by Jennifer ‘Jay’ Palumbo
Recently, I was able to be a part of an online infertility support group. There were laughs, tears, and talk of genetic testing, how many cycles they’ve all done, the highs, the lows, and oh, the drama!
In this Coronavirus world we live in, it was genuinely meaningful to me to connect with others and do my best to cheer them on remotely. It also made me reflect on my journey. Having the hindsight to look back on what I knew then and what I know now is a powerful thing.
While there are many valuable resources online about the infertility journey, there are still some random little insights that I wanted to share just a few with you. Here are the top five:
One: You Don’t Have to Be Nice All of the Time
If you have an unkind thought about a friend who got pregnant after being sneezed on, you’re not an evil, horrible person. You WILL have the occasional “not nice” thoughts, and that is OK. It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person. It just means you’re human.
Two: There is an “Infertility Version” of You That Exists
Interestingly enough, Kristen Wiig recently touched on this exact topic when she shared her IVF and surrogacy journey. “Emotionally, spiritually and medically, it was probably the most difficult time in my life. I wasn’t myself.” Between hormones, emotions, the insanity of not knowing how your family building journey will end, the strain is immense. I firmly believe that if you meet someone undergoing fertility treatment, you met a “version of them”… but not the real them. It’s important not to judge yourself too harshly.
Three: You Can’t Avoid Every Trigger
While a pregnant belly or babies are an obvious trigger, there are also “not so obvious” moments that can trigger you. Greeting card aisles, a plotline on your favorite television show, social media, or even hearing a song that reminds you of pregnancy. Sometimes, you don’t know how something will hit you. You can’t avoid living (believe me – when I was going through treatment, I tried!). You have to do your best to navigate your surroundings, protect yourself, and have a strategy to comfort yourself should something impact you in a way that makes you want to break-down in tears while in a check-out line at the grocery store (real-life example!)
Four: The First IVF Isn’t Always Successful
No one wants to hear this, I know. However, after my first cycle didn’t work, I assumed that it was never going to work, and I was a freak of medical nature. When I found out much later that according to a recent study, for all women, the odds of having a baby on the first IVF attempt was 29.5 percent, and the chance of having a baby jumped up to 65 percent by the sixth attempt, it made me feel better. I wasn’t a failure. I was statistically accurate! Yaaay! Of course, you don’t want to do countless IVF’s (who could afford it anyway?), but there is often a misconception that you do IVF, and it will work! That’s not the case, especially the first time.
Five: Fertility Treatment Isn’t the Worst Thing in the World
Between going on vacation or having an IVF, yes – I would recommend the holiday. When you find out that IVF may be your best bet to have a family, it can be scary. And of course, IVF isn’t as much fun as having sex to have children. Still, I’m grateful the technology exists as it’s helped so many. It’s not anything most would ask for, but with some hormones, hope, and humor, you’ll get through it!
If you would like to share some of your own fertility insights, then drop us a line to email@example.com.
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