Hi, Christy here. Usually, we share our favorite links and recommendations in our Colugo Group Text to let you in on the BTS conversations happening between parents on Team Colugo.
This week, I thought I’d do something a little different. It’s National Infertility Awareness Week so I thought I’d share some advice and recommendations based on what I learned during my infertility journey.
If You’re Facing Infertility
First off: I’m sorry and you’re not alone. According to the CDC, about 1 in 5 women won’t get pregnant within a year of trying. But, I know when I started fertility treatments, I felt super alone and ashamed that my body wasn’t “working” like it should. Here’s what helped me:
Talking About It: I know it can be hard to share your struggles with fertility. I didn’t talk about it until after I had my twins. But, as soon as I opened up, I connected with so many other women going through fertility treatments. And, you can do it virtually if it feels too hard to talk with friends or family. I really liked Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure Facebook group.
Be Mindful of Who And How Much You Listen To: There is SO much advice out there on how to increase fertility or your chances of success with treatment. I went back and forth between Googling everything and trying everything (I’ve eaten a lot of pineapple core) and just letting go and trying to live as close to a normal life as possible. There is no one right away to be a person with infertility. Figure out what works best for you. And, be open to the fact that the right path for you might change over time.
Decline the Invite: Depending on where you are in your journey, it might be too much to accept every baby shower or 1st birthday invitation. That’s okay. You don’t have to white-knuckle your way through a celebration if it’s too much. It’s important to take care of your heart.
Force Some Fun: When I was giving myself shots for IVF, I would prepare my shot and also lay out a piece of chocolate to have as soon as I was finished. I got fun socks to wear on my transfer day. While driving to appointments, I listened to my favorite podcasts and fun, light audiobooks instead of NPR (as much as I love NPR). When you’re in the midst of fertility treatments, it can feel impossible to find the fun. I encourage you to create tiny moments of whimsy and joy where you can.
If You Have a Loved One Going Through Infertility
Don’t Disappear. Keeping up with fertility treatments is super time consuming and your loved one might not be as available as usual. They’re also likely going through some pretty dramatic ups and downs. Try to give them some grace and don’t give up on them. They’ll so appreciate your love and support.
Wait for Them to Volunteer Details. It can be hard to both be supportive and not feel like you’re prying. I really appreciated when loved ones would say something like: “I’m here to talk about the fertility stuff or to absolutely not talk about it - whatever you need.” This gave me the space to share what I was ready to share.
If You’re Pregnant, That’s Wonderful News to Text Them. When I found out friends were pregnant, I was genuinely thrilled for them. I bet your friend going through fertility treatments is, too! But, it might take them a minute to process. Try texting them the news instead of telling them in person. It can be a lot of pressure to seem “happy enough” as soon as you get the news. Also, maybe don’t share that you got pregnant “by accident” or “the first time trying.”
I hope this advice is helpful! My heart is with anyone going through infertility right now. If you want to vent or chat about ways to find some fun, please email me at email@example.com.