It is National Infertility Awareness Week. If you are one of my Facebook friends you already know that, and have been reminded about three times a day with all my posts. Now it is time to sit down and write my official NIAW blog challenge post. The blog challenge this year is to bust an infertility myth. I decided to write about the myth that annoys me the most: Just relax and you will get pregnant.
Oh, how I wish that were true. I would love nothing more than to go on a vacation have a few Margaritas (on the rocks, with salt on the rim) go back to our hotel room, get our groove on and nine months later pop out our little souvenir. Unfortunately that isn't how it works for us, and for a lot of people just like Garry and I. For us it takes a lot of hard work, pain, and sadness.
I think a lot of people in our lives just assumed we were over reacting when we started seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist. They thought we were jumping the gun and were just impatient to have it happen. They didn't know we had been trying to get pregnant every other day for a whole year. So I would explain about the charting, the temperature taking, the inspecting of cervical mucus, the lack of any menstrual cycle for half of that year. Then they immediately decided that my uterus was just too tense. We needed to relax... take a vacation... get drunk... have you tried having sex in the back of your car? It works for teenagers!
Once you have heard these things from every close family member, friend, and coworker you start to feel ashamed and hurt. These people that you rely on for support and kindness every other day of the year now choose the hardest time in your life to give you the worst advice possible. When I was diagnosed with Crohn's four years ago no one was telling me to just relax. They all encouraged me to get more testing, try different medications. But when I tell them I can't get pregnant they insinuate it is because we are doing something wrong, we are thinking too much about it.
That isn't how it works, especially when you have gotten to the point that you are seeing an RE. Once you start doing things like Clomid, IUI, and IVF a lot of the process is taken out of your hands. Your entire reproductive system is being controlled by outside sources. Your doctor determines when you ovulate, the timing for insemination, they determine where your hormone levels should be and control them through various injections, suppositories, and patches. All you really do at that point is show up for the appointments and take the medications.
The truth is I relaxed a lot when we started seeing a fertility specialist. Finally we were getting some help, we had some hope again after a year of disappointment. An yet, a year and a half after our first IUI we still have no baby, no baby bump either. After our first IVF failed my Mom called and apologized for ever saying we needed to just relax. She realized now that we actually had something that was physically keeping us from getting pregnant. She also saw a story on Good Morning America that told of a study showing relaxation had no impact on the out come of A.R.T. It took a failed IVF and the morning news team to make her realize that this wasn't in our heads.
This is why we need more awareness. We need people to know that infertility is not a state of mind, it is a disease. If you want to learn more about infertility and the impact it has on couples and families here are two places to educate yourself http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 and http://www.resolve.org/takecharge.