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!

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing!!! Yes it's definately... "complicated". And so interesting actually the way that couples can start a family. We were blessed to have those same resources and medical staff at our disposal. We were also amazed at how many friends/family members knew of someone or had a friend who had experienced infertility issues. Opening up and talking about it was the best way we had to get feedback, support and understanding. p.s. haven't been by in awhile ~ love the new look!
    • mommyofamonster says:
      Yes - so many ways to conceive! Science is great isn't it? Thanks for swinging by - I love the new look too ;)
  2. Amazing post, Natalie! You have offered so much helpful information here and those phrases at the beginning? Well, I've heard most of them. And they never stop hurting. Much love to you, my friend!
  3. Complicated... is an understatement. I'm not infertile but I can't seem to carry beyond 9 weeks! So, three miscarriages in 8 months later, I am now facing IVF. Crazy! And very frustrating! Thank you for a very informative post. I am a HUGE supporter of busting the myths WIDE open. xoxo
    • Tonya, I struggled with the same thing...keeping pregnancies. We figured out a couple of things after a lot of heartbreak. First, very short luteal phase sucks for pregnancies. I started taking baby aspirin. Second, my hormone levels were way off. We actually never figured this out. Third, my placenta lies very low in the first trimester, potentially causing miscarriage. We went on modified bedrest for the first 18 weeks of my 2nd 2 pregnancies. I ended up with 3 beautiful babies after very scary pregnancies. Good luck with your IVF! Open communication is the best thing we can do to make sure we are getting the info we need.
      • I'm not ready to take the IVF step.... yet, but there may not be any other choice for us (a part from adoption, which I am very open to), but it helps to have an awesome doctor and supportive friends. Thank you!!
    • mommyofamonster says:
      Yep, we need to talk. Opening up Jason's calendar to send you some dates now...
  4. Thanks for this post. We didn't have to try as long as many couples, but it took long enough for us to get all that wonderful advice. People mean well, but it can get hard to smile through, as you know. Also, I love your blog so much, I gave you the Versatile Blogger Award on my blog. Thanks for sharing with us! http://live-by-rule2.blogspot.com/2011/04/versatile-blogger-award.html
    • mommyofamonster says:
      Ah, thank you Melissa! I'll swing by to check out my award - I'm so happy and really appreciate the honor!
  5. I've heard many of those same statements and where you wrote about "We Don't do it Right" reminded me of the time my MIL poked her nose in our business. She said to me, "Maybe you guys just aren't doing it right". I thought she was joking and I laughed but then I realized she was serious. I wanted to claw her eyeballs out. Thank you writing this post...I hope plenty of people read it and find comfort knowing they're not alone.
  6. You provided such great information! We tried for a year before getting pregnant and it is hard no matter how long you try. This is a wonderful cause to be part of!
    • mommyofamonster says:
      You're absolutely right....it is hard when you have to "try" and it doesn't happen after the first few months.
  7. Such great information and I identify with every bit of it. So glad that you are talking about infertility.
  8. COMPLICATED..the perfect word for infertility! Every moment of not being able to get pregnant feels like a year, plus the good intentions and words of people close to you often hurt more than they hurt. I used to tell people "if I told you I had cancer, you'd be concerned, you'd offer support, you'd tell me to take medicine and fight with my whole being to "beat it" , but I tell you I can't get PG and you tell me to Relax, like that will fix what's wrong inside my uterus" ...thank you for posting for NIAW, I'm so glad you were able to have your children, I'm so glad I was too...and I pray everyday for our "sisters in infertility" to be able to hold their babies someday. xo
  9. I do believe that I told myself that each one of those myths were true.
  10. I too struggled with infertility. I have PCOS as an underlying diagnosis. I miraculously (and surprisingly) got pregnant with my first, Buddy, without even trying. But that was not the case with my second, Buster. We tried and tried and tried. We tried charting, the metformin I was on for my PCOS, clomid, and femara, and were just about to try IUI when the fertility specialist suggested we try progesterone as a last ditch effort. It worked! One other statement/question that always bothered me when we were struggling with infertility was "When are you going to have another?" I never wanted to explain that we had been trying and get into all the personal details. That question stung.
  11. I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who think they have a right to know everything about everyone else's business. And it doesn't stop at infertility -- but, that's another story. This is a great post for one side of the rudeness; now, all you have to do is come up with ripostes for each of them and have them in your arsenal. (You could always look them directly in the eye and ask, conspiratorially, "Is it supposed to go all the way in?") Thanks for all your hard work in posting this. Come visit when you can.
  12. We haven't been trying for very long (and haven't been trying toooo hard) but I've already heard several of the above statements. We haven't been trying long enough to warrant concern, at least I don't think we have, but I'm already thinking that we may need to get checked out - after all, why waste time not knowing for sure? Either way, I had no idea infertility was such an issue until I started blogging since all the women in my family are, like, super fertile and fertile well into their late 30's/early 40's. I'm glad to have been exposed to a different viewpoint!
  13. It is so important to talk about this. So many of my friends struggle with infertility in differing degrees. The treatments can be stressful and expensive like you said. As they progress, many marriages suffer under the additional burden of something so many people think is "easy". It's not. Like you said, it's complicated. I think a lot of the fertility and pregnancy conversations need to happen more openly. For me, I get pregnant very easily but I struggle to keep the pregnancies. I suffered many "chemical pregnancies" as well as 1 very early miscarriage and 2 devastating late first trimester ones. I came to blogging through the old baby center message boards that I turned to for honest support when I was hating my body and wondering what the hell was wrong with me. Thanks for opening up the conversation!
  14. Relaxing also doesn't help you keep a pregnancy. Relaxation gets a lot more credit than it deserves.
  15. Very good post! I was devasted when I was told I couldn't have my own children but thankfully the doctor was wrong. Four (living) children later, my heart still breaks for those who struggle to conceive and maintain a pregnancy. And, those who have suffered a loss. Hugs and thanks to you Natalie for sharing such a personal, misunderstood topic.
  16. I'm proud of you. Seriously deeply proud.
  17. I just read another post busting myths. It's amazing to me just how many people struggle and how little I read about it normally. So glad you are sharing this. I actually never went as far as the fertility specialist, but it did take us 6+ years to conceive our son. And yes, I do remember putting my legs up in the air. So romantic.
  18. Complicated is right! And relaxing...seriously overrated and over promoted. As we start to try for a baby, Rocket keeps telling me I should relax. That I should not pay attention to the calendar or what my little iphone app says. But having been menopausal prior to Principessa, it is not that easy.
    • mommyofamonster says:
      My husband actually knew my cycle as well or if not better than I did! Now, I never even think about it anymore.
  19. This was PERFECT! I have two boys, ages 3 and 6. Both came by fertility treatments. We spent a LOT of money and a LOT of time to have these precious boys. I have heard all of the comments you listed. I know I would have been overjoyed if I had happened upon your site during those painful times. So glad that you are setting the record straight!
    • mommyofamonster says:
      Thanks for sharing Kelley! I know by comments like yours that writing about this is the right thing to do and WILL help others.
  20. I agree with KLZ. This relaxation business is totally over-rated. It didn't help me GET pregnant and it didn't help me STAY pregnant.
  21. Thanks for your post and for sharing awareness. I tried to get pregnant for 5 yrs -3yrs into that I went through an apparently unnecessary surgery to remove endometriosis that was supposedly the problem, then went through unsuccessful IUI then onto an unsuccessful partial round of IVF (my levels weren't producing enough eggs to make it worth it so we had to start all over again with hormones and shots etc.). I am very blessed to be able to say that the next round was successful and was given a beautiful baby girl. I constantly wondered what was wrong with me and why I was broken when I wanted a baby so bad and there are so many out there who "accidentally" got pregnant who didn't really want to be. I came to terms and was grateful that we live in an age where there are doctors with the knowledge that they do now. Thanks for providing a place for people to share :)
    • mommyofamonster says:
      I still can't understand the accidental pregnancies. Thank you for sharing your struggles here! Our words will help others, whether we know it or not.
  22. I am so glad you are writing about this! I have SO many friends that struggle with infertility and it is so important to TALK about it. You have also reminded me that I should feel fortunate to have not struggled.
  23. Great post, Natalie! I've heard all of those comments said to friends of mine who struggled. Love that you are working on spreading the word to dispel the myths!
  24. Great post!
  25. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and struggled for 2 years to get pregnant. I heard so much, especially since I was only 20 when I started trying for my son. 2 years, and lot of fertility meds, and I was finally pregnant. You wrote this so honestly, I love it. Thank you!
  26. People don't know until they are in this situation, some of these myths are just plain crazy. I never take my kids for granted. I was sure I wasn't able to have kids, although I had never really tried. Turns out I was just being very responsible. When I did get pregnant I thanked my lucky stars.
  27. Great post lovely lady and I enjoyed your two other posts linked to the creation of your amazing kiddos!
  28. Great post...everyone always has opinions about things that aren't happening to them...but for some reason that puts them in a place to tell you exactly what you are doing wrong. So annoying!
  29. Great post...I wrote a similar one earlier in the week. Complicated is the perfect was to describe IF! And the feelings that go along with it will never go away:(
    • mommyofamonster says:
      It's complicated and frustrating - but it's also know that there are other people that can relate. Thank you for your words :)