April 19-25 is National Infertility Awareness Week #YouAreNotAlone
Six months…six long months. That’s how long it took us to accept the word “infertile.” Accept the fact that we would never conceive with love alone. Our recipe for making a child was not going to be pure and simple, like everyone else. Six months to accept our recipe was going to be a long list of artificial ingredients: money, medicine, procedures, time, frustration and a lot of tears.
Our journey started at the young age of 29 when we were diagnosed as “infertile.” I remember like it was yesterday when Dr. #1 encouraged us to see a fertility specialist. “How dare she!” I thought. “She must be getting a kick back from the fertility clinic.” I was a young 29; I didn’t think I needed help having a baby. We moved on to Dr. #2, who agreed to perform more tests, but it was the same outcome. “We recommend you go to a fertility clinic.” These people are crazy, I thought. I’m 29. I’m not infertile. My mother had four children. I have good genes, I never smoked, I work out…I am not infertile.
Doctor shopping is not as fun as shopping for a pair of jeans, but still we moved on . . . . to Dr. # 3. Reluctantly, we had our third appointment. Well, three times is the charm. Dr. #3 said the same thing.
We felt so defeated. We spent the past 6 months wishing and praying we would not become members of this “infertility club.” This club we knew so little about seemed like such a dark and scary club to belong to. We were too young for this club, and we knew no one else who were members. We felt alienated, isolated. We didn’t know who to talk to. We didn’t know what this meant. There are statistics and odds posted all over the internet but the referral to the fertility clinic felt like we were no longer in control of our own family’s fate.
Making that first call to the fertility clinic was not an easy one. Admitting we needed help to make our baby meant we had to accept that the problem was more than we could handle on our own. It would no longer be just the two of us – it was going to take a village.
They say acceptance is the final stage of the grieving process, but for me it was so much more. Accepting that we needed help and realizing that “infertility” was going to be part of our lives, meant that we were that much more committed to finding a way to build our family. We did not know how long this journey would be or where it would take us, but we knew for sure that in the end we would have a child. There was a lot of uncertainty walking through those doors of the fertility clinic, but we were both ready to do whatever it took for our dreams of a family to come true.
Jen Peffer is an RNE peer support group leader who runs a general infertility group in Connecticut.