To the women (and men) who have received an infertility diagnosis,
I am so sorry. Honestly and wholeheartedly, I truly, truly am sorry. I can still hear every word of my diagnosis echoing in my mind, I can still feel the agonising crushing pain in my chest when I think back to it. Of course it’s never just one talk. It’s numerous phone calls and more appointments for tests. Each one more heartbreaking than the last but please believe me when I tell you that you’re allowed to take time for yourself and grieve. This is a loss and it shall be mourned as one too, you are more than entitled to feel angry, upset, and lost. Do not let anyone ever try to tell you otherwise.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve waited ten minutes or ten years for your diagnosis, seen one doctor or a hundred doctors, because I can guarantee that you’ve been left feeling shocked, frustrated,and heartbroken. Despite all this please know that you’re not alone, you are never alone. There’s a whole community out there who fully understand what you’re going through. There’s no judgement, only love, encouragement and support. One in eight people are given a diagnosis of infertility and while I know that doesn’t make you feel any better, I hope it gives you the reassurance that there are plenty of people ready to welcome you with open arms and help you through this.
One piece of advice I will give you is please, please, PLEASE do not isolate yourself from those who love you. Tell your family, tell your friends, just please don’t do this alone. Believe me when I tell you this journey is already isolating enough without excluding yourself further, just please tell someone even if that someone is a counselor. Your family love you and they would hate the thought of you going through this alone. Your friends are your friends for a reason, and I’ll be honest some friendships will fall apart here but the ones who stay are by far the best ones to have around anyway. Yes there will be there be the comments like ‘you have plenty of time’ ‘it’ll happen when it’s supposed to’ and unfortunately worse, my advice is to smile politely and rise above it… you can always cry over it in private later. Open up to your partner, it’s one of the best things you can do. Remember that they’re going through this too, don’t shut them out. Just know that not everyone you tell is going to understand and that’s okay, use this opportunity to educate both yourself and them. Try to ignore the negativity, you don’t need those people. Instead surround yourself with those who radiate positivity and light, trust me you’re really going to need them.
If you feel like you need to take a break from being around babies and children then do it, please do not feel guilty for this. Those who love you will understand. I can assure you that this isn’t selfish behaviour, and you’re not being too sensitive. Being around children after an infertility diagnosis can make you feel a million times worse, on the flip side some people find it helps. It all comes down to what you’re comfortable with. The only thing I will say is that if you do decide to distance yourself please don’t leave it too long. Like many things, the longer you leave it the more difficult it is to go back but if think stepping back will help you process everything then please do. Remember you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone, so please don’t feel like you do and start putting yourself first.
Ultimately whichever path you choose to follow is exactly that, your choice. Whether you opt for fertility drugs, diet, IUI, IVF, fostering, adoption, or just choose to give up, please never ever let anyone make you feel like what you’ve decided is wrong. You know what’s best for you and your partner, they do not. There is no right or wrong way with dealing with this, if you find something that makes this turbulent journey easier for you then do it.
Finally, whoever you are and wherever you are I wish you the best of luck with all of this. You can do this. You are strong. You are not your diagnosis. Most importantly you are not alone.