“Just relax” “just have fun!” “It’ll happen eventually” “you’re so young, it’ll be okay!”.
These are just some of the things that I’ve heard people say to me when I tell them that I am struggling with infertility.
So for those of you that don’t know much about infertility, here’s a quick definition;
In general, infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant (conceive) after one year (or longer) of unprotected sex.Definition from the CDC
Basically, if you are able to conceive after 1 year, you have infertility problems. Your infertility can be caused by various different things such as: low egg reserve, low sperm count, atypical uterus shape, etc.
A term that not many people talk about is something called “unexplained infertility”. This means that everything is normal; all of your blood work, semen analysis, uterus shape, etc. However, for some reason, you haven’t been able to get pregnant. This is what my husband (Brady) and I are currently going through.
As a young, healthy adult, I didn’t think I would have any problems becoming pregnant. Since I was 16, I took birth control and used protection. I don’t think that I was fully prepared to potentially experience infertility.
After Brady and I got married, we wanted to wait until shortly after to try for a baby. I was set to graduate the next year and we wanted to make sure I would actually be able to do that. I went off of birth control in November 2019.
When we went on our honeymoon to Mexico in January 2020, we were so excited to potentially create a baby! We knew that it may take a couple months to conceive and we were prepared for that. So we waited. And waited. And waited. Negative test after negative test.
By the time November 2020 rolled around, I told Brady that I wanted to go and get everything checked out to make sure that there wasn’t anything wrong.
We got all of our blood work done and everything was normal. We then got referred to a fertility specialist to do further tests. Everything came back normal; more blood work, semen analysis, HSG test (x-ray of the uterus). It was a really strange feeling for me because even though I was really happy that everything was normal, I kept thinking: “well, what’s the problem then?”.
It’s been a very challenging couple of years for me. I found it especially hard when people would make comments to me such as “So, when are you pregnant?!”, “why aren’t you drinking, you must be pregnant!”, “Now that you’re married, the baby should be soon?!”.
It truly isn’t helpful to say to someone who’s going through infertility: “Just relax, have fun, it’ll happen”. It might happen or it might not, and by saying this common phrase, you are dismissing the persons feelings. Something else that isn’t helpful, is comparing to other stories. Saying things like “well my friend tried for 5 years and got pregnant” or “well they just “stopped trying” and then they were able to conceive”. That is their story. Not mine.
The most helpful thing someone else can do for someone that is going through infertility is to show up. To be there for the person. Let the person speak about it at the own pace; let them know their feelings are valid. I am someone who is very open about the whole process, but others might not be; so that’s something to keep in mind.
I wanted to write this post ever since Nov 2020. I didn’t, because I thought that I shouldn’t complain because we “haven’t been trying for that long”. I now realize that any length of time trying and not getting a positive result hurts. It doesn’t matter if it has been 2 months or 10 years. It can still hurt. I also wanted to write this post incase anyone else is struggling and feels alone. Infertility is waaaaaayyy more common than I thought. It’s one of those subjects that I feel like people think is “taboo”. I want to be very transparent about it and let people know that they are not alone.
All of that being said, I am still hopeful. I am taking it one day at a time and I am extremely grateful that I have a good support system around me.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, it means a lot to me.