Have you ever experienced something that you can’t explain to someone despite your best effort?
Or something that anyone who hasn’t experienced it first hand can not possibly begin to understand?
That would be what infertility feels like.
And it makes you feel like, as a good friend described, like you’re on an island. Not quite a deserted island, but an island with people who understand EXACTLY what you are going through.
It’s a place no one wants to visit, but the people that are on the island, at least in my experience, are some of the nicest women I have ever met.
Everyone on the island has a different experience (naturally) – some are childless, some like me – are suffering from secondary infertility, there are stories of adoption, treatments and everything in between. But the common thread on the island is the desire to build a family, and the inability to do so easily.
Infertility Island is full of the strongest women you have ever met. There is no room for the weak stuff here – it’s all about the Survivor Mentality. We are all fighting the same battle in our own way. It’s nice to have people to talk to who know how you feel, what you mean and can offer the support that often times, no one else can.
And I swear, there is a section of the island just for husbands – where they can wait until we need their support.
Because, at least in my experience, husbands don’t always quite “get it” – which is okay, considering as all of the STUFF isn’t happening to their body. They don’t take the medicine, get the pleasure of the ultrasound wand, feel the pain or the heartache that comes approximately every 28 days to the same degree. But they are there when we need them, on stand by, if you will - to provide a shoulder for tears, arms for hugs, lips for supportive words (and kisses) and even when they don’t understand it all – ears for listening. I don’t think (my) husband always knows how much it means to me when he just listens to me and lets me use his shoulder – I’m pretty strong but sometimes, I just need that extra support to keep me upright.
I don’t think anyone truly ever leaves and certainly never forgets what it was like to live on Infertility Island. There are all kinds of bridges built to take us on and off the island, but I really just don’t think it’s a place we ever truly leave behind once we have been there. It is an experience that shapes us, builds appreciation for what we have (or will have) in our lives, adds character and connects us to other women who will remain in our hearts forever.
Infertility Island can be one SCARY place – a place of unknowns, confusion, infinite levels of frustration and sadness – but it can also be a place of strength, hope and love.
I hope with all my being that the population on Infertility Island stays at a minimum, but if you have to cross that bridge and visit – know you aren’t alone and that there are people here that will support you and hope for you when you don’t have the energy to do it yourself.
If you find yourself in this place – there are some excellent resources to check out – Bloggers For Hope - an outreach of Chance to Hope – a foundation built to offer financial help and resources to give couples a chance to build the family they hope for. There is also Resolve – the national infertility association.