April 22-28 is National Infertility Awareness Week, though I didn’t see any Hallmark cards at Walmart for that holiday! (And don’t even get me started on Walmart, as bad parenting skills sometimes seem like a prerequisite to shop there.)
All kidding aside, 10% of women and their partners are currently struggling with infertility. That is 6.1 million women.
In the past, infertility was something that wasn’t talked about, and women without children were given labels such as “barren.” My husband and I struggled with infertility for almost seven years. We suffered loss, and spent amounts of money on treatments that I refuse to add up because I will cry. I spent so much time with my legs in stirrups that being naked from the waist down wasn’t even fun anymore! Honestly, it was either find a way to cope or go crazy.
We had great support from our family and friends, but let’s face it – some people should really just give a hug of support and not say anything.
Here are some of my “favorite” comments from that time:
“God has a plan.”
Good to know! Could you share with me what God’s plan is for the 25-year-old crack addict that is on baby number 5? I sit here with a loving family, awesome husband, good income, our own home, and desperately want a baby. Did God forget to read the instruction manual with that plan?
“Everything happens for a reason.”
This implies that somehow karma plays into our fertility. It implies that we must not be “worthy” if we haven’t been granted a child. See my response to the above comment to understand why I have a hard time stomaching this. Do you know how many times I have wanted to walk up to a woman yelling at her children in Walmart with my checkbook out and ask her how much she wants for them? Wouldn’t that earn me some interesting looks!
“Relax, it will happen when you stop trying/least expect it.”
Yes, grandma (or mom, aunt, dad, uncle, brother, sister-in-law, etc.), thank you for that advice. However, you missed the part where, without all the fertility drugs, intrauterine insemination and doctor interference, our chance of conceiving on our own is nil. But I don’t think you really want to have a conversation at the dinner table about my husband’s sperm count or my progesterone levels. Even if this comment is true, I will probably stop “expecting it” around the age of 45, at which point I would really prefer not to get a surprise!
When I think of all the money I spent over the years on birth control, I could be driving a really nice, brand new vehicle. Then add to that all of the money spent on fertility treatments, and I could be writing this from a sandy beach, looking at a crystal blue ocean, with an alcoholic drink with a little umbrella in it in hand. But then I hear a giggle to my right, and I look into the eyes of my six-month-old daughter laughing as my husband tickles her belly, and I decide to stick with my Diet Pepsi and 3 bedroom house in the Midwest because, at the end of the day, every cent was worth it to be who I am today — a mother.
For more information about infertility and spreading awareness about this condition that affects one in every eight couples of child bearing age, visit the National Infertility Awareness Week (NAW) website.
Dawn Goerdt hails from Dubuque, Iowa. She has been married to the love of her life, Bobby, for almost 8 years and is mommy to her six-month-old little girl, Brooklyn. Dawn taught elementary school for three years, then worked at a Sexual Abuse Advocacy Center for 5 years before becoming a Family Team Meeting Facilitator for Lutheran Services of Iowa and working closely with the Department of Human Services.
[Featured image via Herbalpress]