Several months before I started trying to get pregnant, someone gave me a copy of Toni Weschler’s Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I read it religiously and determined – rather obnoxiously – that people who had trouble getting pregnant just didn’t make the effort to chart their fertility. I did everything I thought I was supposed to do. I went off the pill in March 2011 to let my natural cycle restart, charted my temperature, paid attention to cervical mucus and that summer started using ovulation sticks, so I knew exactly when I was ovulating. I figured when we started actually trying to get pregnant in October, it would happen right away. And then it didn’t.
I figured when we started actually trying to get pregnant in October, it would happen right away. And then it didn’t.
That spring I went to a birthday party and bonded with a woman about getting pregnant. She was struggling herself and told me her story. She had been trying for 6 months and recently learned she had endometriosis which had damaged her fallopian tubes and fimbrial phimosis, which meant the ends of her tubes are clubbed. She had only a 5% chance of getting pregnant without IVF. I got in the car that night and said to my husband, “At least we aren’t that bad off.” Little did I know, I had my own long journey ahead.
Three years of battling infertility taught me that it’s a very lonely experience and that I am not cut out to keep my struggles a secret. I ended up reaching out to the woman I met at the party through Facebook to ask questions and seek guidance. She quickly became a very close friend and her support got me through all of my treatments and heartbreaks and it taught me that there is nothing wrong with being infertile. It wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t able to get pregnant on my own. She gave me the courage to trust my gut, to seek out expert help and to be open with my family and friends about my journey. At some point, I decided it was not worth it to be secretive and I started to talk about it with colleagues and eventually on social media.
About a year after I started trying to conceive, once I knew that I was facing IVF, I came right out and started sharing on Facebook. I was open about seeing doctors and needing to rely on science to get pregnant. I posted pictures of my fertility drugs and very personal status updates, including one about about having to do my first round of injections during Hurricane Sandy, when we had no power. I talked openly about failing rounds of IVF and posted regular updates during the entire process. I’m not sure people quite knew how to react. The best part of being open on social media was that so many people came out of the woodwork to share their own fertility stories with me. Most were shared privately but I was amazed by the stories I heard. They became my beacons of hope.
I was desperate to not feel so alone and vocalizing my path to pregnancy helped me in so many ways.
Not everyone is willing to be open and there were times when I wish I’d kept quiet, but I really don’t think I would have gotten through those three years if I hadn’t been vocal. Not everyone is willing to be open and there were times when I wish I’d kept quiet, but I really don’t think I would have gotten through those three years if I hadn’t been vocal.Three years of battling infertility taught me that it’s a very lonely experience and that I am not cut out to keep my struggles a secret. Infertility is painful, scary and lonely and you need people to support and love you. Your partner is, hopefully, a rock for you to lean on but he or she is struggling as well. I was desperate to not feel so alone and vocalizing my path to pregnancy helped me in so many ways.
For more about why I shared my struggles on social media, visit my article at FitPregnancy.com