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|09-14-2009, 06:51 AM||#1|
What We Wish You Knew About Infertility
I was reading the post about what women who have experienced miscarriages and wanted to share about infertility. It seems like everyone feels it is always easily corrected or that you are doing something wrong.
Here are the statistics:
Number of women ages 15-44 with impaired fecundity (impaired ability to have children): 7.3 million
Percent of women ages 15-44 with impaired fecundity: 11.8%
Number of married women ages 15-44 that are infertile (unable to get pregnant for at least 12 consecutive months): 2.1 million
Percent of married women ages 15-44 that are infertile: 7.4%
Number of women ages 15-44 who have ever used infertility services: 7.3 million
Number of couples eventually successful with fertility treatments: Estimated at between 10% and 20%
I want to share my feelings about infertility
with you, because I want you to understand
my struggle. I know that understanding
infertility is difficult; there are times when it
seems even I donít understand. This struggle
has provoked intense and unfamiliar feelings
in me and I fear that my reactions to these
feelings might be misunderstood. I hope my
ability to cope and your ability to understand
will improve as I share my feelings with you.
I want you to understand.
You may describe me this way: obsessed,
moody, helpless, depressed, envious, too
serious, obnoxious, aggressive, antagonistic,
and cynical. These aren't very admirable
traits; no wonder your understanding of my
infertility is difficult. I prefer to describe me
this way: confused, rushed and impatient,
afraid, isolated and alone, guilty and
ashamed, angry, sad and hopeless, and
My Infertility makes me feel confused. I
always assumed I was fertile. Iíve spent years
avoiding pregnancy and now it seems ironic
that I canít conceive. I hope this will be a
brief difficulty with a simple solution such as
poor timing. I feel confused about whether I
want to be pregnant or whether I want to be
a parent. Surely if I try harder, try longer, try
better and smarter, I will have a baby.
My infertility makes me feel rushed and
impatient. I learned of my infertility only
after Iíd been trying to become pregnant for
some time. My life-plan suddenly is behind
schedule. I waited to become a parent and
now I must wait again.
I wait for medical appointments, wait for
tests, wait for treatments, wait for other
treatments, wait for my period not to
come, wait for my partner not to be out of
town and wait for pregnancy. At best, I
have only twelve opportunities each year.
How old will I be when I finish having my
My infertility makes me feel afraid.
Infertility is full of unknowns, and Iím
frightened because I need some definite
answers. How long will this last? What if
Iím never a parent? What humiliation must
I endure? What pain must I suffer? Why do
drugs I take to help me, make me feel
worse? Why canít my body do the things
that my mind wants it to do? Why do I
hurt so much? Iím afraid of my feelings,
afraid of my undependable body and afraid
of my future.
My infertility makes me feel isolated and
alone. Reminders of babies are
everywhere. I must be the only one
enduring this invisible curse. I stay away
from others, because everything makes me
hurt. No one knows how horrible my pain
is. Even though Iím usually a clear thinker,
I find myself being lured by superstitions
and promises, I think Iím losing
perspective. I fell so alone and I wonder if
Iíll survive this.
My infertility makes me feel guilty and
ashamed. Frequently I forget that infertility
is a medical problem and should be treated
as one. Infertility destroys my self esteem
and I feel like a failure.
Why am I being punished? What did I do
to deserve this? Am I not worthy of a baby?
Am I not a good sexual partner? Will my
partner want to remain with me? Is this the
end of my family lineage? Will my family
be ashamed of me? It is easy to lose selfconfidence
and feel ashamed.
My infertility makes me feel angry.
Everything makes me angry, and I know
much of my anger is misdirected. Iím angry
at my body because it has betrayed me even
thought Iíve always taken care of it. Iím
angry at my partner because we canít seem
to feel the same about infertility at the same
time. I want and need an advocate to help
Iím angry at my family because theyíve
always sheltered and protected me from
terrible pain. My younger sibling is
pregnant; my mother wants a family
reunion to show off her grandchildren and
my grandparents want to pass down family
heirlooms. Iím angry at my medical
caregivers, because it seems that they control
my future. They humiliate me, inflict pain
on me, pry into my privacy, patronize me,
and sometimes forget who I am. How can I
impress on them how important parenting is
Iím angry at my expenses; infertility
treatment is extremely expensive. My
financial resources may determine my family
size. My insurance company isnít
cooperative , and I must make so many
sacrifices to pay the medical bills. I canít go
to a specialist, because it means more travel
time, more missed work, and greater
expenses. Finally, Iím angry at everyone
else. Everyone has opinions about my
inability to become a parent. Everyone has
easy solutions. Everyone seems to know
too little and say too much.
My Infertility makes me feel sad and
hopeless. Infertility feels like Iíve lost my
future, and no one knows of my sadness. I
feel hopeless; infertility robs me of my
energy. Iíve never cried so much nor so
easily. Iím sad that my infertility places my
marriage under so much strain. Iím sad
that my infertility requires me to be so selfcentered.
Iím sad that I've ignored any
friendships because this struggle hurts so
much and demands so much energy.
Friends with children prefer the company
of other families with children. Iím
surrounded by babies, pregnant women,
playgrounds, baby showers, birth stories,
kidsí movies, birthday parties and much
more. I feel so sad and hopeless.
My infertility makes me feel unsettled. My
life is on hold. Making decisions about my
immediate and my long-term future seems
impossible. I canít decide about education,
career, purchasing a home, pursuing a
hobby, getting a pet, vacations, business
trips and houseguests. The more I struggle
with my infertility, the less control I have.
This struggle has no timetable; the
treatments have no guarantees. The only
sure things are that I need to be near my
partner at fertile times and near my doctor
at treatment times. Should I pursue
adoption? Should I take expensive drugs?
Should I pursue more specialized and costly
medical intervention? It feels unsettling to
have no clear, easy answers or guarantees.
Occasionally I feel my panic subside. Iím
learning some helpful ways to cope; Iím
now convinced Iím not crazy, and I believe
Iíll survive. Iím learning to listen to my
body and be assertive, not aggressive, about
my needs. Iím realizing that good medical
care and good emotional care are not
necessarily found in the same place. Iím
trying to be more than an infertile person
gaining enthusiasm, joyfulness, and zest for life.
And PS: I wish that I was able to adequately explain that just because I have a child or children already, doesn't make the desire for more children go away, just like the desire for more children doesn't go away from someone who does not struggle with infertility. Secondary infertility adds in all these feelings, plus the feelings of the child you do have asking for a sibling and worrying about them being socially "normal" as an only child. You also worry that God is keeping you from having more children because you aren't a good mom to the one you have. That's the one that will rip your heart in two and runs through primary infertility and secondary infertility, the thought that you can't get pregnant because God doesn't want you to have a baby. That goes to your very core.
Erin , mama to Caleb 2/7/06 . Praying for more, and confident God will provide!