What things helped you cope with infertility? Speaking out and finding community was what has helped me cope best during our battle with infertility. Rather than holding everything in and fighting what seemed like a silent and isolating journey, I found encouragement, love and support when I finally started talking about it.
Speaking out and finding community was what has helped me cope best during our battle with infertility. Rather than holding everything in and fighting what seemed like a silent and isolating journey, I found encouragement, love and support when I finally started talking about it.
I didn’t speak out or find community right away. My husband suggested to me that I should talk about it, so I first confided in my mom and sisters after a full year of knowing we’d need in vitro fertilization for the opportunity to have biological children. Then I created a private, anonymous Instagram account to connect with the infertility community there. I confided in a close friend who bought me a devotional journal, In The Wait, and joined the accompanying support group. I finally announced our infertility journey and plans to do IVF through a Facebook live video and I opened my Instagram account to the public.
Opening up and talking about our journey has helped me navigate the process with an army of people supporting us and praying for us. It was the best decision I could’ve made.
How did you and your spouse encourage each other while on this journey? My husband, Jason, did an amazing job of lifting me up, encouraging me and keeping my mindset positive during our journey. He still does, since our journey isn’t complete yet! We both encourage each other by focusing on keeping a positive mindset, recognizing what we are grateful for, and finding the positive in every situation. We aren’t perfect at this, we both still experience worry, nervousness and frustration. But because we have attempted to encourage each other to remain positive, our journey has been filled with joy and love!
What would you like couples or women who don’t struggle with infertility to know about infertility? The most important thing I want people who don’t struggle with infertility to know is that infertility is unlike any type of grief that they’ve experienced. It’s not the loss of something, it’s the loss of what hasn’t happened. And so it’s important to remember that is what makes the infertility journey tough. Really tough. It is hurtful to be reminded of what you don’t have or what hasn’t happened when people ask “when are you going to start a family?” or when they tell you that “You better get started having kids, you’re not getting any younger!” So to the people who don’t struggle with infertility: please be mindful and conscious of what type of family planning questions you ask or suggestions you make. A person will share that information with you when they’re ready.
What is/was the hardest part of this journey for you? I think the hardest part is that infertility was out of my control and that there are so many unknowns surrounding the journey. I am the type of person who will recognize an issue and then work hard to solve the problem. Well, I can’t do that with infertility. There is nothing I could do to fix my infertility. There was nothing I could do to ensure a good outcome from the egg collection phase of retrieval. There was nothing we could do to ensure fertilized eggs would become strong blastocysts. There is nothing I can do to ensure a frozen embryo transfer will yield a healthy baby. Everything has to be with a heart of hope, mindset of belief and actions done in faith that everything will work as it should.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’d like to share with our readers? Can I share two pieces of advice? First, I’ve learned it is crucial to not compare my journey to someone else’s. It’s said that comparison is the thief of joy and that is truer than ever when it comes to infertility! It can be so hard because you want to know what she did to get pregnant, or what her IVF protocol looked like, or why she’s having a baby and you’re not. But everyone’s journey is so so different and it’s important to stay focused on your own journey while simply supporting others. Your journey is uniquely yours and there will not be another journey that is the same.
Second, don’t let infertility consume you. It’s easy to become obsessed with everything that comes with infertility but doing so will just rob you of acknowledging the many blessings in your life. Make sure you and your partner are spending time doing the things you love and that bring you joy. Keep going on dates, make sure you can relax and focusing on enjoying the life you have now. Find gratitude every day and don’t let infertility consume your everything.
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