I was at a family reunion this past weekend and the majority of people there I didn’t know very well or at all. I had a couple of distant relatives (one whom I have seen since I was a baby) ask me if I had children or if they were in the plans. I have no doubt these questions came from a place of good intentions or even just wanting to make thoughtful conversation (hello family reunion awkwardness), but what happens with my uterus is really no one’s business but my husbands and my own. While this question might cause me some minor annoyance for the thousands of couples who are dealing with infertility this question can be devastating.
Infertility is rarely talked about yet for those who are navigating it, its impact can be felt on a physical, relational, and emotional level. The quietness around infertility has made it into a secret, isolating club that no one wants to be a part of. For those who may be experiencing this tough struggle, here are a few things to keep in mind. For all others, whenever you are engaged in conversation, especially with someone new, keep in mind there are many other topics of conversation besides children.
- Your pain is real. Infertility and all of the complex experiences that accompany it (including miscarriage) need to be grieved. You may not have met your little one, but you have a right to grieve for what could be, your hopes and dreams for your potential child. You should not expect yourself to “get over it” or just move on.
- Open up about your experience. Infertility is a painful, upsetting topic, but it is not something to be ashamed of. Consider opening up to trusted friends and family who can be supportive and nurturing.
- Don’t forget about self- care. When your body is fighting against you, it is easy to get consumed with the darkness of infertility. Try to keep your eating, exercise and sleeping habits on track as best you can and make time for hobbies and activities to relieve stress and bring enjoyment.
- Don’t forget about your relationship. Each member for the relationship will be impacted by infertility differently. Hear each other out and support one another. Plan date days and take time to talk about things other than infertility, don’t let it dominate your conversation and relationship.