Realizing that you may not conceive without treatment is one of the hardest things to deal with. It’s a feeling of defeat and failure. For most, it’s something we didn’t expect.
The decision to share it is a tough one. There are a lot of perks to being open about infertility: spreading awareness, connecting with others going through the same feelings, avoiding secrecy, and (hopefully) avoiding the dreaded “So, when are you going to have kids?” questions. But do the perks always outweigh the disadvantages?
As I mentioned before, infertility brings along with it a sense of failure. Our bodies are literally failing to do something that we are supposed to so naturally do. Admitting this to the world makes us feel extremely vulnerable.
Speaking of vulnerable, while we may squash some of the unwanted questions and comments from well-meaning people, we get a whole slew of other unwanted comments. I know I personally tried really hard to be understanding in that people who haven’t gone through it just don’t know what is and isn’t okay to say, but of course it got to me. They unintentionally made the hard days harder.
Infertility is something that’s difficult to understand. I myself had no clue how difficult it was, how sensitive feelings could be, and how much really goes into medicated cycles, IUI, and IVF treatments. Because of this, there is a huge disconnect between us and our loved ones. We can attempt to explain it until we’re blue in the face, but some will still walk on eggshells around us, some will avoid talking about it completely, and some will still just say all the wrong things.
“Why don’t you just adopt?” We’ll be accused of being jealous. Bitter. Selfish.
And then there’s religion. We have to deal with judgement based on other people’s morals. Some people think infertility treatments — particularly IVF — are morally wrong. This is something I personally can’t wrap my head around, knowing the science behind all of it, and how exactly human life is conceived. Side note: a lot of people don’t really understand how conception happens past the point of intercourse.
We’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t.
Personally, in the long run, I’m glad we shared. We benefited from extra support from family and friends — even if they didn’t completely understand, and even if it was in the smallest ways. I made friends with amazing women who understand what I’ve been through. I know I’ve made others feel less alone. That’s all worth it to me.