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15 Lessons I Learned from our Battle with Infertility

The journey through infertility is one of the hardest, most exhausting, heart wrenching emotional rollercoasters one could find themselves on.

I was 1:8.
We were 1:8.  
We were one of the couples that struggled through both male and female infertility.

Infertility knows no race. No gender. It does not discriminate amongst religion, sexuality or economic status.  

One thing is for sure though. You never ever know how badly you want something until you you are sitting on that table and are told that it may never happen.   

Infertility

  1. You can’t ‘earn’ a baby. At the beginning of our struggles, I found myself being hateful… hateful towards people I didn’t think deserved a baby. I’ve never done drugs, I loved people, I was a special education teacher who loved kids and I had always dreamt of a beautiful family…I had this vision that I was a ‘good person’ and somehow deserved a baby…but when I saw news stories of babies being born to addicts or heard horrific stories of children being abused, it was salt in an open wound. What had I done? What did I have to do to deserve a baby?? But the truth is…you don’t ‘earn’ a baby. Good deeds don’t equal pregnancy and being a ‘good person’ doesn’t earn you the right to be ‘mom.’
  2. It hurts. Really bad. Every pregnancy announcement, baby shower, newborn picture.. it hurts. Go easy on yourself and know it’s okay to say ‘I have plans, I can’t come.’ or take a social media hiatus. It’s okay.
  3. You may or may not get pregnant. I wish I didn’t have to write this. But the reality is that it’s true.  There are many, many different family building options and had my husband and I not sought out different options, we would never have gotten pregnant. Adoption. Egg donation. Sperm donation. Surrogacy. IVF. Medication. Living childfree. They’re all options. You have to choose what is right for you and your family. 
  4. Everyone has an opinion. They always do.  Most don’t mean any harm and are rather trying to be helpful…but each comment comes with it’s own pain. “Don’t worry and it will happen.” “You can always adopt.” “Kids are so expensive anyways.”  “Just give it time.” We heard it all, and they all stung. Family, friends, complete strangers…everyone feels the need to weigh in on your family options, and really, unless you’ve been there, they have no idea what to say. Just smile and know they have the best intentions…and if the tears come later, know I’ve been there and you’re not alone.
  5. No one knows how you feel unless they’ve been there. It’s just impossible to know how you feel….the ridiculous amounts of pregnancy tests. ultrasounds. shots. charts. procedures. miscarriages. ups and downs. the cycle of hope, grief, anger, denial, bargaining…only to do it all over again. Month after month. Cycle after cycle. Yet the TTC {trying to conceive} community is one that is so strong, so connected…you meet someone who is going through the journey and they’re instantly your best friend. Reach out. Support each other. Sometime’s those are the only people who really get it.
  6. You’re not in control. If you’re anything like me, you have the deepest desire to control the entire process.  It just doesn’t happen like that. Control the controllable. Eat healthy. Take care of your body. Do what you can, and then give it up to God. Then see #1, #2 and #3. 
  7. Knowledge is power. I found that the more I knew, the more comfort there was. The unknown was terrifying and I hated the times when you just had to wait. Learn everything you can and make educated decisions with your partner. Know what the numbers mean, the measurements…and then somehow balance that without going crazy. It’s a fine line and you need to navigate it carefully.
  8. You can either grow in your marriage or it can tear it apart. **Sigh**  This is so hard. So hard. At the end of the day, both partners are usually so invested in this process, and yet typically experience it in completely different ways.  I know people who have ended this journey in divorce and it’s so heartbreaking, yet having gone through it, I can see where it can happen. You HAVE to remember you’re playing on the same team. If there is one piece of advice I can offer, it is to communicate. It is so easy to shut down and feel isolated… but don’t.  Keep the line of communication open and continue to talk. Time changes feelings and opens hearts.  Pray together. Go on dates. Have sex. Talk. Seek counseling if needed and be kind to each other. It’s hard, so go easy on each other.
  9. What is right for one family is not necessarily right for yours. I already mentioned how many different options there are for growing your family, but one or the other might not be right for you. Try not to compare yourself to your friend’s cousin who chose surrogacy. Or your friend on Facebook from High School who chose adoption. Talk to those people and reach out..but it’s okay if you choose a different path. 
  10. You never know the silent struggles someone is going through. What you’re going through..it’s tough. But if there’s one lesson you should take from this all, it’s that you never know what silent battle someone else is going through. Let it teach you compassion. Love. Empathy. Understanding.
  11. The 24-Hour Rule. We had a rule in our house that you had 24 hours. 24 hours to be devastated. Hateful. Angry. Cry. Sad. Then it was time to move on. Not that you didn’t get to experience those feelings ever again, but you had 24 hours to throw yourself a pity party and then it’s time to look forward. I will never forget when I found out we were miscarrying. Or that my husband had cancer. Or we would never have a baby together. Or that the cycle didn’t take. Again. They’re all days I will never forget. Dates that are burned into my heart. To say I didn’t continue to grieve the baby we’ll never meet is totally unrealistic. You need to allow yourself to feel and go through the process {see #12}. But you can’t live in that. It will slowly kill you. So you had 24 hours to live in that moment and then it was time to look forward.
  12. It’s okay to be angry. or sad. or lonely. It’s okay… feel it all, experience it all and own it. Those are your feelings and it is your heart. Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel or when to feel it… it’s okay.
  13. You are NOT alone. If you take nothing else from this, know YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE. Reach out. If you want, send me an email. Comment. So many more women have fought this battle and I promise you, you are not alone. So on your worst days, reach out and I promise someone will catch you.
  14. Keep an open conversation. I can’t stress this enough. See #8. Then come right back here and read it again.  Communication is the #1 key to making it through all of this.
  15. Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes he lets the storm rage and He calms the child. 

If you have found yourself somewhere along this rocky road of infertility, whether you just got the news or you’ve been fighting it for 8 years… you, my friend, are not alone.

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12 Responses to 15 Lessons I Learned from our Battle with Infertility

  1. Suzanne Hines April 17, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

    This is beautiful, Lindsey. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Lindsey April 19, 2017 at 10:39 am #

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Suzanne!

  2. Carol April 18, 2017 at 10:31 am #

    I was fortunate to not have family & friends asking “when”, perhaps b/c my husband had children from a previous marriage. But it didn’t mean we didn’t want one (or more) together. I still mourn not having given birth to a child and I feel like I disappointed my husband.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • lindseycline April 19, 2017 at 11:15 am #

      It’s such a personal choice in marriage and it’s different for everyone…while I’m glad you didn’t have the outside pressure, I can certainly imagine the lingering emotions. Hugs to you, Carol, I hope you can find comfort as you continue on that journey.

  3. Patricia April 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

    This is truly so raw and real and I’m sure your experience will bless many others. Thanks for taking the time to share.

    • lindseycline April 19, 2017 at 11:16 am #

      Thanks for your reading and taking the time to comment, Patricia. It’s not always easy to write the hard stuff!

  4. Catherine Short April 18, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

    These lessons are so good. It took us almost three years to get pregnant with our son. While, we didn’t technically have a 24 hour rule we very much actively chose to be sad a certain times and than move on. It will eat a way at you otherwise.

    • lindseycline April 19, 2017 at 11:18 am #

      I totally agree, Catherine..it has the potential to eat away at your soul if you’re not careful. You certainly deserve and have the right to own every feeling, but I found myself needing to be mindful to move forward.

  5. Dawn April 18, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

    This is a wonderful sentiment, both for yourself and for those struggling with this issue. I commend you for having the courage to speak out and thank you for giving us hope 🙂

    • lindseycline April 19, 2017 at 11:23 am #

      Thanks for your kind words, Dawn. It wasn’t always easy {and still is uncomfortable} to speak out, but each time I do, I meet more and more women {and men} who validate why I share. It can be a lonely battle, but you’re absolutely not alone!!

  6. Cecilia April 18, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

    Lindsey, you have a real gift for sharing your heart. Thank you for that. I’m appreciate your transparency and I’m so thankful God has blessed you with your sweet family. Blessings, Cecilia

  7. Christine April 19, 2017 at 1:37 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing this. We have very close friends who have been unable to have children of their own. The one and only time she fell pregnant she miscarried at 6 weeks. It was heartbreaking, to say the least.
    They’re about the same age as my parents and I will forever be in awe of how much love they have shared with us despite all the pain they must experience. They decided that because they likely wouldn’t have children, they would pour their love into those around them. The result is many many people who would do anything for them. They are now honorary grandparents to my two children. They are two of the most special people I have had the honour of meeting on this earth.