying to build their family.
I recently wrote a post about What Not to Say to Someone Who is Dealing With Infertility And Miscarriage. In lieu of this, I am writing this blog post about “How To Support Someone Who Is Going Through Infertility And Miscarriage.” Hopefully my post will help educate people and allow them to understand the emotional, physical and financial pain that the many people who are faced with dealing with this difficult diagnosis have. The reason I want to do this is because I have personally been dealing with this journey for 3 years. In those 3 years I have had 2 cancelled IVF cycles, 1 failed IUI, 5 pregnancy losses, 6 surgeries and a whole lot of heartache and disappointment.
I have had a very difficult time emotionally dealing with the struggles that this diagnosis brings. It has not only brought on physical and emotional pain, but a financial burden as well since most insurance companies do not cover ANY fertility treatments and many people are left with paying for everything out of pocket. I know a lot of people who have emptied their entire life savings on fertility treatments and still have no baby in their arms. Because of this stigma that Infertility and Pregnancy Loss has, many men and women who are suffering often feel alone when trying to cope with the hand they have been dealt. I know I have felt that way for many years and honestly it wasn’t until recently that I felt comfortable with sharing my journey that was shunned by society. I finally know I have nothing to be ashamed of and have taken a stand. If you are dealing with Infertility or Pregnancy loss, you are not alone.
Infertility is a disease and affects 1 in 8 couples who are in their reproductive age. Yes, I said “disease.” According to RESOLVE (The National Infertility Association), “Infertility is a disease or condition of the reproductive system often diagnosed after a couple has had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or if the woman has suffered from multiple miscarriages and the woman is under 35 years of age. If the woman is over 35 years old, it is diagnosed after 6 months of unprotected, well-timed intercourse.”
Providing your Infertile friends/loved ones with the emotional support they need is crucial during this delicate time. Here are some great ways to show your support.
- Say I’m Sorry – It’s just as simple as that. I can’t even tell you that a simple “I’m sorry” and a hug goes a long way. Sometime nothing else needs to be said or done.
- Act like you are interested – Many people in the Infertile Community do not wish to talk about their journey, but many people like me do. After 3 years I am now comfortable with sharing and am very open about my journey. If they are open with you about their Infertility and/or Pregnancy Loss Journey, ask them how they are doing and engage with them about their journey. It will make them feel like you care.
- Listen to them and let them know you are there anytime – After having so many losses, sometimes I just need to vent. Having a shoulder to cry on and just letting my frustration out is so therapeutic.
- Acknowledge the issue– Don’t change the subject or minimize their journey. Instead warranty that their feelings are validated. I know I have heard that “it could always be worse” all too often which made me feel like my Infertility and Miscarriages were not a big deal and hurt me deeply.
- Validate your Infertile friends choices – If they want to spend their entire life savings on infertility treatments, don’t question it. If they want to adopt or not do anything at all, let them. This is their life and it is only for her and her partner to decide what direction they want to go in. Having someone question your decisions during this journey will only push your Infertile loved one(s) away.
- Offer help – Whether it is to help with getting groceries, making dinner or going to an appointment with them, be sure to offer a helping hand. They may not oblige, but they will be very grateful knowing you offered to be there for them during this stressful and emotional time.
- Think of her on Mother’s Day – Going through Infertility or Miscarriage can be especially hard during Mother’s Day. Be thoughtful and give her a call, send her a text/email or send her flowers. Let her know that you are thinking about her. It’s a very simple gesture that goes a long way. Oh and don’t forget, the women who have experienced miscarriage(s) are Mother’s of Angels!
- Remind them how strong and brave they are – I personally love this one. Hearing this from my loved ones really has helped me during those times that I have asked myself, WHY MEEEEE? WHY CAN’T MY BODY DO WHAT IT WAS MEANT TO DO? Yes, this journey makes me feel like I’ve been dragged through the mud sometimes. I have felt like I was failing. I have felt like I was broken. I remember when my mother told me how she admired how strong and brave I was to continue to try after being through hell and back. It was a good feeling and sometimes I need a reminder of how strong I am. When I was at my worst, those words have inspired me.
I’ve been walking down the Infertility road for 3 years now and have had 5 losses, 3 failed fertility treatments, took too many supplements, I have peed on thousands of HPT (Home Pregnancy Tests), tried acupuncture, meditated daily, lost weight, gained weight, changed my diet, spent a fortune and cried entirely way too many tears among many other things. Infertility and loss is all consuming and will take everything out of you. One step forward and two steps back. It’s a bumpy road for sure. I have tried so many things and have failed every time. Yet……I keep trying. I keep praying. I keep hoping and dreaming that one day my, one glorious day, I will finally have my baby. My rainbow baby.
One thing that I have learned about the this beautiful Infertility Community. We are stronger than we think. We persevere. We never give up! I have met some amazing women during my journey and we have all been each others cheerleaders! I continue reminding myself and all of the Infertility Community that we are warriors. Push me down and I’ll get back up. I may be a little beat up at first, but I will keep on the path! Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations!
If you know someone who is going through Infertility and/or Pregnancy Loss, be supportive. Listen to them. Let them cry on your shoulder and vent when they need to release their heartache and frustration. Let them know that you care and if you’re lost for words, just a hug or a simple “I’m sorry” goes a long way.
Love and Baby Dust,