Step 1: Hold Your Breath
Do you remember what it felt like to hold your breath for as long as possible? Or should I ask if you remember the feeling of the first inhalation after your breath holding endeavors? As adults, most of us don't go around trying this task anymore and save the game for kids who are traveling through a tunnel, over a bridge or competing on the playground.
Infertility is a lot like holding your breath. Only when you are told to breathe it never feels like you inhale deep enough. You inhale just enough to trap it in your lungs in order to survive. Every doctor's appointment, blood draw, phone call from the clinic and prescription feels like you are holding your breath. Every injection, ovulation test, and pregnancy test puts more weight in your lungs. Not to mention the thousands of dollars and ultrasounds that keep you from inhaling. Pregnancy announcements, birth announcements and baby showers can make you feel like there will be no air waiting for you for when it is time to breathe.
Imagine explaining this suffocating feeling to your loved ones who are breathing easily. They might tell you to relax and stop focusing on it...let your lungs do the work. Better yet, they might get you a paper bag to fix your problem. Of course it hurts them to see you in pain. They don't want to see you suffer. However, more often than not, that is as far as their love is capable of reaching. They will cry with you, pray for you, and physically hurt for you but they can't feel as you do.
Now imagine a different scenario. Imagine sitting among a group of girls who are all just as blue in the face as you. Everyone in the room is an expert in breath holding because they all carry the weight of infertility, too. You won't have to explain what a two week wait is or why it is a catastrophe if a cycle gets cancelled. They have shared feelings of betrayal, jealousy and doubt and freely discuss it with you as their Facebook newsfeed fills up with surprise pregnancy announcements.
They also will become your biggest cheerleaders and first line of contact when sharing good or bad news. They will be right there with you when you are in the depths of despair and simultaneously giving you high fives when you celebrate any single milestone.
I previously shared my love for Sarah's Laughter and feel compelled to do it again. This support group has been crucial to remembering how to breathe.
We found out this morning that only 2 of our embryos have made it to freeze. The embryologist is keeping an eye out for a few others to see if they will catch up. After I got off the phone I broke down. I won't attempt to explain why this was such heartbreaking news. Even if I tried explaining where my tears came from I know that most of you will see the positive side and sometimes, that is the last thing I need to hear.
I first told my husband and then the second person I reached out to wasn't a family member or best friend since Pre-K. I reached out to a dear friend I met a few months ago through Sarah's Laughter. After an exchange of texts and learning there was a "middle finger" emoticon, I laughed and took a deep breath.
Just last Friday I felt so relieved and BAM, less than 72 hours later, I had to start holding my breath again. Infertility sucks.
The same support group I attend is also held online a different day of the week. Yes. Online. Anywhere in the world. I think there are a few girls living in Europe who participate in the online group. You should, too.
Want to hear something else? Sarah's Laughter just opened up a second location in Austin, Texas. If you are in the area and need help with your breathing then you should seriously check them out.
Sarah's Laughter also recently (as in yesterday) launched an awesome podcast where yours truly is interviewed in episode one.
Beth Forbus, the leader of our crew, is amazing. She is one of those people that you would love to go on a long roadtrip with because she is THAT easy and fun to talk to. Email her. Reach out to her on Facebook or Instagram.
There is a terrific group of women who will be there ready to hug you and pass the Kleenex without you asking. They are also skilled in emotional CPR.
For more information on the best infertility support group ever please visit:
http://www.sarahs-laughter.com/ or visit them on Instagram + Twitter @sarahs_laughter