You’re having a baby, Congratulations! This is one of the happiest moments of your life, and you want to share it with your family and closest friends. But there is one problem; one of your best friends is suffering from infertility and she refuses to go. Before being hurt by the refusal, please take a moment to consider the reasons behind her actions.
Today approximately 6.1 million men and women suffer from Infertility, defined as a couple that is unable to get pregnant after at least a year of trying. It’s no wonder you know someone personally who suffers from this disease. If you yourself has not gone through infertility, it may be hard to understand your friend’s point of view.
Infertile couples grew up with all the same dreams as you probably did. We hoped to someday meet our special mate, fall in love, get married and have children. We wanted nothing more than to spend our adult life with the family we created out of love and commitment. We fell in love and got married, but then something went wrong.
We became a statistic. We became the 10-15% of couples who are unable to get pregnant on our own. We tried to get pregnant with all the tools, gadgets and tricks we could research. We bought all the books, the fertility monitors, the ovulation predictor kits and the supplements. We (women) stood on our heads after intercourse, took our temperature every morning and lived every day in a mixture of loss and hope. We tried to cling to the dream, but it was crushed before we knew what was happening.
Not to mention all the money and time spent at the fertility doctors. We spent our savings, emptied our 401k’s and maxed out our credit cards, all for just a little hope. We had painful procedures and surgeries, and who knows how many needle pricks! Our doctors stuck us with the needles, our nurses did too. Our husbands had their fair share and even ourselves sometimes. We went through the series of fertility drugs that caused mood swings, nausea, vomiting, headaches, hot flashes, cold flashes, cramps and diarrhea. We did it all, and some of us still didn’t get pregnant.
If you are someone who has never suffered from infertility, there is one thing you must understand. When we found out we had infertility, we lost a part of ourselves. The part that let us hope and dream of what we would someday have, only to find out we may never have it. We may never see two blue lines, or feel our baby kick in our bellies, or hear our baby’s heartbeat. We may never experience childbirth or the joy of watching our husbands hold our child for the first time.
When you told your infertile friend you were pregnant, she had mixed emotions. It is hard to explain how much a mind can pull you in ten different directions all at once. We want to be happy for our friends and family that get to experience the miracle of life, but we are also reminded of our own loss. It isn’t about being selfish, it is more about not knowing how to be happy without feeling that aching loss in our hearts.
It isn’t personal, please understand this. I have had to try to explain this so many times I feel like I am butting my head against a wall. We are happy for you because we know if it were the other way around, you would be happy for us. We see pregnant women, babies and children every day. Every time we leave the house we are reminded of that empty space in our lives that we just can’t seem to fill.
Personally I find baby showers to be a lot harder than birthday parties. It is more likely we will be able to experience the joys of parenthood (i.e. adoption or foster care) than it is we will have our own biological children, and experience the miracle of pregnancy. Not to mention the conversation at baby showers, and the games!
It is harder than you can imagine to spend two hours listening to stories about pregnancy and birth. Feeding, diapering, baby laughs and baby tears. It is pure torture. If you know someone that has suffered from infertility and attended a baby shower, they deserve the biggest hug anyone has ever gotten. They felt their heart break for however long they stayed at that shower, and they tried their very best to be the best person they could.
But please don’t hold it against the rest of us who struggle with finding the strength to endure the pain and longing. We want to be there for you, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. So please the next time your infertile friend says no to attending an event where babies are the theme, give her some credit and a big huge hug for all she has had to endure.