This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. I feel like the word “Infertility” is a word every woman dreads to hear. It’s almost like the word “cancer” to any women trying to conceive. Unfortunately, it’s something that affects so many couples around the world. The Chicago Tribune posted the statistic that, “Infertility is a national issue that affects one in eight couples, regardless of age or race.” It’s an epedimic that so many couples struggle with, but don’t feel the need to be vocal about. For many couples it makes us feel inadequate and announcing a struggle like that could be admitting failure. I know I had a difficult time telling people, but the outreach of support and prayers has been completely worth it. And the more open I was about our difficulties, the more I realized that we are not alone in this journey. Couples all across the world are struggling with the same or similar issues and we can all be a light to each other in what seems like some of the darkest times.
Going through any fertility issue can be devastating to a relationship emotionally, physically and financially. For Gannon and I the first few months of being diagnosed we just went into fix it mode. To us there was no mountain too big to climb. We couldn’t put a price on having Children and we are willing to do whatever we had to do. But the decision process was not easy. We relied on the word of mouth of many couples who had actually gone through a similar process. Hearing their stories and seeing their precious children helped us realize that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. It seems like Infertility is the unspoken disease that quietly affects so many couples around the world. The sad part with Infertility is that so many women who struggle with it keep quiet about it. You could be sitting next to a lady at a restaurant and she could be going through some of the darkest times of her life struggling with trying to conceeive and you would never know. It’s hard for us to admit we have a problem and to announce our “failures” to the public. Because of that so many women are uneducated on what the next steps are in any fertility journey. Without us opening up we would of never had the support of other couples who had gone through the same issues. They were there to help guide us and answer any questions we had. We wouldn’t be where we are without the encouragement, prayers or support from each and everyone of you. And my goal in sharing our story is to be totally transparent with our whole journey to becoming parents. To share the good, the bad and the ugly. With that said I want to talk about some things i’ve learned.
1. Infertility doesn’t just affect the woman, it affects the whole family. So many times i’ve thought that “I’m” the problem and i’m the one going through this, but that isn’t true. It affects your spouse just as much as it affects you. For Gannon, I know he struggles with not being able to “fix” the problem. He wants to be able to make everything better for me and do whatever he can to fix it. But he can’t! And being the close knit family that we are we’ve come to realize that it affects them too. My mom has said so many times I wish we could of found out sooner or done something different.
2. It can begin to take a toll on your marriage. In the beginning we were running 100 miles an hour doing whatever we had to do it fix the problem as quickly as possible. But with most “fertility treatments” it’s a long process. There isn’t a quick fix to the situation and the more time goes on, the more impatient we begin to get about becoming pregnant. Sex becomes scheduled, the word Uterus or Ovaries is a normal dinner topic and your relationship gets pushed back on the priority list. Which is ironic considering it should be on the top of the list when you are trying to conceive.
3. The financial burden begins to take a toll on the marriage. For us it seems like we are having to put off so many things especially on our house renovations while we wait for the anticipation of finding out if we have to do IVF or not. So many conversations center around the unknown of the future. And to make matters worse Fertility treatments are not covered by insurance companies in Oklahoma.
4. It’s ok if you don’t know what to say to a friend struggling with infertility. Through our process of getting pregnant i’ve had so many people come up to me and tell me “their opinions” of what we should be doing. And it’s great to hear different stories and other people’s opinions, but sometimes that can become overwhelming. If you don’t know what to say just hug me and say we are praying for you! Those words mean so much more than you realize.
5. The most important thing i’ve realized during this process has been that WE ARE NOT ALONE! We have so many people on the sidelines cheering us on and constantly praying for us. At any moment when I feel weak I have so many loving people who could jump in and help us get through whatever we need. Also since I’ve opened up I’ve come to realize how many couples actually struggle with it. It seems like on Facebook that people post everyday that they are expecting, but no one ever post stories about how they are having a hard time getting pregnant. So we just assume those couples that have been married for so many years just aren’t ready to become pregnant. But a lot of time’s that isn’t true…they are going through their own journey to parenthood. If we could be more open, especially to other women, then we can help each other through these very hard times.
Ok I will get off my rant and give you a little update on our next steps! I scheduled my HSG for April 29 at 1:00. This test will tell us if my uterus was repaired correctly from my surgery and see if my tubes are open. I have such peace that no matter what the results are God is in control and has a plan. But I am extremely excited to finally find out if we have to do IVF or if we get to try naturally for a few months. If our prayer warriors could just be praying for us next week that we can continue to keep our faith and trust in God and that no matter what the results we can stay united with the news.
Psalm 56:3 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”