We have officially been trying for a baby for 2 years. Two long, sad years. It hasn't all been sad. But since we've been struggling with infertility, there are several issues that have come up again and again, and I'd like to put them out there for anyone who is struggling with infertility, knows somebody that is struggling with infertility, or who knows me :)
1. You make the most of it.
Trying for a baby is exhausting, especially when you get your hopes up time after time and then are disappointed again and again. Unfortunately, infertility is not a cookie cutter and looks different for everyone.
If you are struggling with it, don't forget to love your spouse. Don't forget those midnight donut runs or all night movie marathons, or even the early morning workout sessions.
If you know somebody struggling with it- be patient with their hearts. Don't tell them how much their life will change when they have a baby- they've made that commitment to make that change. Don't remind us that we won't be able to go on those donut runs or that we'll be lacking in sleep- we know that. We don't need reminded, because we are okay with everything that mothers complain about. We know it'll be hard- we still want it.
2. Skip the baby seasons.
You can be happy for your pregnant friends, but that doesn't mean you need to feel obligated to attend birthday parties or baby showers or Mother's Day. In my case, I had to quit crocheting for everybody else's babies. And that's okay.
If you are struggling with it- take a break. Don't get on facebook where you'll see all the babies pictures. You don't have to attend the baby showers. True friends will understand.
If you know somebody struggling with it- still invite them to events, but never make them feel bad for not coming. Some days are harder than others- and if that's one of those days, don't hold a grudge. Know that they love you and that they love your children, but they have a bigger ache inside of them that most people don't understand. And let it go.
3. Ignore the hurtful comments.
People generally think that they are being helpful. But you can only hear soooo many stories before you want to spit on them.
Struggling: You'll hear about how so and so just sneezed and got pregnant, and then you'll hear the stories that so and so tried and this is what worked. You'll also start hearing about how all your friends want their second or third child but are mad because they have to wait for this reason or that. It's even hard when the reason they can't have a second or third is infertility related, because you feel extremely bad for them but at the same time, they still have that other one to distract from the feelings of loneliness. I'm not saying it's not hard with the secondary infertility- I"m just saying that that's a whole other story.
If you know someone: Please share with them if it's infertility related because then they know you understand the feelings. However, when somebody is struggling to have a baby, it's really hard to listen to a fertile person explain why you want another one when we can't even have one. It's even more difficult when you do get pregnant again before we do, but we still love the baby all the same. It just has to be internalized, and at least we get 9 months to prepare to love that baby! But my advice is just watch your words before you say them, and don't make conversations all about babies. We want to hear about other things too!
Adoption is a choice. It is a long process, it is hard, and it is not the same as getting pregnant.
Struggling: Adoption is not for everyone, and depending on your agency of choice, can be extremely expensive. LIke, $10,000 expensive when you could pay that much for in vitro and maybe have your own. And it's really really difficult to get a newborn, so sometimes you have to settle. But never feel like you have to adopt. It needs to a spirit led decision.
If you know someone: It's okay to suggest adoption, but don't push it. If the person you know starts talking about adoption- keep that line open. Ask about how it's going, where the process is at. It helps. It will also help to throw a shower once a child is received, no matter the age. And always treat the adopted child as you would if your friend had their own. That makes our hearts melt.
5. Infertility is sad.
It's okay to be sad. It's okay to have some really bad days because you really really want a baby. It's also okay to have some really good days because you are child-less right now and you can. never feel guilty about that, never point out that you won't be able to do that once you have children (unless it's a happy thing). Sometimes we joke about how one of these days, we won't be able to walk around the house in our nightgowns.
6. Preparing baby Rooms
This is entirely on a personal, spiritual level. I know many couples struggling with infertility that started making a baby nursery but then when they found out they wouldn't be having a baby anytime soon, they felt like they needed to get rid of the baby room to show God that they are willing to heed to his plans on not their own. Sometimes the baby room makes couples too sad everytime they pass by that empty room, so they choose to get rid of the stuff.
We chose a different route. I feel like keeping a baby room and preparing is our way of letting God know that we know he promised us parenthood, and we are holding tight to that promise that we will be parents. So in fact, we have two complete baby nurseries. I prayed long and hard about it, but I feel like keeping the rooms is what we are supposed to do personally. It doesn't make me sad to go into the empty rooms- it makes me hopeful.
So I think this decision is completely up to the couple, and others should respect whatever decision the couple deems necessary.
I in no way intended this post to offend anybody, but to offer a few lessons that I have learned a long the way.