It’s a funny thing, but for many of us coping with infertility we just don’t talk about it. Its a private experience that we keep to ourselves and our partners. Whilst many around us are celebrating their pregnancies or new arrivals we anxiously pray that Aunt Flo will not make an appearance this month and that that little plastic stick will grant us that very special wish. We know that stress had a negative impact on fertility, yet not talking about fertility problems can serve to increase stress levels. So how could talking openly about infertility help you and get you the support that you so desperately need?
Stacey Hill is the creator of Kickstartbabies, a brutally honest blog of My Journey to Mummy, through IVF and Beyond. A proud wife to Keith and now co-creator of gorgeous, twin boys, Ronnie and Arnie. Stacey has shared her story with littlebud.com as part of their campaign to get people talking about fertility – helping to raise awareness . Stacey is part of the Bud team of contributors writing news, advice and support articles on fertility related issues and here she explains the benefits of talking about her infertility experiences and shares some guidance on how to do it yourself….
Talking openly about my experience with infertility has helped me cope immensely with my journey. I’ve had somewhere to vent on the down days and lots of support from the TTC community. It has also helped me gain a better understanding of both the medical aspects of what to expect, and most importantly, the emotions involved of assisted fertility.
Talking openly about such an intimate part of your life and relationship can be very daunting, sharing such information isn’t for everyone. For me, I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve, so it came naturally for me to talk openly with people about what we were dealing with. But even then, the more intimate, raw, gritty detail proved difficult to speak of, through fear of embarrassing myself or the person listening. However, I found a way to share my journey with others, which at the time was crucial, looking back now I hardly remember some of the symptoms, feelings, physical changes that people want to know. People about to go through it or are already on their fertility journey want to know the uncomfortable bits, they want to know how you feel at certain points, how it affects relationships, if loose stools could be a symptom of a positive, if other people have been catching their pee in hairspray lids or are frightened to sneeze at fear of the embryo falling out.
It’s only after I’d had the boys that I really shared with the world who was behind my blog… But I know, from reading other women’s stories and talking openly about it, sharing my journey has been a great support for many women, which is why I urge others to do the same.
The subject of infertility is a tough one to talk about, here’s some guidance on how to talk about it openly with others….
RESPECT each other
Before even thinking about talking openly about your journey, make sure you and your partner are on the same page. Is he happy to have your private life laid out bare for all to see? Set boundaries that you both agree on, what should be shared and where to draw the line, if any.
So, if for you the idea of sharing it petrifies you because you want it to be a secret form your family/friends, but you want to look back on this journey, why not write it up and log it? Whether this is a diary for just you and your husband to keep, or in a blog under a pseudonym. Nobody has to know it’s you behind that screen, but you’d have the support of TTC community and a place to vent all of your hormone induced emotions. Writing it out can be a huge release, you can be as honest as you want, or delete it after a good vent. For me, this was what kept me going.
This is YOUR journey
One woman’s journey will be completely different to another’s, we all respond to medication differently, have different backgrounds as to why you’re dealing with infertility, ages are different, relationships, etc. Remember this is YOUR journey. Your story. One woman may have been through several failed rounds of IVF and still no baby, another may be lucky first time, it’s important to remember that your end goal is the same, and you’ve all gone through your own highs and lows to get to this point.
Infertility – We are 1 in 8
When openly talking about the fact you are dealing with infertility, it might be a good idea to mention that 1 in 8 people are too. That little bit of information can soon smash the taboo about the subject of infertility, when it affects so many of us, it seems ridiculous that someone could be uncomfortable talking out loud about it. Don’t be ashamed, don’t be embarrassed. Embrace this journey, it’s part of your history.
Use the SUPPORT around you
Dealing with infertility can be a very lonely experience. Although surrounded by family and friends, you can feel like nobody really understands what you’re going through. Talk to them, tell them how you feel, what your worries are. Just a good chat between you and your partner can really help you feel like you’re ready for anything. Plus, how are they to understand unless you tell them? Tell them how they can help, not to ask too many questions, ask more, not at all maybe. Pick a good time.
Know that you’ve HELPED someone, somewhere
That someone could be you, it could be someone in the family or a complete stranger. But talking about your experience with infertility will have helped someone, somewhere. Maybe just you and your partner talking about it, that will have helped you both air a few feelings, keep you both on the same page. Maybe a friend or family member hadn’t realised that you’re going through a tough time, now they understand what’s going on and can support you more, or a friend is going through the same and suddenly doesn’t’ feel so alone. Or maybe, half the world away, someone if reading your story and taking hope from it, on what started as a really bad day.
However you do it, maybe even something as small as responding to yet another “when are you going to start having babies” question, with, “well, we are actually struggling at the moment” or simply writing your journey down….. your educating someone, giving hope to the next person and supporting another.
Together, we can slowly breaking the silence of infertility, and the more voices heard, the less uncomfortable the world will be talking about it.