What To Expect When You Are Struggling With Infertility: Shame

If you’ve been reading Mommy of a Monster for any length of time, you know I’m pretty much an open book. There’s not a whole lot that I don’t talk about…it’s the same as when you meet me in real life. One thing I’ve talked about a lot often on my blog is our 6-year struggle with infertility before we finally used fertility treatments like IUI and IVF to get pregnant. We were lucky. Others are not so lucky.

I’ve been open about how infertility makes a woman feel..I talked about infertility jealousy at Scary Mommy’s and how we used to joke about “we just don’t do it right.” I have talked about how we didn’t want to “buy a baby” which is why we waited so long to try fertility treatments.

But things I have never written about are the feelings of shame, embarrassment, and guilt that accompany infertility.

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I didn’t know anybody who was dealing with the same issues when I was going through the hurt and month-after-month heartache of not being able to conceive. I come from a long line of very Fertile Myrtle’s, and it never occurred to me that I might not get pregnant after just a few months of trying.

I talked to lots and lots and lots of doctors and nurses who sympathized with our situation, but not one of them ever mentioned to me that I might feel like less of a woman for not being able to do what my body was designed to do: bear children. None of them told me that feeling ashamed and guilty was part of the process…normal.

Having people ask questions became embarrassing to answer. The looks of sadness and pity when I explained our situation became unbearable.

Talking About Infertility Shame At WhatToExpect.com

When you are struggling with infertility, lots of people tell you about lots of things. The one thing nobody talks about is the shame that goes with it.

When WhatToExpect.com asked me to guest post, I immediately thought of writing about infertility shame to let others who are currently dealing with infertility know what to expect. Because I wish someone would have told me.

After finally conceiving, I made the decision to openly discuss infertility with anybody who wanted to hear about it or was willing to listen. Because knowledge is power. And I think when you know what to expect – especially the bad stuff – it makes it somewhat easier to deal with.

Now I talk to friends and friends of friends about it. Sometimes they are dealing with infertility or someone close to them is. Either way, knowing the process and understanding the different terms and procedures helps.

I have friends currently going through infertility and even secondary infertility (meaning they were able to have a child/children and then couldn’t conceive again) who know what I am talking about. It is for them that I shared my words.

So head over to WhatToExpect.com and read my words if you are so inclined. And I urge you to read and share my post about infertility shame if you or anybody that you know has or is dealing with infertility. Infertility is still somewhat of a taboo subject to talk about , and I want you to help me change that.

I’m Not Here Because I’m At Scary Mommy and Mom It Forward!

It’s been a long time since I guest posted anywhere. I used to do it often, and loved the feeling of sharing my words while putting me feet up in someone else’s space. Recently, I was given the opportunity to guest post on two blogs that I love and that I am very excited to be at!

Infertility Jealousy

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I’m over at Scary Mommy’s (Scary Mommy’s!!!) talking about what it’s like to be jealous while suffering through infertility. It’s a snarky, but truthful post about my feelings.

If you have ever experienced infertility, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. If you are currently going through it, know that these feelings are totally normal. If you have never had any problem getting knocked up, make sure that you “don’t be that guy” when talking to your infertile friends.

If you are visiting from Scary Mommy, hey there! Nice to meet you! I struggled with unexplained infertility for many, many years before finally conceiving my son Ethan via IVF in 2007. Two years later, we tried IUI and conceived our twin girls, Lila and Mia.

Take a look around. I hope you’ll decide to stay and visit.

Halloween Style Candy Popcorn

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Over at Mom It Forward, I’m sharing a recipe for candy popcorn, Halloween style. It’s sweet, crunchy, salty, and yummy. And it’s so easy that the kids can help.

If you are visiting from Mom It Forward and looking for more recipes, I’ve got lots of them! I love sharing recipes and tips. I hope you can find something that helps make your day easier (or yummier!)

Head over and check out my guest posts if you have a few minutes. And if you leave a comment on either post, I’ll pay you back in virtual candy popcorn!

Do you enjoy guest posting? What is one of your favorite guest posts?

Struggling With Infertility? You ARE NOT Alone. There is Support

As much as I bitch and moan about how hard it is being a mom, I realize how truly blessed I am because if things were different, I may never have even had any children. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), and because I am all too familiar with the struggles of infertility, I want to reshare my story.

This year, the theme of NIAW is “Don’t Ignore”. They want to make sure that we as a society are not ignoring the pain of infertility. The people who have or are struggling with infertility. The signs of infertility. And I want to make sure that if you are dealing with infertility, that you know there is support and people out there who do understand because when I was going through my struggles, I felt so alone and misunderstood.

Last year, I helped spread the word about NIAW by helping breakdown infertility myths, and explained why hearing “just relax and you’ll get pregnant” was so painful for me.

I also shared the story of our struggles with infertility as well as the story of the fertility treatments IVF and IUI that helped us conceive.

I have also told you how horrible it is to feel like a failure as a woman because I was infertile I couldn’t have a baby on my own, and how we made the decision to go ahead and do fertility treatments.

NIAW is a very good thing. It helps reduce the stigma of infertility by bringing attention to the details, issues and costs surrounding all the ways people diagnosed with infertility can build a family.

You can visit the RESOLVE website to get a general understanding of infertility as well as help, support, and more information on infertility diagnosis, treatments, and more.

We need to talk about this and raise awareness about infertility! The more you know, the more you understand it and can offer help and support to those going through it.

If you have or are currently experiencing struggles with infertility (even if you are supporting somebody close to you that is going through it), please help me spread the word by tweeting about this post…you can use the hashtag #NIAW. The more people that read it the better!

Sharing My Most Magical Moment

Magical moments take many shapes and forms – when you realized that you were in love with your spouse, the moment you say “I Do”, the birth of your first baby, your baby’s first birthday, first Christmas, first family  photo, and on and on.

Shell over at Things I Can’t Say is hosting a link-up of all of your magic moment photos called Sharing Those Magic Moments.

This is absolutely the most magic moment of my entire life:

First Ultrasound- 2 weeks

After years of battling infertility, just 2 weeks after our first fertility treatment, I got to see our son for the first time. I know this picture is not much to look at, but it’s everything to me.

Also linking up over at ThisLife for Wordless (or in my case Wordful) Wednesday! Check out ThisLife for a list of other fantastic blogs to link up with!

It’s NIAW And It’s Complicated…

Myth: If you just relax, you will get pregnant.

How long have you been trying?

Just quit thinking about it and you’ll get pregnant

Trying is the fun part!

Relax

It always happens when you least expect it

Go on vacation

Try charting your temperature

Have you tried putting your legs straight up against the wall after sex? It worked for my daughter/sister/daughter in law/friend/friend of a friend of a friend/husband’s-brother’s-ex wife’s-uncle’s-daughter

Quit worrying about it and it will happen

Oh! I was so fertile that I’d just think about sex and get pregnant!

How old are you? You’ve still got time…

Well, your life just isn’t complete until you have a baby together

It will happen sooner or later

It will happen when the time is right

Maybe it’s just not meant to be

Have you tried going to the chiropractor?

Are you infertile? Is your husband?

You need to pray

Have you thought about adoption?

Maybe you should see a doctor…

Yep, these are all things that people say to you after they ask why you don’t have kids. OR when you are planning on having kids. OR when you are  planning on having another kid. OR if you are even planning to have kids.

Strangers, friends and family, whether they realize it or not, can be very nosy, rude, thoughtless, and insensitive when they think they are being helpful. If you’ve ever dealt with any type of fertility issues, you know what I mean.

If you are one of the lucky couples that was blessed enough to have a baby without ever trying or after only a few months of trying, congratulations! It’s such a beautiful gift, and one that I coveted for a very long time.

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), and it’s a very important week in my life. I started blogging in March 2010, and first shared my struggles with infertility during last year’s NIAW. You can read about my unexplained infertility in these posts: We Just Don’t Do It Right – Part 1 and We Just Don’t Do It Right – Part II.

This year, I chose to join the RESOLVE (National Infertility Association) challenge of busting a myth about infertility. I chose to bust the myth “If you relax, you will get pregnant”.

It is NOT as easy as “just relaxing”…it is much more complicated than that. Did you know that infertility is a disease? It affects 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age. Some cases, like mine, have no explainable cause for not being able to get pregnant.

The fact is, the vast majority of individuals who have infertility have a medical reason, not a stress-related one. Upwards of 90% of all infertility cases are caused by physical problems. Research does show that infertility patients who learn and practice a wide variety of stress reduction techniques can have higher pregnancy rates than patients who don’t learn those techniques…you must get a proper diagnosis of what the physical problem is!

Although we were unable to conceive on our own, Jason and I were extremely lucky for two reasons: we could actually afford the treatments and the treatments worked for us successfully. Both of my pregnancies happened after fertility treatments. We were also lucky that in both cases, we got pregnant on the first try.

Some people are not so lucky. Some cannot afford treatments, some don’t seek help when they realize there is a problem, some people try many different treatments and have no success with any of them.

One of the reasons I support NIAW is because I wish I would’ve known about this week and the RESOLVE organization when we realized we were having problems getting pregnant. I felt so alone and misunderstood: my mom, aunts, and sisters were all “Fertile Myrtles” and couldn’t understand the pain and emotions that I felt.I didn’t know anybody else who was going through what I was going through.

NIAW helps reduce the stigma of infertility by bringing attention to the details, issues and costs surrounding all the ways people diagnosed with infertility can build a family.

You can visit the RESOLVE website to get a general understanding of infertility as well as help, support, and more information on infertility diagnosis, treatments, and more.

We need to talk about this and raise awareness about infertility! The more you know, the more you understand it and can offer help and support to those going through it.

If you have or are currently experiencing struggles with infertility (even if you are supporting somebody close to you that is going through it), please help me spread the word by tweeting about this post…you can use the hashtag #Bustamyth. The more people that read it the better!