insight. part two.

Or as I like to call it: Grieving my Loss and How Not to Be an Asshat to an Infertile Girl.

In my searches to find women who share the same issues as me, I realized something else I never quite understood about my infertility. Along with the shame, there is grief. You can liken infertility to the feeling of losing a near and dear one. The thing is an infertile woman is grieving the loss of her ability to carry a baby. While this feeling may heal over time, the feeling of grief may get opened up. Month after month after month. For years on end. It’s like experiencing the loss of a loved one. But over and over again.

I wondered how that was, how that worked? For awhile I wasn’t even buying it, that’s not grief I feel. I never had a baby in my uterus, how can I grieve it? But I can. I have been. But I didn’t know it. And the thing is? That grief is brutal. And it is real. I am not great at explaining my feelings, but this is the best way I know how to explain how it feels to be infertile. On top of the shame and fear, there is grief. Sometimes enormous grief. Hopefully it makes sense.

The bottom line is that I grieve my infertility now. Sometimes it’s really tough, sometimes it’s a non-issue. It honestly depends on the day, just like any other kind of grief. The important thing is that I have finally given myself permission and room to say “it’s okay to grieve this, to be sad about this.” I tell myself this on a regular basis: own it robinson, you aren’t weak because you grieve, you aren’t less because you’re infertile.

Moving on to my last point: How Not to Be an Asshat to an Infertile Girl.

The insensitivity of others can be staggering sometimes. When people who knew that Edder and I were trying to have a baby but not getting pregnant would say things to us like: “are you sure you’re having sex right; maybe you shouldn’t work out, do yoga and run so much; maybe you should adopt, then you’ll get pregnant; you can just be the fun aunt and uncle (oh no you diiiin’t); you can always just adopt (because it’s just that simple…blink blink); maybe you should eat better; maybe you should _____ insert anything or any advice here” it makes us want to punch that person in the face. And HARD.

Do not make me pull out that ultrasound of my lady bits and explain to you exactly why we can’t have a baby…. because I will do it. Then I will punch you in the face. HARD.

I realize maybe sometimes people just want to be lighthearted about the situation, I get that. I try and understand that some people may not know what to say, or are dim, or think they’re really funny (let’s just be clear right now, you are not that funny), or just don’t get it/can’t put themselves in my shoes. But…. for the sake of all of us “infertiles” out there… regardless of how sensitive or insensitive you are regarding this topic, know this.

Think before you offer us your sperm (or advice).  Because, gross. And just, no.

In closing, you don’t have to tip-toe your life/pregnancy around an infertile woman/couple–in fact I hate it when people do that to me, I am not a leper (usually)–just be kind. Be thoughtful. Be empathic. BE A REAL FRIEND. Just give me a damn hug and hand me some Starbucks.

But, here’s the biggest thing: DO NOT, under any circumstances, offer your advice or opinion unless asked. That is what my Reproductive Endocrinologist is for. Simple, right? RIGHT.

If you want to know more about not being an asshat to an “infertile” there is a fantastic article here:  http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/for-family–friends/infertility-etiquette.html

p.s. i plan to continue writing about ‘insight’ into being infertile, it’s therapeutic for me, but i think it also offers a glimpse inside what it’s like for someone going through it.

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8 thoughts on “insight. part two.

  1. It sucks when people say crappy things about sensitive subjects. Sorry. 😦

    I’m not sure if you interested in reading others stories on this same topic. If so, my friend, Anne, struggled for 5 years with the same thing. I think her writing is similar to yours. Anyway, she now has a 17 week old born via IVF. If you want to check out her blog here’s the link: http://anneimagination.blogspot.com/

  2. Although I don’t know your whole story, I can sympathize. My husband and I are starting IUI next month after trying with no success. We’re trying twice then IVF…I don’t know our chances or exactly why we aren’t able to conceive. Not being able to get pregnant is like grieving a death every. single. month…the tears, the shame, the sadness, the hopelessness, the “why mes”, the utter hole in your heart. Is it just me feeling extremely sensitive or is there an abundance of pregnant women surrounding me lately?? I even feel ashamed for feeling jealous and spiteful towards these glowing women who I don’t even know. I am disgusted and hate myself for it and it’s not their fault. I know this but the sadness creates a little monster some days.

    As for your “how not to be an asshat”….I may have to print this out and hand it to people. I have some beloved friends who are well-meaning but as the comments build, so does my irritation at their insensitivity. My favorite is: “are you guys doing it right? You know you have to have sex to make a baby.” ha ha. yeah, not funny. or “hurry up and make a baby so I can play and babysit!”

    Sigh..stab me in the heart just a little more please while making me feel even less of a person than I already do. I still hold onto hope that one day I might be able to feel complete and wonder if this is just a temporary bump in the road or if we (at this point it could be either of us) are permanently infertile…I guess I need to reach deep and be patient.

    Hugs to you and you are not alone.

    • no, i totally feel the same way. i have a lot of pregnant friends right now. and seem to see pregnant women everywhere. just be kind to yourself, give yourself room to grieve. i know that if i let myself feel sad and grieve it is so much easier to deal with all the other pregnancies around me. but it’s taken some time for me to get there. i would love to say it gets easier, i think it just takes working hard at it :/

      good luck to you with IUI, that is so exciting and i am pulling for you that it will work! and i’m so sorry for others insensitivity, it is like being stabbed in the heart. i hope for their sake they can learn to be a bit more understanding and gentle. also for your sake. 🙂 keep me posted on your IUI!

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