One of my readers is starting to talk about her infertility, telling people that she can’t get pregnant because of endometriosis and fibroids. This, I believe, will make her feel better and start the healing process…
“I’ve got endometriosis and fibroids – and also had a failed IVF,” she wrote in the comments section of Dealing With the Disappointment of a Childfree Life. “I’ve only just started to tell people when they ask if I’m going to start a family that I’m unable to have children. In the past I’ve always dodged the question. In a way, this has started the long healing process.”
To learn more about coping with male or female infertility, click Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman’s Quest to Become a Mother – author Peggy Orenstein is definitely willing to talk about her difficulties having a child! And, read on for several reasons why you should talk about not getting pregnant (or your inability to get your wife pregnant, if you have low or no sperm count).
Why Talking About Infertility Makes You Feel Better
Talking about infertility “normalizes” emotions and events. When you hide something or suppress it – whether it’s infertility, depression, addiction, an eating disorder (anything!) – because you’re ashamed or embarrassed, it takes on more power in your head and heart. You make it into a bigger, more overwhelming, more painful monster than it already is. Talking about it, on the other hand, makes it more normal and acceptable. Just saying how you feel relieves emotional pressure and physical stress.
Talking about infertility reduces feelings of aloneness. In talking about infertility, you realize that you’re not alone – other women will share their own stories of failed in vitro fertilizations, disappointments about not getting pregnant, sadness about miscarriages. If you keep your feelings and experiences bottled up, you don’t connect with other people who may be struggling with the same issues.
Talking about infertility helps you find solutions for infertility (some funny!). A couple years ago, I told my coworker that my husband and I were having trouble getting pregnant. She told me about a couple she knew who used a turkey baster, his sperm, and her va-jay-jay to conceive a baby! It worked – and though we haven’t tried that way of getting pregnant, it could be a possibility.
Talking about infertility can help you feel stronger. This reader said she was dodging the “When will you have kids?” question. Not answering this question can contribute to feelings of shame, isolation, or unworthiness. Tackling it, on the other hand, can empower you and make you feel more in control.
Talking about infertility can strengthen your relationships. Some of my friendships have become stronger because I can’t get pregnant. As far as I can tell, none have weakened. Whenever you share a vulnerability, shattered dream, or lost hope with a good, caring friend, then you connect on a deeper level. I also think that infertility has strengthened my marriage with my husband.
Talking about infertility can present new opportunities. I was talking about our experience with infertility to a friend, and this blog – Quips and Tips for Couples Coping With Infertility – came to life as a result! I wouldn’t have started this website otherwise. It was through our discussion that I realized that I don’t just have to live with not getting pregnant…I can write about it!
At a party the other night, my husband and I were talking to an acquaintance who knew we were having trouble getting pregnant. But, she couldn’t remember whether we were coping with male or female infertility! That made me realize that people aren’t likely to talk behind your back, think less of you, or even dwell on the fact that you might not be getting pregnant (or that you’re adopting, or going for infertility treatments). This just made me feel better about talking about not having kids, for some reason!
If you’re dating (or want to date) and you know you have issues with infertility, you might find Telling Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend You Can’t Get Pregnant helpful.
Do you talk about infertility or your problems getting pregnant – and does it help you feel better? I welcome your thoughts below…