The Infertility Spectrum: Where the Cool Kids Hang Out
What the heck is the infertility spectrum?
There is a pretty good reason why you haven't heard of The Infertility Spectrum: I completely made it up. I even googled it to make sure someone else hadn't had a similar epiphany but I didn't see anything that resembled what this idea meant to me so I am proceeding with my newly coined concept.
After deleting at least thirty drafts of this current paragraph I am utterly exhausted trying to find the best way to put this out there. Is there really a great way of opening up about our struggles with infertility? Spoiler alert: my husband and I have been struggling with infertility. There. I guess that is the best way.
I haven't posted any entries lately because the primary topic on my mind is where we are in our infertility journey on any given day. I wasn't ready to publicly share our struggle because I never felt 100% valid in making the bold declaration. After years of dismissive comments when I would state that I had a feeling it would be difficult to ever get pregnant, I had a hard time "making a big deal" when my feeling became a reality.
So where does The Infertility Spectrum come in? A couple of months ago I felt overwhelmingly isolated. A few close friends and family members knew what was going on but rarely did their words make me feel any better. Some were announcing their pregnancies and I didn't want to be that friend who rains on their parade but good grief, I needed to find support.
Enter Sarah's Laughter.
I had been following infertility blogs for years and trolling online forums but I needed something in the flesh. A friend told me about Sarah's Laughter so I found the website but didn't read anything and quickly closed the tab. A few days later I went back to the website and read the first few sentences. My immediate reaction was, "Are they talking about me?!?"
...a group of people who understand your tears before they fall. Woah. I definitely needed that. I also felt pretty confident when I saw the leader was a woman named Beth. That's my name, too! So I clicked on her email to let her know I was interested in more information.
Then I panicked and deleted it without hitting send.
What was my problem? I knew I was an infertile myrtle. I had already had two months of failed fertility cycles and the looks of a successful third where nowhere in site at the time. Why was I freaking out about contacting Beth?? Conclusion: I didn't feel valid. I imagined attending a meeting with other women who would give me "death glares" because my poor, pitiful problems did not come close to comparing to theirs. I had this idea of unspoken criterion for infertility.
- We hadn't been married for years
- We hadn't experienced multiple failed IVF attempts
- We hadn't been trying for years
- We hadn't seen a fertility specialist yet
Do You See Where I'm Going With This?
I was wrong about everything. I eventually sent that email to Beth (who turns out to be so much more than "a woman with the same name as me") and went to a support group meeting later that week.
I am forever changed.
No two stories are the same yet everyone struggling with infertility carries the same weight in her heart. You see, there isn't a spectrum of varying degrees when it comes to infertility. No side of the spectrum is better or worse than the other. Even the middle sucks. There are no comparisons among those of us in the infertile world. No hierarchy or scatterplot and of course there isn't a spectrum to put us on, so please don't try. All we need is your support. Validation goes a long way, too.
If you don't know what I'm talking about then please check out Coping with Infertility: How Family and Friends Can Help. for a helpful how to.
Also, check out Sarah's Laughter. It's where the cool kids hang out.