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Join the Movement and Educate

***

Have you ever been stuck in an awkward conversation with someone you don’t know well?

Yeah.  Me too.

And then the million dollar question comes up… The “why don’t you have babies?” question.  

Yeah.  That one.

And then you word-vomit your entire non-reproductive history onto them, things get even more awkward, you realize there’s no coming back from this social faux pas, and you just abruptly stop talking.  Or they back slowly away from you, hands in the air, like they’re afraid you’ll lunge after them to assault them with further knowledge of cervical mucus quality.

…Yeah.  It happens.

***

When you tell someone that you struggle with infertility, it can be as intimidating for them as it is for you.

Infertility is a very broad term.  There are hundreds – maybe thousands – of causes for infertility, and the average Fertile bystander probably has very little idea what those causes may be.

If you’re anything like me, the conversation probably goes a little like this:

So when are you and your husband going to have kids?

Well, we’ve been working on it for a while.  It will happen one day.  (UGH… I know where this is going…)

You know, the same thing happened to my cousin’s best friend.  She was just trying too hard, and after like six months they took a vacation and relaxed, and then BAM!  Pregnant!

Maybe you’re just stressing out about it too much?

…Yeah.  That’s not it, actually.  There are medical reasons why I’m not getting pregnant, and the doctors are working to figure out why.

It’s probably your husband.  Does he wear tightie-whities and sit in the hot tub all the time?

What are we, a 70s swinger couple?  No, he doesn’t, and no, it’s not him.

You know, I heard that after you turn 30, you need to see a special doctor to help you get pregnant.  You probably just waited too long and missed your window.

That’s not… no.  *sigh*facepalm*sigh*

…….Okay, here’s the thing:  Infertility is defined by a man and a woman having regular, unprotected sex for one full year and not successfully conceiving  a child.  If nothing happens after a year, most women see their OB, who should refer them to a reproductive specialist for additional testing and, sometimes, artificial reproductive technologies.  Age has nothing to do with that process most of the time, but yes, some women’s fertility will start to decline after age 35.  Maybe that’s what you heard.  And for the record, I’m only 32 and my husband wears boxers.

Uhh…  Yeah.  Nice talk.  Anyway, I hope you get knocked up… Bye!

And then you just scared away another Fertile and simultaneously made a big awkward scene at a wedding/church/office break room/check-out line at Target.

It can be frustrating to try to explain your entire medical history to someone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of infertility like some of us do, but in the same way that we expect people to be receptive of we have to say, we need to be patient and clear when explaining our infertility to them.

Next time the conversation erupts around you, try to inform rather than defend.

So you’ve been trying for quite a while then?

Yes, four years actually.  We’re seeing a very good specialist though, so we have a lot of hope that it will happen soon.

So what exactly is the problem?  Are you just too stressed out, or what?

Well, I am stressed, yes.  Trying this hard for something you want more than anything, and failing month after month for four straight years would stress anyone out.  However, that is not the reason we haven’t been successful.  Infertility is a disease, and much like cancer, there’s not always a clear-cut way to cure the disease.  It’s a lot of trial and error, but we’re getting closer every month.  *patient smile*

Oh, okay.  Well I wish you the very best of luck, and I hope it happens soon!

…Hey, wait!  You know, I have a friend who is having some trouble getting pregnant too… Would you mind if I gave her your email address so she could have someone experienced to talk to about all of this?

And then you become an ally, an advocate, rather than a Bitter Infertile/Socially Awkward Crazy Cat Lady.

We can all open ourselves up to educating and informing others, and oftentimes one open door leads to another.  We all have an ungodly amount of medical knowledge stored up in our warped Infertile brains – we just need to be careful about how we word-vomit that knowledge onto the unsuspecting, uninformed public.

Please take advantage of this National Infertility Awareness Week to share with others, and in turn, others may share with you.  Being an advocate and having a reputation as an Infertility Ally can be a very fulfilling thing.

Use what you know, what you’ve been through, and the compassion you’ve gained along the way to educate and inspire others!  Encourage the conversation about infertility, and in turn you’ll encourage sensitivity and compassion toward our cause!

***

And so, in the spirit of educating, informing, and opening up about infertility, I’m working on a Q & A (vlog!) post for later this week.  If you have a question about infertility, treatment options, medications, side-effects, or anything  medical/ART related, please feel free to ask!

You can also ask anything you like about me – personal questions, relationships questions, what kind of cup I pee in a thousand times per month – nothing is off limits! 

If you follow this blog’s Facebook feed, you may have already submitted a question there, but please feel free to leave your questions in the comments here, shoot me an email, or Tweet me a message.

I’m an open book this week, so please expect an extra helping of TMI – in video form!

 

 

 

4 comments on “Join the Movement and Educate

  1. Nobabiesoverhere
    April 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    This gives me a lot of good insight for how to answer the “So why aren’t you married/have kids yet?” Inquisition. The assumptions some people make are very frustrating. No, I don’t hate men and/or children. Yes, I am seeing someone. No, I’m not planning on having children. No, he doesn’t hate kids either. No, we’re not mean people/ overly selfish/ too busy partying. No, I will not regret this decision someday. Yes, I’m sure. Yes, I’m sure. Statements like, “I’ll never have a daughter, so I’m saving up all my ballet costumes for my nieces and neighbor children” are not creepy/weird/sad to me. Yes, I’m sure. Yes, I’m sure. Dammit, YES! …Well, yeah, I do think I would be a good mother hypothetically but I don’t want to do 18 years of research on that hypothesis. NO, I don’t hate children!!! I love children!

    I know this isn’t exactly the same as WANTING children and not having, but it’s just as easy for me to jump on the defensive in a similar situation. I’m glad that you’ve provided some insight into how I can turn a potential argument (followed by a stranger snap-judging that I live in a gingerbread house out in a creepy woods) into an informative and kind conversation.

    I really wish you all the best!!! I keep praying that this is “your cycle,” that it’s the one that gives you the good news you’ve always been waiting for. I DON’T hate kids, and I don’t think that people with kids or who want kids are crazy– I want everyone to get what they want from life. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, and know that we’re rooting for you!!!!

    Like

  2. ThoughtProvokingMoments
    April 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Awesome post!!! Sending many hugs and prayers your way! 🙂

    Like

  3. hopefulandhungry
    April 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Well said……sometimes I wish I could just give people a handout to explain this long and complicated road we’ve been on. 🙂

    Like

  4. newtoivf
    April 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Great blog x

    Like

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