Life works in funny ways; sometimes your closest loved ones are the very ones who cause you the most unrest about your infertility.
It is most definitely hard to hear a friend or family member tell you, “It’s all going to be okay,” especially when they haven’t had any experience with infertility, or better yet, they conceived the month after halting the use of birth control. So, with a teary-eyed smile you say thanks, while internally you’re screaming, “How can you be so sure?!?”
In your mind, fear swoops in and you quickly turn down the path of “what ifs” -- how is it all going to be okay if I never get to experience motherhood, when I so greatly long for it?” It’s much easier to take advice from someone who can relate from direct experience, and likewise it’s completely normal to feel unconvinced by someone who hasn’t “walked the walk.”
But let’s revisit what we learned from Part I of this series: infertility is a tender subject, and many struggle with mixed emotions about how to communicate to someone walking that path. And this is normal for everyone involved. In the same way you might find it hard to be happy for your pregnant sister, she might find it hard to be open about her pregnancy around you.
"Infertility is a tender subject, and many struggle with mixed emotions about how to communicate to someone walking that path."
With this said, infertility can bring about feelings you’ve never experienced before, but with all your might, don’t let it change the kind of sister, daughter, or friend you are. Your friends and family should want to be there for you, so be sure to let them, and recognize that while they may not be able to understand what you’re going through, they can provide you with the care, love, laughter, smiles and fun that you need to get through the daily struggles.
Now you may be reading this and thinking to yourself, “That sounds nice, but I’m just not there, yet... I’m not ready to let people in my bubble.” And that’s ok – in fact, it’s normal!
You’re enduring arduous medical procedures, rearranging your schedule to drive to the clinic several times a week for routine ultrasounds, and setting multiple alarms on your phone to keep track of all your medications by the hour. Your proverbial bubble is about to pop, and being social isn’t quite at the top of your to-do list as it once was.
"No matter how much space you need, it’s important that you don’t completely isolate yourself from others, too."
Another funny thing about life is that sometimes you never know why you’re placed in certain situations, especially while treading through so much grief, until one fateful day the reason is revealed to you. While at one point in time no one close to me had gone through infertility, it wasn’t long before pregnancy loss consumed my inner circle of friends. With every new unsuccessful cycle that occurred among us, my eyes opened more and more as to why I went through infertility first.
I had already walked in their shoes; I could relate to their situation and be a system of support and – call me crazy – I felt privileged to be this for my friends. I was chosen first so I could ensure my friends didn’t have to go through the same experience without receiving love and encouragement from someone who already endured it.
"Lend a hand and a listening ear to others, and give your loved ones a chance to be there for you."
Helping other women like myself proved to be cathartic for me, too. It felt like a synergy was awakened between me and others like me, just by sparking up a conversation about our walks with infertility.
So my advice to you: lend a hand and a listening ear to others, and give your loved ones a chance to be there for you. I have the most incredible girlfriends in the world, and while at the time they couldn’t understand what I was going through, they indeed got me through it. Without their arms wrapped around me so tightly, providing me with hope and encouragement every step of the way, I know my walk with infertility would have been ten times harder. And when they began to experience it for themselves, I was ready and prepared to give all that love back.
Note from Donor Egg Bank USA: If you need encouragement, inspiration, or want to learn more about the donor egg process from women who’ve already “walked the walk”, contact us at (855) 344-2265 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to join our private Facebook sisterhood group.