Infertility is a very cruel problem to have. Yup, it stinks to know what seems like a natural process for “everyone else” isn’t for us. But in some ways, it’s been a blessing. Infertility is a twisted way to learn things about yourself, but we know we are better off for it.
Here are 7 lessons infertility has taught us about ourselves and life:
Laughter. Probably not the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of infertility, but jokes and laughter have always been part of our relationship. In fact, it’s all that teasing and banter that made us friends in the first place. There really is something to the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Joking about something upsetting can take some of the pain away. We’d joke about the injections, the long drives, doctor’s comments, waiting rooms, and countless other trivial details. Our doctors and nurses would even join in to help lighten the mood. Many of these moments were not outright funny, but we gave ourselves a break and allowed ourselves to laugh. Always find the humor.
Patience. Anyone who has ever had to wait for something knows waiting is hard. So, basically everyone. 🙂 Patience is especially difficult when you don’t know when the end is coming. Every new cycle, we’d meet with our doctor, take medicine, go for bloodwork, have ultrasounds, and have procedures. Over and over. Month after month. Like clockwork. It was challenging to be hopeful and patient in the beginning of our infertility diagnosis, but we quickly became used to all of the doctor appointments, medicines, and procedures. It became our new routine. While we have only been waiting officially for a little over 4 months as prospective adoptive parents, we’ve been waiting almost 11 months since we first publicly shared our desire to adopt and almost 4 years since we decided to become parents. Ok, we’ll be honest. This one is still a work in progress. Chris is more of the patient one, but Jessica does her best by focusing on other activities. Stay busy.
Gratitude. There’s nothing like a problem to make you grateful for all those little things (and big things) you take for granted. After experiencing the ups and downs of infertility, we now know in a very real way that not everything is guaranteed. While we didn’t think starting a family would be exactly easy, we didn’t think it would be nearly this difficult. Infertility is not an outright loss, but you sort of mourn the ability to bear children. It’s nothing like mourning the loss of a loved one, but it’s healthy to grieve any loss regardless. A result of this grief was to appreciate the things we do have. We’ve always enjoyed spending time together, but now we appreciate each other, family, friends, and our fur kids even more. We take more time for ourselves and fun activities, day trips, and family events. Live in the moment.
Compassion. Before experiencing infertility, infertility was more or less a foreign concept. Like most young and healthy couples, we didn’t give it much thought. We were for the most part unaware of anyone who experienced infertility. It has traditionally been a taboo topic and as a result many people do not discuss fertility. Infertility is also largely invisible. Based on our own experiences, we felt that people weren’t always sensitive. Not all diseases or problems are visible, but they are still hardships. We have always been caring and thoughtful, but we put the extra effort to make small gestures to help others. Something as simple as a smile can go a long way. Every one has something. Be kind.
Strength. We didn’t realize how strong we were until we were tasked with injecting Jessica multiple times a day with fertility medication. We aren’t needle phobic per se but having a nurse taking blood or getting a flu shot is nothing compared to measuring out your own doses and plunging the needle into your own (or your loved one’s) stomach or butt. The bruises mounted up, and Jessica’s uncooperative veins would mean she’d get blood draws from the same vein or in her hands. Trips to “The City” AKA Richmond became a weekly occurrence and became old quick. We never imagined we would willingly subject ourselves to the physical and emotional turmoil of advanced fertility treatments, but we’re glad we did. It showed us we could do what we didn’t think we could. While the treatments didn’t pan out, we won’t live with regrets or what ifs. We are stronger than we think.
We don’t share our infertility for pity. We share, because we don’t want others who are experiencing fertility challenges to feel alone. Even with all the tears and pain that came with our fertility journey, we still honestly believe beauty can come from hardships. While there may be more trials and tribulations to come, we have each other and faith that it will all work out in the end. We can’t wait to see what’s next.