You’re among millions who want to get pregnant, so how is it that you feel so alone? Over 7 million women in the U.S. are fertility challenged, yet the topic of infertility is kept hush-hush, except for Aunt Betty who loudly probes at every family gathering if you’ve got a bun in the oven yet.
Maybe it’s because fertility involves the personal subject of sex. Or perhaps the topic of female anatomy has always been taboo.
And when the fertility-challenged seek solace from the non-challenged, they’re met with ignorant yet well-meaning comments such as, “You just need to relax. Stop stressing and it will happen.” Conversations like these often leave you feeling more alone, ashamed, and like a failure, rather than understood.
But you’re not alone. You stand with millions of other women and couples. So why is infertility such a closeted subject? It’s like holding membership to a large club in which no one knows the other members nor do they admit membership.
The truth is, your club boasts élite members with the likes of Julia Roberts, Marcia Cross, Sarah Jessica Parker, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Nicole Kidman. Such members understand and experience your feelings, like Brooke Shields who said, “The difficulty of IVF or any fertility issues is the hope and the shattered hope, the dream that it might happen this time and then it doesn’t happen.”
Members of your club are deeply aware of how precious the gift of a child is whether brought to you by IVF, IUI, donor egg, surrogacy, adoption, or naturally. Your fellow club member, Hugh Jackman, said, “We still wanted to adopt. That was our plan: we’ll have two and we’ll adopt one. Anyway we didn’t have children. We tried and that was tough. But the moment Oscar arrived, it just felt like he was always meant to come that way. I forget he’s adopted; he’s just my son.”
Although the dues are steep, membership offers its privileges. This club pushes you to test your limits. Your fertility journey births the rewards of personal growth, deeper appreciation and unforeseen miracles. As a member, you test the strength of your relationships, decision-making skills, and patience. You explore your ability to accept and let go. To find joy in light of disappointment. To practice ongoing gratitude. These are skills and spiritual lessons sure to help you throughout the rest of your life. When things come easily, we’re not offered the same opportunity for personal and spiritual growth.
So stand strong. You are among millions who feel everything you do. You are not alone.
5 strategies for overcoming feelings of isolation:
1.) Throw yourself a pity party. Allow yourself a pity party during which you can let it all out. Feel free to exorcise everything: the anger, grief, resentment, and the “why me’s?” Ask a trusted loved one to attend and tell them exactly what you need from them, whether it’s simply listening or screaming and crying along with you. Set a limited time for your pity party, giving yourself a maximum of 10, 20, or 30 minutes. When the time is up, no more pity. Shift your focus to the positive.
2.) Practice gratitude. After your pity party, focus on three things in your life for which you are deeply grateful.
3.) List 10 Positives. Jot down a list 10 positive moments or interactions with others as a result of your fertility journey. Perhaps with your nurse or doctor, your acupuncturist, a family member or friend, or a stranger.
4.) Build your support team. Note anyone who can offer some form of support, whether it’s a shoulder to cry on, accompying you to appointments, helping research options, budgeting, dispensing unlimited hugs, or simply staying quiet. Enlist and traineach team member while being specific about what you need from them. Tell them how they can be there for you. With your support system in place, you’ll know exactly where and whom to go to in your times of need.
5.) Set your boundaries. Also note what you don’t need from others. Tell Aunt Betty to stop asking you if there’s a bun in the over and that you’ll be sure to tell her when there is. Let your friends know what remarks do and don’t feel supportive. One of my patients sent this text after a miscarriage, “If you’re receiving this message, it is because you are close to me. Please do not reply. I am no longer pregnant. I am doing fine and staying positive about continuing to try.” I suggested to another patient that she send a similar message via email to her well-meaning co-workers before uncomfortably facing them on the Monday morning after a negative pregnancy test.
6.) Write out the uglies. No one understands you better than you do. You are your strongest supporter. Write down anything: the good, the bad, the ugly, the ugliest. Write whatever you can’t quite express to anyone else. Don’t worry about grammar or complete sentences. Simples phrases will do. Or draw out your feelings. Keep a journal or jot down phrases and thoughts on scrap paper then toss it out. Bottling your feelings is unhealthy so write out the uglies.
Proudly stand among millions who’ve struggled with fertility.
Celebrities who experienced fertility issues:
- Celine Dion
- Mariah Carey
- Nicole Kidman
- Sarah Jessica Parker
- Marcia Cross
- Courtney Cox
- Julia Roberts
- Jane Seymour
- Jamie Lee Curtis
- Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster
- Brooke Shields
- Guiliana and Bill Rancic
- Mariah Carey
- Angela Bassett
- Courtney B. Vance
- The Dixie Chick Sisters (Martie Maguire and Emily Robinson)
- Sharon Stone
- Hugh Jackman and his wife
- Christie Brinkley
- Kirstie Alley
- Gillian Anderson
- Elisabeth Hasselbeck
- Victoria and David Beckham
- Trinny Woodall
Sign up for a free introductory month of the Zen Fertility Online Program to prepare for a healthy and timely conception. This program includes Zen Fertility Yoga videos, guided audio fertility visualizations, guided journaling, relationship builders, health tips, stress-reduction techniques, and access to the online forum for peer support.