Earlier this week, I shared my own personal journey of infertility and encouraged others to do so as well in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week. Thank you so much to all of you who shared your stories with me here and on social media!
Today I’d like to share some things that I want you know if you are struggling with infertility:
You are not alone! According to research done by the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 8 couples will have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. That’s the same percentage of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime according to the American Cancer Society. An estimated 7.4 million women have sought fertility treatments. So the next time you catch yourself envying a pregnant woman at the grocery store, in your office or attending your church, know that there is a descent chance that she needed help getting pregnant too.
You will make it to the other side, and it’s totally worth everything you went through to get there. I have been so inspired by all of the stories women (and men!) have shared with me this week. Everyone’s journey is different; the majority of people who have shared their stories with me went on to have one or two biological children, but some ended up adopting and still others found fulfillment in their careers. If you need a collection of success stories, check some out here.
And here is something I really want you to know if you are NOT struggling with infertility:
Please, please, PLEASE don’t ask someone when they are planning to have a child! Infertility is still something that isn’t talked about a lot. Many couples don’t want to share their journey as they are going through it, so it’s not easy to know who isn’t having children by choice and who isn’t having children because they can’t. But asking someone who is struggling to conceive a child or has just miscarried when they are going to have a baby is like punching them in the gut. Several very well meaning women in my office would jokingly ask me when my husband and I were planning to have another baby, or tease me when I got the hiccups that I must be pregnant again! I can assure you that there is very little that could have made me feel worse. So just don’t ask.
For those of you who have struggled with fertility issues, what else would you want people to know??