Welcome to Real Talk Tuesday where I offer my unsolicited, uncensored and probably unnecessary opinion on random topics as I supplement my post with gifs.
I don’t know about you, but I regularly have to remind myself that people are all fighting battles we know nothing about. I love to jump to conclusions and overreact, and those particular qualities often leave me cruising down Guilt Highway with my conscience ripping me a new asshole about how I shouldn’t do such things because I don’t actually know everything about everyone like I pretend I do.
My Saturday evening started with me fighting with a family member after a rude post on Facebook and it ended with me vomiting all over Instagram about our struggle to conceive literal minutes before National Infertility Awareness Week ended. What a night.
Obviously the former is way more juicy, but unfortunately, it’s the internet and nothing is private. So, sadly, I can’t elaborate because there is a giant photo of me at the top right of this blog and thus it’s unlikely that I can deny writing it should anyone in my family happen upon me being a total dick about it. 😂
However, I can elaborate my ass off about the latter subject, everyone’s favorite conversational dead-end: infertility.
Just kidding. It’s not everyone’s favorite. In fact, it almost never comes up organically, and even if it does, it’s not a very widely-discussed topic, and is actually, most unfortunately, a rather taboo subject.
I’m not sure why this is. I mean I personally didn’t like to talk about it, but not in an “open wound” sort of way. More like, I didn’t want to lure anyone into a conversation where it’s very hard to know what to say and ends with that person feeling awkward and me volunteering to be their emotional support animal by lying and saying “it’s fine.”
I suppose it could also be because it’s essentially admitting that you have sex with your spouse. I feel like sex is more taboo than anything, and infertility is probably just lumped in with the rest of the topics associated with “doing the nasty.”
Either way, it’s a darn shame, because it’s very easy to feel like you and your broken body are alone on this journey. You have your husband, (you know, the one you have sex with 😯) but for whatever reason, the men in the equation never seem to worry as much, and are happy to adopt the “it will happen when it happens” line that us ovulators loathe. It feels (through no fault of the spouse) much more like the woman’s burden to carry, after all, isn’t this supposedly what our bodies are made to do?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy & blessed to have my husband who was never anywhere near as negative as I can be. I just mean to shed light on the fact that if there had been more light on infertility in the first place, I think many of us would’ve felt not only more relatable, but also been at least somewhat spared the epic sense of failure we’d feel every month when our ovulation or pregnancy tests came up saying “F U” instead of +. Especially while we watch teenagers accomplish with ease by accident something we cannot manage to do on purpose.
This post is starting to sound like gibberish to me, (blame the quarantini, as I’m writing this at 9PM on Monday) so to quickly wrap it up, just a few bullet points that I wish I and others were aware of when I was struggling.
Key: Trying to Conceive | Everyone Else
01. You’re not alone. This is such a common problem. It certainly doesn’t seem that way with an unwavering world population of 7+ bil, but in reality, 1 in 8 suffer from infertility, and 1 in 4 pregnancy loss. If you need support in any way, or even just someone to listen, you can of course drop me a line anytime. If that’s not your style, there are a also lot of resources online as well. Believe it or not, Reddit.com has a couple great forums for just such purposes. One is called Trying for a Baby, if you’re looking for other women trudging through the same waters. Another I love is Trolling for a Baby, as it’s more my flavor of coping with attempted humor, for when you just need a break from the serious side of things. A break in the form of incredibly fitting memes and gifs. Highly recommend. I spent a lot of time there following negative tests. I still check in from time to time because whether you end up with children or not, you’ll always remember and be able to relate to struggle.
02. No one needs a reminder to have children. Seriously. It’s not like forgetting to turn off the oven or neglecting to eat lunch. No one needs a hint that the clock is ticking or to be asked when they plan to start breeding. I understand the desire. Hell, I even have to stop myself from probing and I rode this struggle bus for over two years. I know the intent is not malicious, and that it’s just a natural thing to wonder, and even a go-to topic to make conversation. And it’s fine to wonder. And I 100% understand not considering it a sensitive subject, because I didn’t used to until I was walking that road. But if you can, avoid asking childless couples when they plan to have them. Or couples with children when they plan to have more. First of all, they may not even want them in the first place, in which case that question is probably awkward and may feel especially invasive. Second, if they are having trouble, what feels like an innocent question to you feels like a disappointed demand to us, and it inadvertently lays on even more pressure than the tons we already combat from within.
My advice would be to instead of asking when, ask if, as it carries a lot less pressure, and expectation.
03. It Gets Better. No matter how it ends up. It does. I had my fair share of meltdowns and little spells of feeling depressed about it. Holidays sucked and I walked through my late twenties viewing any and everything in terms of nine months. If someone mentioned a date, my knee-jerk inner thought was “… and I still won’t have a baby yet.” (If it sounds like self-pity, it’s because it was.) But when we finally did conceive? It was on a much-needed whim trip out to Wisconsin just to get the F away from a stressful 2018. I mean, yeah, I took 500mg of Clomid in the days leading up to it, but I went into it with, what I’d consider, a relatively healthy “if it’s meant to be it will be, and if it’s not, I will still have a good life” attitude. I’d finally made peace with the fact that life is not mine to control, and kind of left it up to God. And lo and behold, that was the exact weekend our long sought-after little cheesehead came to be.
I’m not sitting here promising that if you just wish real hard it will happen. Nor if you just put it out of your mind it will happen. Stress is a factor, but it’s impossible to avoid it, because the infertility struggle is all-consuming. Your world revolves around it because it is one of the ultimate “ticking crocodiles.” Eventually women, regardless of what we do to combat time, simply run out of eggs, and so many of us feel incredibly rushed & desperate when it’s looking a lot harder than any of us imagined it would be. (For real, there was a time when I wasted money on condoms. Before I knew I was birth control.)
Sadly, it does not happen for everyone, and while I know I would have been absolutely crushed, I also know that not having children would not have defined me as a person, and I wouldn’t forever need it to validate my existence. Society puts a lot of pressure on us, intentionally or un- but it’s okay to give society the finger and know that you’re amazing and you have a purpose and a life worth pursuing whether you procreate or not. 💛
I’m still rooting for you though. 🌈