The psychological impact of infertility is very distressing. If you ask couples what their biggest stress in their relationship is, most likely they will say money. However, if you asked my husband and I what our biggest stress is in our relationship, we would without hesitation reply, Secondary Infertility. This crisis in our life has been by far our biggest trial and hardship in our 6 years of marriage thus far. The feelings off loss, grief, and worry have been evoked in us time and time again over the years of trying to expand our family.
With the constant uncertainties, financial obligations, and medical decisions, it has made coping very difficult for us, as it isn’t something that just goes away. Instead there are triggers in our everyday and something that is with us month to month and year to year. The constant stress weighing on our shoulders day in and day out feels like the heaviest burden we have ever carried. This has also caused us to experience depression and anxiety during our struggle.
This circumstance has certainly turned our lives upside down and all around and is a roller-coaster ride I never thought my husband and I would experience. Here we are though, apart of the 7.3 million Americans who are experiencing infertility (secondary). Although there have been many days my husband and I feel alone in this, the number of other individuals who are also experiencing infertility is astounding and we are far from alone. That being said, it always makes me wonder why there is still this stigma surrounding this topic?
When I really stop and think about my thoughts of infertility before secondary infertility came into my life, I have to admit that I truly misunderstood what it actually was. I honestly didn’t even know there was a such thing as Secondary Infertility. I didn’t think infertility was a real disease. I didn’t understand how much infertility can impact someone’s life or how my words and/or actions could either. I thought infertility was only a women’s health issue, not a man’s health issue. It’s misunderstandings such as these which is why there is still such a stigma built around the topic of infertility. Society’s negative attitude in regards to this also makes people feel shameful of talking about it. Even small comments made by others can be extremely hurtful and very insensitive to a person struggling with infertility, but the person saying them thinks their comment is helpful (ie: Maybe God doesn’t feel this is your time to have a baby right now., Well at least you already have one., Just relax and it will happen., etc.). These types of things shut down a person with infertility very quickly and trigger such an array of emotions. Sadly, however, the reason other people don’t understand infertility is BECAUSE we don’t openly and honestly talk about it.
It’s time to find our infertility voice and start talking about it. Not only do we need to talk about it, but we need to start asking those hard questions about it as well. In my struggle with Secondary Infertility I found myself, oftentimes, just cutting people slack when they had said or done something that hurt me and triggered my deep root feelings with infertility. I would even just shake my head and agree just to move the conversation along. I used to think that because they’ve never walked a day in my shoes, they just don’t understand and truly didn’t know any better. Now, I see that it was wrong of me to stay silent. How will people truly ever know or learn or become educated on a topic we stay silent about? Nothing will ever change, and others struggling will continue to feel the psychological impact infertility has on us because we feel we can’t talk about it.
I know that I’m only one voice, but it’s truly my hope that one voice leads to two and two to three and three to four and so on and so forth. One word at a time, I hope we can start to make a difference in this. I hope we can start nourishing others with help, hope, and empathy instead of fueling them with shame. In a world where infertility is becoming more and more prominent, I have faith in humanity that things will start to change. #NIAW #StartAsking #Resolve #IAm1In8