21 Words…

I am often asked what infertility feels like.  It is clearly a hard thing to explain, especially to those who have never had to go through it.  I had some time to reflect on how infertility feels or how it has made me feel in the past 2 years.  I came up with 21 words that have described my journey.  I’m sure as the days press on, I could come up with many more.  However, these are the words that came to mind as I reflected upon infertility and how I can best describe it to someone who may be wondering…

  1. Lonely.  Never in my life have I ever felt so lonely.  Infertility has really isolated me. Not only has it isolated me because so few understand this journey unless they’ve walked a similar path, but it has isolated me because it’s hard to be around those people who simply do not understand.  When people do not understand there is such a lack of empathy, there is lack of filters in what is said, and they are then the wrong kind of support needed.  Infertility is an invisible illness which makes it an even more lonelier ordeal to go through.  Others can’t visibly see it, therefore, it is oftentimes swept under the rug and ignored even if I have been open about it to the person who is not acknowledging it.  
  2. Misunderstood.  Both primary and secondary infertility are misunderstood.  I think Secondary infertility is even more misunderstood because I already have one child. People often assume because it came easily without the assistance of medications and/or science that it should be just as easy the second time around.  I have often heard advice such as “just relax and it will happen,” “you stress too much,” and “why don’t you just adopt,” etc.  I have also been told that it would be easy if I just found a surrogate, which always upsets me because being able to carry a child is not our issue as to why we can’t get pregnant.  Others also often assume that I am selfish for wanting another one when I already have one child and have said to me that I need to be grateful for the one I have or have even gone as far as jokingly offering up their own children to me (which is not funny to a person going through infertility by the way).
  3. Deprived.  Oftentimes I feel like my life is lacking what I so badly desire and it isn’t fair at all.  Not only do I feel like my husband and I are being robbed of being able to expand our family, but we are depriving our daughter of a sibling relationship.  
  4. Frustrating.  This whole journey has been nothing but annoying and making me feel so impatient because we are being prevented from achieving something we desire and want so incredibly much .  It is also hard because it’s been nothing but a roller coaster ride.  It seems for every step we take forward we only take two steps back with many bumps in between.
  5. Exhausting.  We are going on 29 months of trying for baby #2.  This has left me tired, worn out, and with little energy.  When you do everything under the moon to try and get pregnant and it hasn’t worked after this length of time it just really starts to take its toll on you.
  6. Scary.  It is such a frightening thought that we will never be able to have another baby…that we will never be able to give E a sibling.  When being a mother to more then 1 child is all I have ever wanted, and knowing it may never happen it just terrifies me.  All the unknowns along the way in this journey can be so shocking too. 
  7. Lost.  Time is ticking and we only get so many chances at this.  What do you do when 4 major attempts at making a baby have already failed?  I just feel lost.  It is so hard knowing what to do next when there is so much at stake.  Everything just involves such big risks.  When I know being a mother and having a family is what I am meant to do and it isn’t happening where am I supposed to go from here?
  8. Depressing.  This journey of infertility has made me very sad, unhappy and extremely disappointed.  It’s so hard to move forward when all you want is so hard to obtain.  The days feel so incredibly long and the nights short.  Some days feel like I’m drowning in my own tears.
  9. All-Consuming.  Even when you try not to think about infertility it easily finds its ways to creep back into your every second of every single day.  There are triggers everywhere, even when you try to avoid them.  It’s so hard to think about something else when this something is so important it is all you can think about every waking moment.
  10. Overwhelming.  I feel like this journey has given me such strong emotions that I can’t think or even behave normally.  Not only are the emotions strong but everything that comes with infertility can just be too much to bear at times.  There are also all the things to remember, appointments, medications, things to do and not do, timing of intercourse, etc.
  11. Controlled. When you are doing everything you can to make a baby your life feels dictated by calendars and procedures.  Nothing is spontaneous and sex feels like a chore.  
  12. Heartbroken.  Nothing about my journey with infertility has been easy.  It feels like a series of months where I feel extreme sadness, feeling upset, and feeling great loss.
  13. Stressed.  It’s no doubt that infertility has left me feeling constantly worried, anxious/nervous to the point that relaxing has almost become non-existent.  There are so many elements to stress when dealing with infertility it can be hard to explain to others or make others understand the true depth of it.
  14. Stand-still.  It is so incredibly hard to see people having second and third children while I am at a stand still and it is so out of my control.  My life feels like it’s standing still while others are moving forward.  
  15. Grief-filled.  Infertility has left me with intense feelings of sadness, more so, it leaves me grieving the loss of a child I have never even met yet.  Each month that my period comes, it is a constant reminder of what isn’t happening for us.  This creates me to deal with the stages of grief month after month after month.
  16. Bitter.  Infertility is unfair.  It’s been a horrible path to be on and it has left me very upset that something that should happen so naturally, just isn’t.  The pain that this has caused me runs deep. 
  17. Emotional.  This whole journey has left me with some pretty heavy feelings.  It’s an up and down roller coaster ride and you experience some intense highs and some pretty intense lows a long the way.  Some days are much easier then others in this, but there have been so many more hard days then easy ones.
  18. Determined.  Although we have seen our fair share of disappointment along the way, I feel like I would do anything at this point to make my dream of having a biological child a reality.  I’m to the point where I don’t want to let anything get in the way of trying.  Not money.  Not other people. Not anything.  If we don’t try to do everything we possibly can, I know I would live with deep regret. 
  19. Invaded.  When you go through infertility and start treatments you feel like all privacy is lost.  What was once such a huge intimate part of your self and together with your partner is now open to what feels the public.  This makes me so sad in a way because it is something that I will never get back.
  20. Eye-opener.  If it’s one thing I am thankful for in going through infertility it is the many things it has opened my eyes to. I could honestly write a book on all that I have learned. I am surely not the same person I was at the beginning of this journey and I only hope I can come out a much stronger, educated, and better version of myself.  This situation has showed me so many things and I have learned so much about myself and about infertility/pregnancy along the way.  It has taught me to be more understanding, empathetic to others, and has taught me what to say and what not to say to someone dealing with infertility.  I am forever grateful of the life lessons I have learned along the way in this.
  21. Hopeful.  Although the disappointments have been many, I remain hopeful that our journey will end in the way it is intended to.  Hope, although it can be a double edged sword (meaning hope leads to expectations, and then the feeling of being crushed when those expectations are not met) has always been an anchor to my soul helping me to keep taking deep breaths and putting one foot in front of the other in this long-long journey.

If you have gone through or are currently going through infertility what would you add to this list?

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