Infertility? It’s all so very hard.

I can’t be the only one who believes that National Infertility Awareness Week can be tough. Not only do you get to be infertile, but you get a week of social media posts and news articles to commemorate it. I mostly write that in jest. I actually think it is fantastic that there is an effort to raise awareness about infertility … BUT, as with many things social media related, posts and articles highlighting infertility can rip the band-aid off of a wound that never really heals.

In reality, it’s not just National Infertility Awareness Week; it’s all the time, and I write this to tell you that you’re not alone when social media is just too much.

I was alone in New York City the day I found out that we were not likely to ever conceive naturally, and my sweet sister-in-law called to tell me she was in labor with her first baby. I walked around the Big Apple alone and ate and cried. My friend was recently told she had low ovarian reserve and the VERY SAME DAY, one of her best friends called to tell her she was pregnant. It seems almost guaranteed that if you are in the midst of a fertility struggle, 16 of your closest friends will announce that they are pregnant on Facebook or post pictures of their newborn in a one-week stretch. If you’ve had a miscarriage, it seems to be guaranteed that another friend or acquaintance will be due near when your baby would have been born. And of course, social media seems a constant reminder of your loss.

In my experience this leads to a mix of tortuous emotions. Of course, you are happy for your family and friends, and of course, you want them to have joyful, healthy pregnancies and babies. But it still hurts. A lot. And that green-eyed monster may rear its ugly head.

So today, I write to tell you that…  It’s okay to feel those emotions.

Most normal people have those reactions too. When it feels like the whole world can have a baby but you – it’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to be overwhelmed; it’s okay to go sit on your sofa and binge watch tv while eating a gallon of ice cream; it’s okay to swear off Facebook and Instagram for a while… In fact, I think it’s better to recognize those emotions and let yourself feel them, live them, and accept them. And when YOU’RE READY, let them subside and move on with your fertility treatments or adoption or decision not to have a baby. The feelings may last a long time, and the wound may never really heal – even if you do have a baby. The fact is, infertility is hard, and you must face it in your own way.

I’ve recently struggled in another way with social media when I’ve been faced with whether to announce that I’m pregnant. Another miracle performed by the amazing doctors and staff at Houston IVF has allowed us to conceive again, and we are now nearing the 27-week mark. People know if they’ve seen me or if we are really close, but I’ve had a really hard time posting anything on social media, even going so far as to ask people to remove posts congratulating me or showing my bump. And I struggle. I should be happy; I should be thrilled; I should be shouting the news from the rafters.

Infertility? It’s all so very hard. | Houston Moms Blog

But I am reacting differently this time. See,  I am an anxiety-riddled mess of a pregnant lady this go-round. Admittedly, it’s better now that we have reached the viability stage, but the fear and anxiety is not gone. I feel incredibly guilty about my decision not to share my news, and I hate when people find out and text me with a ton of questions as to why I haven’t shared with them. I’ve watched countless friends, both near my due date and well after, announce their pregnancies. But me?  I can’t do it.

Why? Part of it is my personality, and part of it is trauma. Shortly before we conceived this baby, something happened that, according to doctors, was never supposed to happen to us. We conceived naturally. And then we lost that baby around 8 weeks. And this baby I’m currently carrying – this sweet baby that I’ve longed for and prayed for since it was conceived in a petri dish in April of 2013 – had a twin that we lost around 8 weeks as well. So with happiness over this baby, I’ve experienced loss too. And I FEEL it. I haven’t found a way to honor those losses in a meaningful way. I also haven’t found a way, on social media, to celebrate this gift of another child {except maybe now with this post}.

Infertility? It’s all so very hard. | Houston Moms Blog

What I’m telling you is… It’s all so very personal. It’s all so very hard. What I’ve learned through this process is to allow yourself the space you need to feel the emotions that accompany loss. I had a friend that I considered very close, and yet I didn’t know she was pregnant until she posted a picture on social media welcoming her daughter. She had also suffered a pregnancy loss and just couldn’t bring herself to spread the word. At the time I was a little surprised, but now I understand completely. We all handle these things differently.  

If you struggle from infertility or pregnancy losses that still affect you, hear me when I say that you are not alone. And dealing with social media, especially during National Infertility Awareness Week, is hard. If you have not had this struggle, please do not judge those of us who may react differently to our pregnancies. There are often stories that just cannot be told. As a sisterhood of mamas – current, to-be, or desiring the title – remember that we all have a different story and a different path. Be kind. Be accepting. Be gentle.

If you are hurting, if you cannot bear your Facebook or Instagram feed, know that your feelings are normal. And as my best friend often reminds me on days when I am struggling or hurting or anxious and need to shut it all out… It’s okay mama, you do you.

About Jennifer B.

I’m an infertility diagnoses survivor.  I’m a mom of one amazing three year old that was conceived in a petri-dish back in 2013, and a soon-to-be mom of two – another baby also conceived near the same time. I’m a wife to an amazing man, lawyer, cook, gardener, crafter, and consider myself to have a thought or two from time to time that I’d like to share with others.



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