Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't Ignore Our Pain - NIAW 2012

"I didn't want to get pregnant right now."
"I'm so tired of being pregnant."
"Just adopt!"
"There is a reason for everything."
"Want to borrow my kids for a while?  Then you won't want any."

We've all heard statements like that.  They hurt.  More than some people realize.  For those of us who are "out" about our infertility it blows our mind that someone could be so insensitive to our plight.  For those in the closet, it's a reminder of how unaware people are of the pain their statements can cause.

I am out.  Have been since day 1.  Friends mean well.  Family members mean well.  But the discomfort surrounding Infertility means that our pain goes either ignored or blown off quite often.  Here's the thing...

My pain is valid.  My constant envy of bumps and families built by accident and the thought that my son may never get to be an older's all valid.  Sometimes the pain hits me in the chest and I can't breathe.  Sometimes I struggle to find the appropriate level of response for an "oops" pregnancy, or your 5th child, or your complaints regarding your child.

We are so incredibly lucky to have had only 1 cycle with an RE, 1 IVF/ICSI cycle, and 1 perfect little boy.  I know that.  And I will never forget the miracle we have been blessed to receive.  And I know Survivor's Guilt, the pain I feel for my friends who are still fighting the war.

But I still ache for another child, to be pregnant again, to feel that life growing inside me.  The bond that is inherent in carrying a child.  I struggle with the fear it may not happen.  With the fact that our continual bad luck, my bipolar disorder, money, etc, will end our dreams.

We don't always need to hear that you understand...unless you actually do.  We don't always need you to say the perfect thing.  But that awkward silence, the quick changing of the subject...that needs to end.  Infertility is not a shameful disease.  A hug helps.  Thinking about your flippant statements regarding children and family building before you actually utter them helps.  You might be inadvertently causing some friend or acquaintance of yours to be seeking a quick exit to compose herself.  Or himself.

Just as jokes that are racist or bigoted can hurt or offend someone, so can your remarks.  Listen, we think about the things we say if we are compassionate.  So think about what you say.

And most of all, DON'T IGNORE it.  Ignoring it doesn't make it go away.  Oh, how we wish it would.  How we dream that we never heard the diagnosis that changed our lives.  How we desperately wish to just be able to conceive a child the "normal" way.  How we dream that we could just build our families without going into debt or making decisions about embryos.

Please don't ignore me.  Don't ignore my disease.  Don't ignore my pain.  Validate it.  Recognize it.

National Infertility Awareness Week 2012.

Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.
About NIAW


  1. This is me pushing an invisible "like" button. Yup - its real. So real it hurts every day whether you have that kiddo finally or not. Sigh...

  2. Well said. I know what you mean about survivor's guilt. I was pregnant only 10 weeks before I miscarried, but there was so many times I thought I might be kicked out of the club of women I'd grown so close to, and that they'd feel I no longer understood their pain. I think once an infertile, always an infertile in a way. I am not a mother yet, but I doubt I will ever forget the feelings of hopelessness, fear, and emptiness that I feel, even if I'm lucky enough to have several children.


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