Monday, 21 January 2008

Things we wish our family/friends knew about infertility …

Read this document from RESOLVE and share it with others. Please keep in mind that this medical condition affects 1 in every 6 couples.Things we wish our family/friends knew about infertility …
  1. That it is probably the most devastating thing that we will ever experience.
  2. That it deeply affects our self-esteem.
  3. That it affects our relationships with everyone that we know.
  4. That it interferes with our day to day functioning.
  5. That the medications make us moody and emotional and cause us to gain weight.
  6. That it makes us feel violated.
  7. That it is very expensive to go through treatment and to adopt.
  8. That it is emotionally draining.
  9. That it changes our lives forever - We will never again be the same people that we once were.
  10. That people experiencing infertility have depression rates that are equal to those experiencing cancer.
  11. That it is a life-altering experience.
  12. That it makes us question everything we ever believed in.
  13. These are medical issues, not lifestyle issues. Talk to us as you would someone who has heart disease, diabetes, or any other medical condition. Be a sounding board for the tests, results, side effects, etc of the treatments. NEVER suggest relaxing or having sex more often, or adopting (ie: if you adopt, you will become pregnant).
  14. Realize that a pregnancy that results from infertility is not the same as others. Infertile couples may have a hard time easing up and enjoying their pregnancy. After being used to receiving disappointment, pregnancy is not yet the end of the road.
  15. Even though your intentions are good, you will probably say something that is offensive to us because this is such a sensitive subject.
  16. No matter how close the friendship, it will be hard to completely connect with fertile friends.
  17. There is always something there that others cannot understand, even when you do try so hard to empathize.
  18. Infertility affects all aspects of your life and the pain is inescapable. You are confronted with it at work, at the mall, walking down your street, on television, with family and friends when they don’t even know it. Kids are life’s common denominator. When you can’t participate in these conversations (and they are everywhere) you just don’t fit in anywhere.
  19. Baby showers are one of the most painful events that we can be asked to attend.
  20. In this day and age people need to be more cognitive that some people may want kids and are having trouble and some people may not want children for certain reasons. It is not up to family/friends to provide a running commentary on the issue. You never know the situation of the person you are talking to (some people are not open about their infertility treatments) so it’s better to err on the side of caution and not make a lot of pregnancy comments/questions.
  21. To remember that if I am acting mad at times, I am not mad at you, I am mad at my life.
  22. That I will talk about things that are happening with my treatment when I am ready and your probing and questions do not make me any readier to discuss “what I am going to do next.”
  23. It’s hard to know what I will be doing next. If there were a script, it would be easier to predict the future, but everyone is different.
  24. That unless you have done what I’ve done and been through what I have been through, you can’t possibly know how I feel and can’t possibly know what to tell me to do about the pain and frustration that infertility brings.
  25. That I will be okay again, but I don’t know when. So when I seem okay, just accept that as a good thing for the moment, and don’t press me, because I don’t know how long the feeling okay again thing will last.
  26. Going through infertility is like being on a roller coaster. There are constant ups and downs and surprising drops We never know what is around the next curve and work very hard to just stay fastened in our seats.
  27. Infertility is a journey that will take us to many places we never thought of or knew about and it will shape us into new people (some of our newness will be good and some will not be) and change how we look at and deal with everything in our lives. Once you’ve been on this journey you are never the same again.
  28. The thing that I wish people knew is that the sadness that accompanies infertility sometimes comes unexpectedly and at the most awkward moments. I wish I could plan my depression! But unfortunately, it just doesn’t work out like that. Of course, these moments come when I’m surrounded by other people– watching TV with a group and you see a commercial with a couple holding a baby– totally unrelated to parenting, pregnancy or whatever, but it’s just the image that is devastating. Or driving in a car and a song comes on the radio that talks about babies, parents: “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, “She’s Having My Baby”.
  29. For me (as I’m sure it is for a lot of people experiencing infertility) the greatest fear is that I will never have a child. Each failed treatment cycle, especially as your treatment gets more high-tech, makes this fear even larger. If we could just somehow know that we would have a child, a lot of the stress would be alleviated.
  30. I wish family and friends could understand why holidays, baby showers, and just hearing about or being around other people’s children and pregnant woman, can be so hard sometimes.
  31. That medical treatments are very painful, emotionally and physically That infertility is a degrading experience. We often feel like failures, like our bodies our not our own, like everyone in the world has touched us, and most especially that the most private part of our lives (our physical relationship with our spouse) has been completely invaded.
  32. That infertility treatment is very clinical and definitely is not “fun.” That treatment cycles move very slowly, so try to be patient. We are at the mercy of the medical world.
  33. That grief is a VERY important part of the healing process for us. Please let us be sad when we need to be. We have to mourn our losses.