Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stigmas attached to infertility..

Infertility is a growing problem within our country and others around the world. Many times, there are any true reasons doctors can find as to why a couple can't get pregnant. One reason could be women are waiting until older to begin a family (that wasn't our case although we are now older and haven't had children). Another reason could be our environment- steroids in our food, pesticides, pollution. Another reason could be stress with many more women in the workforce just to make ends meet.

DISCLAIMER: If you are our friend and you have said any of the following, we are fine with it. Everyone tries to help in their own way when someone they know if facing infertility. We understand your motives : )

Things people told us to help us face this journey:

1. Maybe you are too stressed - just calm down and it will happen. 
This was the hardest thing to hear for us. How could we be any less stressed during this time in our life? We wanted children more than anything. No, stress is a factor, but God is the main factor. He has the plan laid out and He will make it happen in His time.

2. You don't need fertility treatments- just wait on God. 
We wanted to believe this and quit, but we also felt God put the doctors there with the knowledge for a reason. Why shouldn't we at least try?

3. Take a trip and relax-
We did this. We went to Hong Kong, China, and Jamaica. We were super relaxed and our mind was not on getting pregnant. We had a lot of fun, but we didn't come home pregnant.

4. Start filling out adoption papers and you will get pregnant-
Of course, this is the latest we have heard. Do we still have hope that one day we will be natural parents? Of course, but if that doesn't happen we have to accept it. We know God has our child already chosen for us and if we never get pregnant naturally, we have to accept God knows best. He can see our future and how wonderful it is going to be. We have very limited vision and can't imagine what He has in store yet for us.

5. It is not a disorder or a medical condition- 
Actually, Gary and I have had to pay for everything. Insurance companies and the medical community do not view infertility as a disease or even a disorder. Wanting to have children is a privilege and if a couple wants it bad enough, they will have to pay for it. I pray that this changes for people who cannot have children. It is expensive and adds stress to an already very stressful situation.

Stigmas attached to infertility:
1. There is something wrong with you- 
People who had never had any difficulty getting pregnant asked us some very personal questions. Is it you or is it Gary? Have you had his sperm checked? Maybe you are allergic to his sperm. Have you had this test run? Did you ask your doctor about this drug? We had done all of this and still we had no answers.

2. You don't know anything about children because you don't have any-
If was difficult being a teacher for me. Parents want the best for their children and they want someone who knows about children. I did have a degree in education and I had been teaching for a long time, but there was still a part of people that wanted to know why I didn't have children of my own. I did have parents who had been through fertility treatments who were extremely supportive of me - don't get me wrong. Most people didn't ever say a thing, but it was something I often put on myself and was nervous about.

There were also people who did say things to us when we offered advice on child rearing. You just wait until you have kids of your own- you will find out. Or- you don't have kids so you really can't give any advice. These were very hurtful because Gary and I were raised in strict homes where discipline was key. We felt we were just giving advice based on what our parents had done with us. I was also a teacher - I spent more time with the kids than their parents did. I felt I knew a thing or two about it.

I am sure there were more things said that bothered us, but I wanted to try to keep this shorter (I tend to be a little wordy).

I do want to take this time to say a special thank you to two of the most wonderful girls God has put into my life. It was very difficult to continue to be friends with them after they got pregnant with their first child and then their second when we still hadn't been able to, but they have been there every step of the way. I went through stages where I didn't want to be their friend. Why had God blessed them and not us? Why couldn't we have kids together so we could raise them as best friends? But, being around these two friends and seeing their children grow has been a blessing. We love those kids more than anything and they return the love. We would be less blessed without them in our life. Holly even called me at home to tell me her news before she told everyone at work. Even though I cried and it hurt, she protected my feelings. For that, I am grateful. Regan did the same and really helped me through this journey. It is very difficult to have people be pregnant and share their symptoms and joy with you when you can't get pregnant. But, it is something you have to go through. You have to let them share in their joy. They shouldn't feel that they should have to walk on eggshells around you just because you don't have children.


  1. What would almost drive me over the edge would be when I would be with a couple and their children (while we were struggling with infertility and they knew it) and their children misbehaved and they'd say to us "are you sure you really want to have kids" or something like "why don't you take one of mine." it was like not only do I have to tolerate the fact that you have children and I don't but you are totally unappreciative of being a parent and just running it in my face. Oh sorry that was so long. I have issues with insensitive people. :) so terrific you had some great women in your life to get you through!

  2. Jen- We had our share of that too. People would also say, "You better enjoy the time you have together. Having kids changes everything." As if having kids would ruin our life and we wouldn't have any fun anymore. Little did they know that we longed to wake up early on Saturday morning to make pancakes with our kids instead of sleeping in. Or, that on Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon we longed to have family time with our kids and dogs at the park instead of napping or going through our household routines. It was and is difficult to know that we also have to go through a lot of scrutiny to have children (ie background checks etc.), but most people who have children have never been to a parenting class or had anyone question them as to whether they should have kids or not. That brings me back to the point it is hard to see children in bad situations when we have so much love to give. I am glad I had good people in my life who did understand though.