The Green-eyed Monster

infertility

OK, so I’m just going to come out with it…

I am jealous of you! (parent/soon to be parent) Well to be more precise, I’m jealous of your ability to conceive easily (within 12 months of trying) and naturally. Sometimes without even really trying or by ‘accident’.

I also feel guilty about feeling like this. I have never been the ‘jealous type’, so it makes it harder to deal with. It makes me question who I am. Infertility changes you as a person.

I am excited/happy for you but want I really want is; and what infertility denies me (besides the obvious) … is the ability and strength to be excited with you. There is a big difference.

*I would never expect anyone who hasn’t been through the grief and mental torture of infertility to understand what it feels like. In fact, even though it may help people like me cope better if more people did [understand]. Deep down I truly hope they never understand because I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy (well, sometimes I do wish it on child abusers & horrible people who would be/are bad parents etc. if I’m being completely honest).

So, there you have it. Jealousy. Envy. Guilt. …Anger (towards child abusers and sometimes the universe).

I know you are probably thinking, ‘why can’t you just be happy for them/me’. Well, I am [happy for them/you]. Trust me! If you don’t believe me, please read paragraph 3 again*.  I am happy that you get to experience the joy parenting brings. I am even more happy that you have been spared the same fate as me. That you never have to deal with or experience the heartbreak of mourning/grieving a child that has only ever existed in your hopes and dreams. That you never had to deal with the disappointment and feeling like you are a failure month after month. That you never have to deal with, needles, tests, surgeries, having your Dr be a part of your sex life and then having other people tell you to just have fun ‘in the bed room’ and ‘enjoy it’.

Disclaimer… Just to clarify, I do not/will not ever compare the grief experienced from not conceiving a child, to the grief of a parent losing a child through death. There is nothing worse than a parent losing a child that lived. I can’t even begin to imagine what that is like.

So many times, I have been made to feel silly and people respond to me like I’m exaggerating or it’s not that bad, when I open-up and talk about it (by the way, it takes immense strength and bravery to talk about it with anyone, even family and close friends).

I wish I were exaggerating about it.

Some comments I’ve received have implied that it’s my fault because I haven’t tried this or that therapy/treatment/considered adoption/some miracle Chinese treatment/standing on my head or simply if only I could ‘just relax’ or ‘stop trying’ and ‘it will happen when you least expect it’. Yep, you can say that again, because I least expected it to have taken this long. So, I guess in some ways it will happen when I least expect it, because I expected it to happen within one year of trying like normal people, and it didn’t. f5f5526c39c52c05ad05e56430764f6d

Then there’s the ‘well at least you’ comments. Such as; ‘at least you have lots of time to do things for yourself’, ‘at least you can control your emotions because you can’t when you’ve got pregnancy hormones’, ‘at least you can sleep at night because you don’t have a crying baby to breastfeed’, ‘at least you got lots of other things to be thank-full for’ etc.

Now I know that some of you may be reading this and thinking…

“oh god. I’ve said those things to her or to someone else going through in fertility.”

Well, I’m not going to lie to you… YES those comments are hurtful and always annoying. However, we [infertile people] don’t blame you because… read paragraph 3* again. We don’t blame you because you don’t know what else to say and most of the time you just want to help us somehow. Also, nearly everyone (except those who have been through it themselves) who knows about my infertility has said at least one of more of the above to me at some stage, so you are not alone in your well-meant comments. Even a Dr once told me to ‘just relax’ after a year of trying. Needless to say, he’s not my Dr any more. Which is a good thing because I ended up needing surgery and it might’ve not been diagnosed if I didn’t go to a different Dr for a second opinion!

Hence why I am writing this blog, to educate (not blame/shame) people. (Well, except for that useless Dr!)

The truth is…

If I had just ‘stopped trying’ and listened to the uneducated advice/opinions, I would’ve 100% had ZERO chance of ever getting pregnant because infertility is a diagnosed medical disease. Which, in almost ALL cases will need some form of medical treatment after 1 year (for women under 35) of unsuccessfully trying to conceive (6 months for women over 35).

The truth is…

Nope, I don’t have any control over my emotions and hormones, if I did this journey would be so much easier. I have learn’t some ways to help me get through but that is not the same as having control. In fact, many infertile women who are having treatment and drugs are dealing with hormone side effects too because they are having extra hormones pumped into them on top of their natural hormones. Even if they are not at the stage of having hormone treatment to help them conceive, they will still have to deal with the normal hormones around ovulation time and their monthly bleed. On top of dealing with hormones around their period, they will also be trying to hold it together and deal with the grief of another month without their dreams and hopes being fulfilled, despite all the hard work they put into it again that month.

The truth is…

Many nights I don’t sleep. Not because a hungry/unsettled baby is keeping me awake by 484601507-depressed-survivor-56a514bb5f9b58b7d0dac669crying. I don’t sleep at night because I am keeping myself awake crying because I don’t have a baby.

Disclaimer… I’m not saying that a crying baby who doesn’t sleep isn’t hard work, exhausting, frustrating, upsetting and probably worrying at times. I get it, it’s difficult and you have every right to seek advice or support. All I’m trying to say is, infertile people would give anything to be in your shoes, no matter how hard parenting can be at times. So, comments such as, ‘at least you aren’t sleep deprived’ are incredibly insensitive towards people going through infertility. Please don’t mistake my comments to imply that you are not grateful for your children, just because you open up about how difficult parenting is. If you weren’t grateful for your children, you would be one of those bad parents who probably neglect or abuse them. Seeking support/advice for ‘normal parenting struggles’ and more serious parenting struggles, is always a good (and brave) thing to do. You should never be made to feel anything less than a good parent for seeking help/support. Just perhaps be considerate of who you are talking to about it. If your infertile friend is the only or best person you’ve got to talk to, then explain that to them. Tell them you are finding things difficult and ask if you can talk about it with them, they will support you the best way they can. If they can’t, they may help you find someone who can support you.

And finally… I can’t believe I actually have to clarify this one, because it shocks me every time someone says ‘at least you have other things to be thankful for’

YES, yes I do have many things in my life which, I am more grateful for than you can possibly imagine. However, does that mean I should be denied the right to want to have a baby?? Does that mean, if I don’t end up having a family, that when I’m old and become a widow (because my partner is a few years older, so chances are I will) I should have just been grateful for everything else I had in my life and not regret growing old and lonely without any kids/grand-kids? Um … NO it does not.

Yes, I am grateful for every little thing in my life that is good. In fact, probably more than most people… because I truly understand how fragile life is. I understand how it is a complete miracle that any of us are here and how one day (without warning) anyone could face the possibility of never achieving their biggest dream in life or losing something close to their heart, through no fault of their own. Even though it was something they had always assumed would just happen in their future without any issues.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, you never expect that it will happen to you, until it does and you can’t imagine what it’s like until it happens [to you].

So, if you want to help and support a friend going through infertility because you care about that person/couple… All you need to do is:r0_0_360_427_w1200_h678_fmax

  • Listen to them, hug them, tell them you are sorry, tell them it sucks, tell them you are praying for them, that you hope one day they will be able to share the happy, nervous and exciting news that they too are ‘expecting’ a baby.
  • Please, unless you’ve been through infertility or you are a fertility specialist/expert, STOP with the advice.
  • STOP with the insensitive comments (no matter how well-meant they are).
  • Never tell them to ‘just relax’ EVER!!! This just makes them less relaxed and you are basically insinuating that their feelings aren’t valid and that it’s their fault they haven’t conceived yet. Just don’t say it. Trust me.
  • Be considerate when announcing your pregnancy. For example, tell them in private or one to one if you can. So they don’t have to put on a brave face in front of everyone for too long. Don’t get upset if they don’t jump for joy initially, because it doesn’t mean they aren’t happy for you, they are just incredibly sad for themselves. The best way to announce it to them is by (a kind) phone call or message, because they won’t have to try and hold back their tears in front of you. It will just be another reminder to them that everyone else, except them, is getting pregnant. They will make it up to you when they are ready and have processed your news. Just give them time and space.
  • PLEASE be MINDFUL of who you are talking to when complaining about normal side-affects/challenges with pregnancy and raising a child/baby. Because just as we will get better advice from a specialist or someone who has experienced infertility… You will also get better advice and support from other parents who are going through/been through your struggles. They understand it better than we do and they probably aren’t sitting there wishing to have even just one day in your shoes, whilst listening to you complain about it.
  • NEVER EVER try to purposely rub your pregnancy in their face by going on and on and on about how utterly, amazingly, excited and happy you are and showing off every, single, thing to do with being pregnant and constantly rubbing your bump with your hands in front of them non-stop (this drives us insane with envy). We do want to see you happy and excited because it’s much better than hearing you complain, but just please don’t overdo it on purpose, at least not in front of us. Also, remember that 1 in 4 of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. So, when you are obsessively rubbing your bump in public please consider, that it is quite possible, there is someone nearby who has lost a pregnancy. In private you can go to town on your bump, rub it, sing to it, paint it, eat your dinner on it, kiss it (if you can reach haha). It’s ok to show off a bit (hell, I certainly will when it’s my turn) just try to tone it down slightly in public. By the way, this is exactly why baby showers can be painful for some infertile women. Which leads me nicely onto the next point…
  • Don’t exclude them!! They are already feeling lonely and isolated, because they are probably one of the only/few childless couples in their circle of friends. Don’t treat them any differently by not inviting them to events such as baby showers/kid’s birthdays etc. Yes, they might make an excuse not to come, or they may be honest with you about how they feel, or they may just come and have a great time. However, if you assume it will be too difficult for them if you invite them… it will hurt their feelings and make them feel even more isolated. Just respect their choice whether they attend or not and don’t be offended if they decline, it’s nothing personal against you.

One last thing… You may or may not realize this but your infertile friend is most likely one of the toughest, strongest, most resilient and determined warrior you will ever meet. However, that doesn’t mean their heart isn’t breaking into a million pieces. They still need and want your love and support now more than ever and love can make miracles happen!peices-of-my-heart-21691428

Thanks for reading! Please share this and spread the word. If it makes one person feel less alone or stop one person from saying the wrong thing or prevent even just one sleepless night in tears. Then it is worth sharing, don’t you think?

Advertisements

19 thoughts on “The Green-eyed Monster

  1. Liz says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post! My hubby and I have been trying for almost 5 years with no BFP. I relate to everything you said! You are very brace for speaking out about infertility! I came out on social media in sept 16 and was the best decision I ever made! Prayers and baby dust to you💖💕💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah says:

    You are so incredibly brave to write this and although I don’t know you I am proud you have written it. I too have contemplated doing a blog as my partner and I have been trying to conceive for over two years and it’s been the hardest journey I have ever been through. We managed to conceive last year which resulted in an ectopic pregnancy and the hardest experience we had been through to date. I’ve cried so many tears and yet managed to remain strong when everyone around me is announcing their joyous news and then dumbfounded at why I am not jumping for joy for them. I have an amazing partner who has been my rock but because he has a child from a previous relationship we have been refused funding for any help through fertility specialists and that I am over weight is another factor that they consider that they will not find us. I remain strong with the support of family but I have found that I have lost friends through this all as they have been insensitive, unsupportive and plain ignorant.
    This blog is beautiful and I wish you and your partner luck in your future and hope you get what you truly desire

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sarah, I am so sorry you have been through infertility and loss. It really is a tough journey. I pray that we will all be blessed one day! Lots of love and luck to you and your partner. You are not alone in this. X

      Like

  3. Candice says:

    Thank you for sharing! Thank you for saying that which can be so hard for some to express. My husband and I have been trying for 3 years. We’ve been through 2 ectopic pregnancies and 1 miscarriage, and I can’t begin to count how many of these points I can relate to. I’m pregnant with #4 right now, only about 4 weeks in, so it’s still touch-and-go. The good news is it’s not an ectopic, but I am still very high risk and pretty much on bedrest when possible. It’s people like you, sharing your difficult story, that helps me remember I’m not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are certainly not alone Candice. I haven’t experienced miscarriage myself so I can’t even begin to imagine what this type of infertility is like or how someone going through all that would cope, you are a very strong lady to keep going! I wish you all the best of luck with this pregnancy and that you get to hold your little one in your arms at last. X

      Like

  4. C says:

    Cried reading this as I can totally relate to it…. although my problem is secondary infertility(unexplained!).
    Been ttc baby no. 2 for almost 9 years now (our daughter is 11) and just feel like I want to put it all behind me…(as I keep getting told ‘ what’s for you won’t go by you’. Heard it so many times over the years! ) but each month just devastated that yet another period has come.
    Don’t qualify for ivf as I have 1 child already and I’m overweight and have high bmi for any other treatment…I’m heavier than I was 11 years ago but I’m not entirely convinced my weight is the only issue. There are heavier people than me get pregnant. Just going around in circles trying to lose weight then losing hope each month is a struggle.
    Slowly managing to be more open about it but it’s so difficult trying to speak to people that don’t know what you are going through.
    Well done on the blog.
    I am definitely one of those green eyed monsters and not proud of the person I am just now x

    Like

    • Its just so hard and it can be difficult for people around us to understand, unless they’ve been through it themselves. Talking about my feelings has been a good thing for me in the end (although occasionally it has opened a door for people to ‘try to fix me’ by offering advice) most people around me now do try to be a bit more understanding. Often they just had no idea what the struggle is like until I try to explain it to them. Writing about it in a blog has been the best way for me to express what its like. Good luck to you for the future and please try to be proud of who you are because many wouldn’t have continued as long as you have. I don’t think I could… so you are a very strong person!

      Like

  5. Fyoung says:

    Thank you for this post, I cried the whole time. I can relate so much. My husband and I have been trying for over 2 and half years now, both in decent shape, and still in our 20s late 20s but still, and we will be getting checked soon, once I get everything settled in my new job. I love babies and being around them, we have 15 nieces and nephews total so tons to play with, and it’s like the baby bug has bite a lot of my friends which is hard for me. I was was told something the other day that crushed me, a friend who hasn’t seen me in a while and is younger than me came to my sisters (who has 5 kids byw) says, “hey girl when you gonna have one, your slacking haha.” All I can ever say now is “when God allows” but it hurts and my heart breaks a little everytime someone asked me that, and it happens so frequently now 😦
    I have two dogs whom I love so much and I love our little family, my husband, my dogs and me, but I have baby fever so bad. When I buy baby stuff for all these baby showers I feel excited yet sad all at once.

    Like

  6. Dana says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. It brought me to tears knowing that I am not alone. I feel that so many women who are struggling with infertility are shamed and forgotten about when they should be the most supported. I could relate to everything you wrote and you’re going to make a great momma some day! Thank you for being the voice we all need in this tough journey. ❤

    Like

    • Thank you Dana, I’m hoping that by talking openly about it, I will encourage others to do the same. So that more people going through it can get the support they really need from their friends and family. At one point I felt as though everyone around me who had a family, their life was moving and growing so fast, whilst mine just stood still with no purpose because I don’t have a family. However, even though its truly hard, I have decided not to let infertility ruin my life. So now I am just focusing on my career and being a support to others going through the struggle of infertility. So even though I haven’t given up hope on having a family, I have found another purpose because of my journey. It made me realise that we can have more than one purpose in life! You are not alone Dana, good luck to you!! Xx

      Like

  7. ATBT says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know and understand how difficult that would’ve been. I’m close to 40 and also get comments like “you don’t want children?” And “you can spend your free time travelling all the time” … the worst was when I had my friend at her baby shower rub her very pregnant belly on me saying “maybe this will rub off on you” … I wanted to punch her right then and there and I actually said “stop that I will hit you” which I was shocked at having felt and said this as I don’t want to be that person. Just goes to show how hard the struggle is which most of the time we do on our own. Our partners are supportive yes, but they never fully understand. I take comfort though that I’m not alone.

    Like

    • Some people just don’t realize how their words/actions can make others feel. Good on you for communicating to her that you didn’t like how insensitive she was being, that was a very brave thing to do!
      The crazy thing is, she was probably so self absorbed in her own moment of being pregnant that she genuinely thought that rubbing her bump on you may in-fact ‘rub off’ some of her luck onto you.
      I’ve even had someone say to me, that they wish they could give me their baby. I get that they are trying to be thoughtful and feel sorry for me. However, it just hurts me even more when I hear them say things which make me think they aren’t bothered about having their baby and wish they could ‘give it to me’. It’s not something to joke about or say lightheartedly out of pity for me. Makes me angry and upset every time. As much as it can be annoying when women purposely try to rub their pregnancy in my face, it’s far worse when they don’t even seem to be excited that they are expecting, especially when they didn’t make any effort to take precautions not to get pregnant and had told me in the past that they wanted to get pregnant. In fact, this actually makes me feel more sad for them, than I am for myself… because I will be so overjoyed when its my turn and its sad they don’t feel excited or feel the need to hide their excitement from me.
      Good luck to you, I hope the struggle will all be worth it in the end for all of us… oh boy will it be worth it!!! Xxx

      Like

  8. Carissa Kluczynski says:

    Thank you for these wonderful words. You have taken the words out of my mouth. My husband and I have been trying for the past 2 and a half years with no luck. I have been from doctor to doctor all saying the same thing.”if you lose the weight conceiving would be easier” while that is probably true I am also suffering from PCOS. Which has caused the weight gain. It hard to see my younger sister get pregnant by accident and me actively trying. While I was overjoyed about the news something inside me broke. I really appreciated reading your post and it has lightened my spirits. Good luck to you!!! All of it will be worth it in the end.

    Like

  9. Kristine says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this I’ve been trying for 11 years now and have heard it all and then some time after time I’ve tried medicines I’ve tried teas it’s a very hard long journey and reading this made me feel not so alone.

    Like

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Hi I have actually teared up while reading this because it’s very fresh in my life. We have been married for almost 2yrs now and late last year is when we discovered my infertility issues. so far have only told very few selected family members. It’s really overwhelming for me and until now that’s when I understand that all I feel is okay because of what am going through. I have distant myself with so many people because I don’t have the courage to explain everytime why we don’t have a baby. Every time that question is asked it pierces my heart and I just smile and say in God’s time but inside my heart is breaking into pieces and just wish I could yell at the person and ask them if they think it’s my wish to not to be a mother at this point of my life. it’s even difficult when you are from an African community people here don’t talk about such things people believe after the first year of marriage you should be a parent. So when it doesn’t happen they start talking and others just ask you why you are not having children and you are not getting any younger. I keep it quiet because I have seen in the past how other family members talk about issues and come up even with theories of how they happened and don’t really know or care to know the truth and how they can help. I am just encouraged to read this because it’s very honest and brave for you to share this. Thank you

    Like

  11. Marcia says:

    I spent 11 yrs trying to get pregnant I can relate to every emotion you wrote about. I would see pregnant women and in my thoughts curse them for having young child bearing uterus. I would paste smiles on my face at every baby announcement and literally feel chest pain when the best wishes post cards get passed around the office for me to sign everytime a coworker goes on mat leave. I spent a year at the fertility clinic, endured painful harmone shots to no avail. Every month I cried when af showed up. The drs saw no reason for my infertility yet here I was childless. Then this January 1 2017 I decided I have had enough. I told my friends and family that I was done trying so they didnt have to struggle to come up with the right things to say at my failure. I said an acceptance prayer to God stating that I will accept whatever plans he has for my life and if it meant I would never be a mother then so be it. I made a will and left all my worldly possessions to my nephew. I started saving for a trip and finally got started on some home renovations. Im 44 yrs old and now 9wks pregnant. Im not saying that relaxing and not trying works for anyone. Im saying when I finally stopped trying was when I got pregnant. I pray baby dust to you that you may find the strength to shift your focus to just living and I pray in doing so you will be blessed with a precious bundle.

    Like

    • Thank you Marcia. Yes I totally agree with you that it is not healthy to neglect living life to the fullest, baby or no baby. Stress is definitely a minor factor in infertility (and many other health issues for that matter) and we all know that infertility can cause distress to many people who experience it. I personally don’t believe there is such a thing as ‘no reason for infertility’. Just because a specialist might diagnose a couple with ‘unexplained infertility’, does not mean there isn’t a reason… It’s just that the Dr’s can’t find a reason based on the usual tests. Often unexplained infertility is actually caused by a few minor factors such as; diet, general health, mental health, stress, unknown allergies, lifestyle choices etc. So yes in the case of ‘unexplained infertility’, occasionally a ‘miracle’ can happen when someone lets go and ‘relaxes’ or changes their lifestyle etc. In my case however, I have got damaged and blocked tubes, which I have already had surgery on once and they are now blocked again and could burst at any moment. So I have to have my tubes removed, which will mean that no matter how much ‘relaxing’ I do… I am still going to have to do IVF to even have a chance of getting pregnant, because I have been told by a specialist (two in fact, because I got a second opinion) that it is nearly impossible for me to get pregnant naturally. Which is why, when someone hands out the “just relax and it will happen” advice, it can be hurtful to some people going through infertility… Especially if they cannot get pregnant naturally for proven medical reasons. I have had many down days on my infertility journey, and I wrote this blog based on some of my worse moments, in the hope of making others going through the same thing, feel less alone than I did. I am in a much better place now, I am happy to say, even though I do still have ‘sad’ days occasionally (which is OK and completely normal). I am so glad that you were blessed with a pregnancy after such a long and hard journey. I wish you all the best for a good pregnancy and birth, so that you can finally hold your long-awaited precious bundle of joy! Thank you for praying for me, it means a lot and helps keep me (and others who may be reading this) strong and hopeful for whatever the future may bring.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s