One out of every eight couples struggles with infertility. We are one of those one-in-eights. You wouldn’t necessarily know it from looking at me or my home because my life revolves around taking care of our two children, homeschooling, shuttling them to various activities, and loving them to the moon and back.
But you might know it if you saw me in tears two days ago because I miss Naomi, my would-have-been-six-year-old-daughter. Or because I know I should be planning a first birthday party this week for our baby Hope. Or because our anniversary in June is also the sixth anniversary of the due date for our baby Kyria. Or because I heard the name “Jordan” somewhere, or because someone I know is due to give birth this August, when our Christmas baby would have been celebrating his first birthday.
You might know it if you saw me cry because I once again had a negative pregnancy test.
Over ten years of marriage. Seven pregnancies. Two live births. Five precious souls we will meet and embrace in Heaven. Countless tears over the years – of frustration, anger, confusion, grief, and yes, also of joy.
The thing is, infertility doesn’t look the same for everyone.
For some, it is the inability to get pregnant for years, maybe forever.
For some, it is the inability to stay pregnant, leading to loss after loss.
For some, it happens at the beginning of the plan to have children.
For some, it rears its ugly head after having one or more children.
For some, it leads to medical treatments.
For some, it leads to adoption.
For some, it leads to one or more living biological babies.
For some, it leads to a decision to stop, and to find happiness in the family of two that was founded on their wedding day.
For some, it’s a young couple in their twenties, feeling isolated because everyone around them is having babies without a problem.
For some it’s a couple in their forties, feeling isolated because everyone around them is moving on to the middle school years, and they are still trying.
For all, it can be a lonesome journey until you discover that you aren’t alone.
We walked the infertility journey for years before our daughter was born. I knew so little about infertility, and even about my own natural patterns and rhythms, and I knew no one else dealing with the same struggles, although we had many family and friends who were sympathetic to our situation. I just knew that I felt broken.
It wasn’t until I lost my daughter Naomi in my second trimester that I connected online with other women dealing with the same feelings – not only the feelings of grief at losing my daughter, but also the feelings of anger and frustration first at my inability to conceive, and then at my inability to carry to term when I did conceive. Connecting with others through books, online, and in real life made a world of difference for me. So much so that now, when I see “one in eight” I can think of many other friends who are that “one” … but we are all standing together and not so lonely anymore.
If you struggle with infertility, you are not alone. These resources are some that have helped me, and others, along the way. Maybe they will be helpful to you, too.
Resolve – National Infertility website
SHARE – Pregnancy and Infant Loss support
Still Standing – Online magazine written by parents who have been through loss
Naomi’s Circle – Information about local (Midlands) support groups for pregnancy loss and infertility
What has helped you on the journey of infertility? Share it below!