Who Is the Woman Behind the Mask?

July 13th, 2017
Is This Normal

Your superpower may be the ability to appear like everything’s under control, but inside you’re probably a wreck.  While dealing with infertility, every day is just another fight for normalcy.

Here’s an example: It’s Friday night, and you treat yourself to a girls’ night out because you need a little fun in your life.  You see all your girlfriends enjoying wine with their dinner, and you quickly remember that you probably shouldn’t indulge with them as your infertility paperwork tells you to avoid or at best minimize your intake of alcohol.  You would never want to do anything that would decrease your chance of becoming pregnant, so you ask the waiter for a glass of sparkling water with lemon served in a wine glass.  I mean, at least you can feel like you’re part of the crowd.  It’s all about the glass right? What’s worse is that if you were pregnant this wouldn’t be an issue at all.  In fact, you would be rejoicing that you weren’t able to have a glass of wine, because you had a sweet little miracle growing inside of you.

“Is all this normal?”

Yes – this is just one of many examples of the small life adjustments you make while dealing with infertility that shortly become burdensome reminders that you’re still not pregnant.  And there are so many other changes that may happen to you during this time.

Once you begin infertility treatments, your life and schedule become completely dictated by the timing of your injections, pills and multiple doctors’ appointments. Not only do you have a massive amount of hormones raging through your body, causing you to think and act out of sorts, but you also have several restrictions of what you can and can’t do. You start to notice your jeans aren’t fitting as well as they used to, and you’re constantly hungry.  Before you know it, you have your own “infertility treatment” wardrobe equipped with loose flowing shirts, comfortable dresses and elastic waistband shorts and pants.

You know it isn’t an appropriate time to go on a diet so all you can do is blame those infertility medications for the creeping weight gain!  You need a little pick-me-up to get your day started, so decaf has become your new best friend; the only boost you’re really getting is being led by your imagination pretending that there is caffeine in your coffee. 

“So, who is the woman behind the mask?”

Every day you put on your superhero costume to hide your pain. Your mask may be smiling when you really don’t want to, or your costume may have an ‘S’ on the chest even though you feel anything but powerful. 

Maybe if you act like everything is under control, people won’t say things like, “Just relax and stop stressing. You’ll get pregnant someday.” How can anyone expect you to relax and stop stressing when you’re fighting for your dream; when you’re enduring arduous medical procedures and repeated heartache and disappointment month after month?

It’s ok. All these thoughts and feelings are absolutely normal.

The mask may get you through life’s daily struggles, but do not be ashamed of the woman underneath.  She is the true fighter. She is conquering one of the hardest obstacles that a woman could experience. Be proud of your perseverance; be proud of the warrior you’ve become; and be proud that you’re not giving up on achieving your dream!

Note from the author:  With the conclusion of my "Is This Normal?" series, I wanted to inspire and speak to women who, like myself, have "walked the walk" of infertility. Check out Part I and Part II of the series for even more encouragement that everything you are feeling is NORMAL! Thank you for being a part of my journey, and if you should feel comfortable, feel free to share your story below.

About The Author

Melissa Butcher was a professor, recently promoted to a full-time stay at home mom. She enjoys life with her husband, two miracle children and two four-legged companions. She spends her days joyfully being a helicopter mom who loves snuggling and playing with her two mini tornados and using her teaching background to "play school," growing two future bookworms!


Thank you. Needed to hear this. I've been on this journey for over two years now and it has left me wounded and saddened. I am hoping for a breakthrough, but always wondering whether one will ever come.

Submitted by Jolanda 1 year, 3 months ago

Your article was very helpful . I never stop thinking about getting pregnant, being pregnant, & IVF.
Searching for PGS tested female embryo(s) & any possible sites to search would be helpful.
Fertility doc says his oldest Pt. was 57 yo. I'm 51 yo & goal is to have two pregs.

Submitted by Mary 1 year, 3 months ago

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