Infertility. It’s not a club anyone wants to join. Which is why over time I became, “no longer silent about infertility.”
I resisted using the word “infertility” throughout our journey, even with our doctors. Ours was unexplained, despite checking everything the doctors could think of. I think somehow I believed that if we used that description, it would make sure we never had a successful pregnancy. Now, I realize I’m far from the first woman to feel that way.
I was 36 when we married and we took a couple years to make some big life changes and enjoy married life. We knew time wasn’t on our side, but we also wanted to be ready for parenthood. Somehow this made me feel I couldn’t talk about what wasn’t happening without apologizing, “I know I’m older, but…” So I stayed silent.
Reaching the end of the line with what we wanted to explore medically and turned our sights toward adoption, I still didn’t talk with most people about our deep desire to be parents. We knew we were headed toward more uncertainty and potentially another long wait. I was already tired of all the questions about our plans for a family. Those were starting to come up even before the wedding ceremony was over. So I stayed silent.
One morning just two days before I turned 42, I took the last of three pregnancy tests I’d ever bought. I figured I was ruling pregnancy out by taking it. So when the hoped for lines both turned up, I was more than surprised, and then I was worried. How could this be a healthy pregnancy after three years of trying and absolutely no results? I didn’t even tell my parents until after we had heard a heartbeat. Staying silent seemed safest.
We waited until after our 20 week ultrasound to tell the world. With all the waiting and uncertainty and my age, this pregnancy seemed more unlikely than likely. All around us were other couples who were in their own places on the same journey. I worried that telling other friends who wanted to conceive that we’d been blessed with a baby would leave them feeling alienated. Somehow, it felt like getting the thing any couple with infertility most wants was the very thing that disqualified me from sharing our infertility journey. So I stayed silent.
No longer silent about infertility
While some parts of our journey are still intensely private, now, 3.5 years after my daughter was born, I am speaking up more often. I want other women to know that they are not alone with the rollercoaster of emotions or the hope fatigue that can come. I want them to know that they don’t have to stay silent.
Not everyone is wired to be public about what they are going through. I certainly wasn’t. But I found as I shared my story bit by bit with others who had been through similar journeys, that I felt less alone at key moments on my journey. This has encouraged me to be no longer silent about infertility. With every new high and low along the way things changed. Our openness with those who really cared gave them a way to support us even when they didn’t know what to say. Those same people were able to rejoice with us more fully when we shared our news. They know what an incredible blessing our daughter is. I’m glad now that I can pay it forward. I can be the person someone thinks of when a friend walks the hard road of infertility and needs information or a listening ear.
We are so honored to have Deonne’s perspective on why she is no longer silent about infertility. If you are looking for more stories of solidarity on infertility head here, if you are looking for a support group local to the Lansing area head here.