June is World Infertility Awareness Month.
Yeah, that’s right, an entire month dedicated to us infertile myrtles! Today is your lucky day because I’m here to help you become more aware of how you can help someone struggling with infertility. Whether you realize it or not, you probably know someone dealing with the heartbreak and uncertainty that infertility can bring. Statistics say that one in eight couples will have problems conceiving. Infertility is more common than most of us realize.
I’ll be the first to tell you it’s a long, hard, depressing, waste your money on 186 boxes of clear blue easy ovulation testing kits journey. I was there. I was… am… infertile.
Fortunately, I came out on the other side of infertility and had three amazing, miraculous kids to prove just that. Two of my biggest blessings didn’t come easy, though. They came after lots of blood, sweat, tears; some failed IUI attempts (Intrauterine Insemination), and one failed attempt of in vitro.
The second attempt at in vitro worked, and it blessed me with a baby girl who is now seven. It seems like just yesterday she was swimming around in a Petri dish. Don’t blink.
Two years later, we gave her a little brother via IVF once again. We were old pros by then, and it worked on our very first try.
Two more years after that, and we were welcoming ANOTHER little brother. No fertility treatments. No IVF. No ovulation kits. No shots. We still aren’t entirely sure where he came from.
However, having conceived two children with the help of the most fantastic fertility specialist in the history of ever, I do know a thing or two about the world of infertility. The world of “Will I ever be a mommy?” The world of “Why is Kristy posting another pregnancy announcement on Instagram?” (Insert eye roll) and the world of “Why the hell will people not stop asking me when we have kids?”
I remember all those thoughts all too well. It seems like yesterday that I was the one sprawled out on my bed with a pint of Blue Bell Mint Chocolate Chip and a bottle of Rose’ thinking those very same thoughts. Don’t judge.
It was a dark time. The fact that I am that one in the one in eight that can’t have a baby no matter how damn hard I try statistic didn’t help. Do you know what else didn’t help? Words. Words from well-meaning friends, family, and even strangers. Their words could administer way more pain than the needles I was shooting into my bruised belly every night with the hopes of ovulating at the exact right time.
With that said, here is a list of things to never say to the infertility crowd. I only know that you shouldn’t say these things because the following is a list of things that were said to me when I was deep in the throes of #thatinfertilelife. And, I’ve included what I wish I would have said back but never had the nerve.
1. “Once you stop stressing about it, you will get pregnant.”
Ohhh, so that’s all I have to do? Just quit thinking about it, and Poof – preggo!!! Like seriously, if I had a dollar for every time, I heard that one when I was trying to get pregnant, I would have had enough to pay for all those fertility treatments I had to have. The treatments I had to have probably just due to my obsessive worrying over not getting pregnant. People! Come on!
2. “You’ve been married for five years now. When are y’all going to start popping out babies?”
Well, frankly, if it were that dang easy, we would have probably already “popped some out.” You never know how long a couple has been trying to fulfill the dream of becoming parents. And, while your inquiry might be well-meaning, it only jabs the knife in that much farther.
3. “Why haven’t you RSVPed to my baby shower?”
Can I be honest for a second? I haven’t RSVPed because I never opened the invitation because the baby blue envelope with the baby rattles engraved on the outside clued me in that it was a baby shower invite, and I’m just not down for celebrating other people having other babies right now. My gosh, I sound just miserable, don’t I? But, if you have been there, then you know the feeling. It’s not that I’m not happy for you that you so easily conceived twins during the quarantine that you so cleverly called “quarantwins” on your cutesy little pregnancy announcement on Facebook. I’m thrilled. But, sister, I’d be more thrilled if I were experiencing “all that dreadful morning sickness” with you instead of just sitting here on the sidelines half-heartedly cheering you on.
And, it’s not because I’m a dreadful, bitter old hag. It’s just that every pregnancy announcement, baby shower invitation, and birth announcement comes as another reminder that I am not with child. So please go easy on me. This season won’t last forever. Someday I’ll be truly happy for you as I should be. Ultimately I’ll celebrate with you that your little munchkins ate their first solids. But, that day ain’t today. Today I will wallow in some misery and binge-watch crime docs on Netflix. It’s called not putting myself through more pain. And it’s called self-care.
4. “My neighbor’s cousin’s main man’s stepdaughter got pregnant miraculously after trying for nine years! Oh, and she’s 46!”
Wow! Ya, don’t say?! Um, not helping, friend. Not one bit. You might think I’d find this bit of information inspiring, but it’s just a tad bit annoying. It does give me a smidge of hope, though, to know that I might miraculously become pregnant after ten years of trying, hopefully by the time I’m like 53.
5. “Maybe it’s just not meant to be.”
Yeah, and maybe you and I aren’t meant to be friends. If I feel it in the thresh of my soul that I am meant to be a mama, then I am meant to be a mama. And, I’m not going ever to give up until I become one. And, you, my friend, who is no longer my friend, have no right to determine what is meant to be or not meant to be in my life.
6. “You can have my kids.”
( Snicker, snicker. Wink, wink. ) Well. Aren’t you just the funniest little thing? You see, hon… I don’t want your kids. I want my own. That’s nice of you to offer, though. However, my children will have better manners than yours and not talk back to their mama. Touché.
7. “Must be fun trying.”
(Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, hahaha ) If I’m honest, no, it’s not fun at all. Unless you count tracking your ovulation down to the exact second, shooting yourself up with medications that make you look pregnant when you’re not, and all the emotions that come with the journey of infertility, if you call that fun, then yeah, I guess I’m having a ball.
So, there you have it. I hope it helps you think before you speak and make you more aware when talking to someone who can’t have a baby crowd. And, please know that I am actually quite lovely as a friend. I’m not miserable and bitter against everyone who is living that #momlife. But I used to be.
Happy World Infertility Awareness Month y’all.