Boys Don’t Cry

WHO THIS POST IS FOR:

  • Couples going through IVF

 

Over the course of the past few months I have spent a lot of time thinking about my husband’s feelings and how I can support him. I know from my IVF group and conversations with friends that I am not alone in feeling like I don’t know how to support my husband in a way that truly nourishes his need to talk and experience his own stress regarding IVF while also managing to exist.

This is timely because a one of the big ol’ trending articles right now follows the story of a couple “told from the perspective of the husband.” You can read more HERE.

I am an independent, self sufficient, g0-getter. For 27 of my 29 years I have been the sole bearer of my emotional well-being. During past experiences with trauma I have had to pick myself up by the bootstraps and find the resources and support I needed to be healthy. As a teen I did not have family to help, I figured out how to thrive on my own. My husband  was there for me but due to circumstances didn’t always know what to say, which was completely fair given the context. I provide this information because IVF has completely shifted how I cope with trauma. Perhaps I deal with IVF differently because its not an singular experience, I am enduring all that I do for myself and my husband, and thus I am much more okay with sharing the burden of my emotional wreckage with him. We talk all of the time about IVF and feelings, but digging into his feelings isn’t always part of the conversation.

The result  is that at times he manages both of our stress. Because I am not only emotionally unwell  but also physically sick he keeps his feelings confined until he gets to therapy, etc. His friends are wonderful humans but may not know what to say (understandably). It hurts my heart typing these sentences because I wish so very badly I had the emotional capacity to take on his pain too.

There must be a space for men (who aren’t infertile) to talk. I have seen very little around this issue and it kills me because men need to talk too (oh hey masculinity confines). IVF isn’t discussed and the repercussions for all those involved are profound. We need to move the conversation for men away from the few chuckles every husband shares about their embarrassing experience providing their sample in a cup to one of depth.  There are IVF groups for couples, women, and infertile men but I have yet to find something for supportive partners. Has anyone found a resource or group they care to share?

-ANNIE

 

 

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Just when I thought I had control…

WHO THIS POST IS FOR:

  • My IVF comrades
  • Everyone

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I was punched in the gut and reminded I have none. I realize I can’t control this whole thing  (being pregnant) BUT I thought I figured out how to manage my schedule. But here I am, anxiety ridden and waiting for test results yet again.

I was supposed to get my ERA test results last Wednesday. This is a key detail because I am once again on my meds gearing up for a transfer (slated for next week). While with the doctor, not 5 minutes after my ERA test I asked if I was going to start my meds when I got my period. He told me I wouldn’t start meds because he didn’t want to get me going and then not get results in time.

Five days after my test I got my period and got a call saying it was time to get things going. I thought it was a mistake, I was told explicitly that they were going to wait. After a number of emails and calls I was told it was not a mistake, I should start taking my meds because we would have the results.

Fast forward to today and we do not have results and time is literally ticking. I was told things may work out, I may have to cancel  my cycle, or push back my transfer. The last two options are unacceptable and incredibly upsetting. I naively planned a trip for next weekend to help me “relax” after the transfer but that seems to hang in suspension.

I am tired and beat down by this process. I wish I could say, “Yes XXX I will be there with the utmost certainty.”  Just when I think I have made gains I take a few steps back.

I know the women who are reading this know what this feels like. I am here with you, once again waiting and wishing this was over.

-Annie

 

Dear Pregnant folks and Parents,

WHO THIS IS FOR:

  • My comrades going through IVF or the adoption process
  • Fertile people who post all over Facebook, all of the time.

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Dear Pregnant Couples and Parents,

I am writing on behalf of my infertile friends and allies. I can say with the utmost certainty that your lackadaisical comments and behavior drives us mad.  So instead of screaming I am going to bestow upon on you a few nuggets of wisdom and hope that you savor every word and let it marinate. This are not to say its not okay to have feelings, what I am saying though is you are privileged. Be aware of your privilege before typing away, while in line at Starbucks, at parties, etc.

STOP AND SAY THANK YOU

Making a baby required you to have sex, tough times. Following the birth of your children you post about how much your life sucks.

Next time your kid shits on the wall, or you haven’t slept all night, stop and look at your baby/kid and say thank you. Give him or her a kiss and appreciate you have the privilege to manage those new experiences.

PREGNANCY SICKNESS

You are sick because there is a living being in your body who is growing. You are beyond privileged. Say thank you to your belly each time you throw up. This may sound insane but I would do anything (and I am) to have that privilege and I know so many women who are in the same boat.

FINANCIAL WOES

Next time you post about how much a kid costs, stop. Go into your kids room, take out a book, snuggle and read together. Having sex to create your kid was free. If finding a nanny is too much for you, we don’t want to hear about it.  You didn’t have to put up 10s of thousands of dollars just to create your baby. Say thank you to your body.

VENT

If you feel the urge to vent, call a friend. Do not blast social media.

Think of it like this, if you had a friend with cancer or diabetes or any other health issue, would you post on Facebook about how tough it is to be healthy? Because infertility is so hush hush people don’t give infertility the same thoughtfulness. “Infertility is a disease that results in the abnormal functioning of the male or female reproductive system. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recognize infertility as a disease.” (Learn more here)

I beg of you to be more thoughtful. You have no idea who is crying when looking at their computer screen. I am just one of millions who are experiencing infertility, be aware of who and how you  are impacting people.

-Annie

 

In case you missed it: Best of Infertility Awareness Week

WHO THIS POST IS FOR:

EVERYONE!


Last week was National Infertility Awareness week, the internet was booming with awesome articles about infertility. It was excited to see folks engage in dialogue and feel a little less alone in all of this. Below is some of the best articles I read this past week. I hope you can share continue to spread the word outside of this designated week.

The Loneliness Of Infertility featured in Elle Magazine ->Absolutely beautiful piece- poetic.

The Pain of Infertility Never Goes away featured in Scary Mommy

Why Infertility Awareness Week Should Matter to Moms  featured in Romper