April 24 – 30 is National Infertility Awareness Week. Please visit the end of the post for organizations that provide resources and support for those struggling with infertility.
It’s a topic people don’t often talk about, infertility. It can be considered a “taboo” subject, yet it’s much more common than you may realize. 3 years ago, I was pregnant with triplets. That’s when I decided to go public with my struggles to get pregnant, and I soon learned that I wasn’t alone.
It’s ironic to look back at my life and see my plans for children. I spend my 20’s worrying about getting pregnant, but when I hit my 30’s, I tried everything to get pregnant, without any luck. I never thought in a million years that I would have trouble conceiving when I was ready. But month after month, that pregnancy test came back negative. And every month, my heart sank a little deeper.
Over the years I went through a roller coaster of emotions. It started out as frustration, followed by a pity party. Why did God deal me this hand? Many nights, I would lie awake sobbing, as my husband was sleeping next to me. I was meant to be a mother, so why wasn’t it happening? I would cry because I didn’t understand why I was the one chosen to have never ending health problems. I would cry because of the financial burden of ongoing medical bills. I would cry because I felt like no one understood. I would cry because I felt empty. I had a wonderful husband, yet I still felt all alone and empty, sinking further and further into a deep pit of sorrow.
In 2013, my husband and I went through IVF. My calendar was mapped out with medical jargon. Each night, I would give myself several shots. Within a week, my stomach was bruised and I was drained. I knew what in-vitro fertilization was, though I had no idea how intense and painful the process would be. But, it was all worth it. I was pregnant with triplets, two identical girls and a boy.
As I started to share my infertility journey with a few friends, I learned that so many people experience the struggle of trying to get pregnant. That’s what led me to use my platform as a television news anchor to help others. I publicly shared my heartache of infertility to let others know they aren’t alone. In the past 3 years, I’ve heard from thousands of people around the world who share many of the same feelings and frustrations. I wasn’t the only one sad at the sight of baby announcements on Facebook, or faking a smile when someone asked, “Why don’t you have kids yet?” There is a whole community out there, filled with people going through similar circumstances.
In 3 years time, my life has changed drastically. I went from the frustrations of infertility, to the extreme joy and pure bliss of being pregnant. But, life doesn’t always give you the picture perfect ending. After weeks of complications, I delivered my triplets more than 17 weeks premature. Two of my babies eventually passed away, leaving me with one amazing survivor. As I look at my nearly 3-year-old daughter, my heart swells with pride. I didn’t know if I would ever be blessed with a child of my own. And even though two of my children passed away, my surviving triplet embodies all three in her over-the-top personality and pure joy of life.
When I meet people going through the thick of fertility treatments, I have one message for them: You are not alone. It may feel like no one understands, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Whether through online groups or a fertility clinic support group, there are several resources to turn to when it comes to finding that shoulder to cry on. Infertility is a beast. It consumes your mind and body, leading you to think about your struggles every waking minute. But, the next time you are wiping away tears, please know that you’re not alone. Find that shoulder to lean on and you’ll be amazed by how your journey changes.
For infertility information and support:
- National Infertility Network Exchange
- American Pregnancy Association
- RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
- BabyCenter.com forums