I have learned many lessons from infertility. I have grown in ways I never thought possible and gained a different perspective on life that has honestly changed me for the better. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but would like to share the lessons I’ve learned with you. (Disclaimer: these are my PERSONAL lessons, I am in no way saying these are lessons you should apply to your own life. Take them or leave them.)
In no particular order:
1. Advocate for yourself. You know your body and mind better than anyone else-yes, better than your doctor, too. If you feel uncomfortable with a treatment plan, speak up. If you know that something else can be attempted before taking more drastic steps, say something until so done listens. Seek a second (or third, or fourth…) opinion. Doctors are human, too. Don’t do anything to your body until you are comfortable with it.
I’ve always been a bit quiet (shocking, I know!) when it comes to doctors. I figured I should trust them, “What do I know about medicine?” But, I’ve learned to trust my intuition and not take anything lying down…ask questions, question the plan, seek to more fully understand why, and don’t shy away from the medical terms. Which leads to …
2. Educate yourself and others. Before my OB/GYN sent me to an RE, I started researching: the different specialists, types of possible diagnoses, treatment plans, success rates, etc. While that initial appointment, and many subsequent ones, were still very overwhelming, I at least had an idea going in of what could be diagnosed, suggested as next steps, and in general what to expect. Once diagnosed (or not, in my case, for over a year after my first RE consult), I started researching more specifics, joined communities on Facebook and twitter with others struggling with infertility, and talking openly about it with my husband. Honestly, twitter gave me the most information of any any source, along with amazing support (I love my tweeps!). Twitter was a place to ask questions because someone had been in the very same, or at least similar, situation. Me when I just needed to vent, complain, whine, cry, celebrate, they were there for every situation.
3. It’s ok to take a break-temporary or permanent. It’s not giving up, it’s realizing you need time to refresh, refocus, set a new plan, or just not think about it for awhile. I learned I don’t have to be a hero. Everyone has limits physically, mentally, emotionally. In addition to this, I’ve learned not to judge those who never seem to take a break from treatment or those who choose a different path (adoption, child free, etc). No two people are the same-thanks be to God-and all deserve respect.
4. Stay close to God. Even if you’re mad at Him (He can handle it!). He’s your creator, He know you better than you know yourself, and He has a plan for you. It probably isn’t the plan you have. Along with this, though, God gave you a mind and free will. Use it wisely and be in prayer.
5. Life isn’t fair. When one of my nephews was about 8, he was having a particular difficult time and cried to me, “Aunt Sara, life isn’t fair!” While I was saddened by his realization at such a tender age and it still brings tears to this day, it’s a lesson we need to keep in mind. Life ISN’T fair. On this side of heaven there will be trouble and heartache. It’s called sin. Make a choice how you will handle this unfairness.
I know I’m sharing these lessons from the “other side” of infertility. However, they’ve been floating in my head for a long time before pregnancy. I also realize that when we want baby #2, it’s not a done deal. The likelihood that we will need assistance is great. I realize that this is a disease that won’t just go away. But right now, I’m thankful, living to enjoy each and every day of my mostly easy pregnancy and praising God for putting the supportive spouse, the doctors, nurses, and friends in my life that got me where I am today.