#infertility is too common & there are too many people struggling silently. RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association has given#NIAW2019 the theme of #infertilityuncovered and i'm excited to share as much as i can in effort to uncover infertility for you.
Why Your Friend DOESN’T Talk About Their Infertility Journey
The more I share about my infertility journey, the more I have people tell me that they don't know anyone personally who struggles with infertility. Or they say something like, “I wish my friend would have told me more about their journey, then I could have been more helpful.”
After being on the friend of the infertile side, I understand wanting to know more because being in the dark makes being helpful difficult-- I mean, what do you even do? How can you help if you don't even know something is wrong? And honestly, if you do know that your friend is infertile it makes it awfully hard to know how to help when you have so many questions about what is happening, when it is happening & not to mention the nerves of it all.
And now being on the infertile side of things, my eyes have been opened to the reasoning behind the lack of information provided by my infertile friends. While these reasons I'm sharing aren't every reason your infertile friend doesn't talk about their journey, they very well could be some of the reason your friend doesn't talk about their journey with you.
Reason #1: It is difficult to talk about -- the more you talk about it with people, the more they want to know & the more real it becomes.
At the beginning of our journey, I wasn't ready to face the reality of what was going on in our life. I didn't want it to be real and I most certainly didn't want to talk about it. I was barely keeping it together as it was, talking about our situation frequently pushed me past my breaking point. So I would find any way to change the subject, leave the room or get out of the situation.
Reason #2: There are a lot of questions and sometimes there aren't many answers.
An infertility journey is full of tests, waiting, procedures, more tests, more procedures and more waiting. In between all of those tests, procedures and waiting there aren't many answers. Or the in between is full of personal things like cycle days (yes, menstrual cycle days), semen analyses (yep. sperm tests, ya'll), sexual intercourse (coolcoolcool let's talk about sex because that isn't weird or awkward). When people ask questions out of curiosity, the questions can become very personal very fast. Being vague becomes difficult and I don't know about you, but I'd rather not talk about my cycle day or when the deed was done with some random person from church or my cousin's sister. Thanks but no thanks.
And let me tell you that I know from experience that, “we aren't sure when the next steps will be,” isn't an adequate answer for the curious.
Reason #3: The success stories can actually be difficult to listen to.
I understand that success stories come from a place of offering hope. I've been the person to offer hope in such a way. But I have also been on the receiving end of success story hope & it can be SOOOOO incredibly difficult to listen to because the very first thing that goes through my mind during these stories is, “cool, but I'm not them.” Every person’s body is different. Every journey is different. Not every person who adopts has biological children soon after. Not every adoption ends in a happy story. Not every IVF journey ends with a baby. I know this is depressing, but it is reality. In an infertility journey hope is a felt cautiously. After experiencing depleted hope month after month, hope wanes and hearing the success of others may not have the desired effect-- even though the stories are shared out of love.
Reason #4: The lack of knowledge about infertility + treatments + adoption + foster care can be very frustrating (especially when those options are just thrown around as “fix it” statements)
There are so many costs, emotions, and experiences that aren't thought about when fix it statements are offered. (P.S. fix it statements are things like: “just adopt!” “there are lots of kids in the foster care system that need good homes” “do IVF-- that's what my sister did & she got pregnant!” “just relax & you'll get pregnant” “you look healthy, keep trying, you're not actually infertile”) I'm not going to go into the nitty gritty details of the every single fix it statements provided (if you're curious as to why you shouldn't say those things, leave a comment & I'll let you know! Or check out this post for how to help a friend going through infertility!) but i'll tell you this:
Infertility is a medical diagnosis. It is expensive. It's emotional. Treatment plans should be made with great thought.
Adoption is expensive. It is emotional. The decision to adopt should not be taken lightly.
Foster care is highly emotional. The decision to foster should be made very deliberately.
Before you offer those types of suggestions, may I suggest doing research on them first.
Reason #5: It is very personal. Allow your infertile friend to share their journey in the ways they would like to. If they don’t offer the information, don’t pry to find out more.
Like I said in Reason #2, infertility is such a personal thing to go to.
If your friend doesn't offer up information right away, know that it's not you. They are going through a lot. They may not have the answers either. Give them a little grace, show them some extra kindness & know that when they are ready, they will share.