Don’t Ignore the Silence

By 6:30 am I had commuted from my home in New Jersey to Manhattan by bus and then by subway.  When the office doors opened I sat in the waiting room with others, each of us avoiding eye contact.  When my name was finally called the second part of the routine began.  The nurse drew blood, the doctor ran the usual test, we discussed my progress (or lack thereof) and I was at my desk by 8:30 hoping that none of my coworkers would suspect where I had been that morning.

I tried not to let it enter my every thought. Really, I did. Yet it was always there; every morning when I woke up and every night when I went to sleep.  It was there when I turned on the TV and each time I answered the phone.

It was unavoidable. Every time I turned around, someone else was pregnant.  Every day that went by felt like another day missed.  Every time the phone rang a friend was calling with her pregnancy news.  Every time I checked the mail there was an invitation to a baby shower or first birthday party.  Every time I turned on the TV an actress was announcing a pregnancy or giving birth.

Infertility affects up to one in eight couples.  It is a silent disease, yet it can leave deep emotional wounds.  Infertility affects people from all socioeconomic, racial, ethnic and religious lines.  There is a strong chance that you have a friend or relative who is dealing with infertility right now.  And if you do indeed have a friend or loved one who may be struggling, be there for her.  Understand that she may need your support even if she does not want to talk about her pain.  She needs your friendship now.  Trust me.

My husband and I had reached the point when were just beginning to explore using a surrogate to carry our baby.  Even with broken hearts we understood that there are many ways to start a family and using a surrogate was our next step.  To our surprise, I then held a pregnancy past the first trimester and it looked like we might actually be on our way.

Seven miscarriages, several hundred intramuscular shots, two D&C’s, two hysterosalpingograms, one surgery, three IVF procedures, ten weeks in the hospital and two incredible miracle babies.  That is my infertility story, the very brief version at least.  I was one of the lucky ones, not only because I now have two children but also because I was fortunate to work for a company with excellent health benefits.  Yet even with a great insurance policy we still spent thousands upon thousands of dollars.  It breaks my heart to think of those who have to pay out of their pockets for standard tests, procedures and medicines.

Don’t ignore infertility.  This silent disease is too commonly overlooked and too commonly misunderstood.  People experiencing infertility tend to suffer in silence.  Don’t ignore the strength and determination of those who are struggling to create a life, who are hurting physically, financially, emotionally and silently.  Don’t ignore your own ability to be a support system to a friend who may need you.  Who do you know that is suffering in silence?

This post was written for National Infertility Awareness Week.  For information regarding infertility, please visit www.Resolve.org.

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your struggle. I am so sorry you had to go through all of that, but am so happy those two special boys of yours get to experience you as their mother!

  2. As someone who has not had this struggle, what are ways to be a friend beyond just listening? Sometimes I don’t know how to respond when I have three children.

    I know that emotionally and physically it is extremely trying and I know that secondary infertility can be very painful, as well.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    • That is such a great question, Candace. I can’t answer for everyone, but for me, it would have been wonderful to hear something like, “I know you are hurting. While I can’t relate and don’t have the answers, I am here for you to talk with, to laugh with or to cry with when you need me.” Just opening that door for someone to talk if and when she wants to is a huge show of support.

  3. Although I have not walked through this struggle personally, I have several friends who have fought this fight silently and beautifully. Although I didn’t always know what to say or how to support them, I found that just being present in their fight, acknowledging their triumphs and disappointments, and not being afraid to share mine, we supported each other. Each of these friends now have beautiful families created in many different ways (adoption, IVF, surrogacy) and their children are cherished in a way that many people cannot comprehend.

    Many blessings to you and your beautiful family and thank you for sharing your story.

    Warmly,

    Jenn

  4. Thank you for sharing your story and letting me know I am not alone. I had no idea there was an awareness week for this.

  5. I’m sorry that you had to go through this. I can’t even imagine the pain. Sharing your struggle and the information about National Infertility Awareness Week is one big way to help others who are going through this right now.

  6. I had no idea…thanks for sharing your struggle. I am sure by you sharing your story it will not only give hope to others but let people know that it’s OK to open up and talk to someone. You are so blessed to have those beautiful boys!

  7. Hi,
    I’m a new follower from the epic mom’s weekend blog hop. I just liked you on facebook.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and I am so sorry that you had to go through all that. As someone who has struggled with Infertility I can relate. After 6 1/2 years, 5 miscarriages and one failed ivf, our baby boy was born in November 2010 and is now a happy active 17 month old.

  8. I’m soooo sorry you had such a difficult struggle. I too battled infertility, but mine was very different… mostly 3.5 years of waiting for something to happen. I too eventually had two miracle babies.

  9. Thanks for sharing your struggle, Jessica. I was unaware of it. I’m going to point some friends to this post. They would definitely relate to it and find it comforting. I’m a sucker for happy endings. So glad that you got yours. :)

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