My husband and I are a year deep in our journey with infertility. I say my husband and I, but it is really me. I’m the one with the infertility issues. I have cried, a lot. I have been angry, a lot. And I have even thrown my hands in the air (figuratively, mind you) in frustration and surrender. I have waved the white flag at infertility, only to burn that white flag the very next day, or hour, or minute.
The latest strategy I have cooked up to assist in coping with my frustrations in an effort to relieve some stress has been to visit some infertility forums. Surely, reading what other women are experiencing as they take a pill to induce bleeding and a pill to induce ovulation over and over will give me some kind of peace through shared experience. Surely, this will be a way to hear from the women on the front lines of infertility and to gauge how my experience is going in comparison. Surely, these forums will help alleviate some of my anxiety about the entire process.
Wrong. Completely wrong. My forum reading instead felt more like I was reading my very first scientific research publication all over again. I had to conduct research just to understand what these women were talking about. CCD4, BFP, BD, DH–these are just a very small sampling of some of the acronyms I saw everywhere I went. Some of these I could guess at the meaning via context without understanding exactly what the letters represent. Others, there was not a single conceivable (unintentional pun) meaning in my brain to these acronyms. Most of these acronyms aren’t even acronyms for the proper terms of things (like AF means Aunt Flow). I won’t go into the meaning of these, or other acronyms, but for those that would like to know, click here for an alphabetical listing of acronyms with meanings.
It should have been a sign to me when I Google’d ‘infertility acronyms’ and Google returned with about 136,000 results in the span of seconds. I should have known when I had to decode the very first forum I looked at that this was not the peace-giving experience I was expecting.
After reading, decoding, reading, and decoding some more, I finally had a realization. All of these women are talking about infertility without talking about infertility! Sounds insane, I know. Stick with me. Most of these women would express some emotion, but only a bare minimum. Some would make statements like, “I’m worried” or “frustrated” or “hoping”. The rest of the paragraph-length post would be all about the acronyms. One woman wants to know if this side effect is normal on X cycle day and on X medication, “Thanks so much for feedback”. Another woman answers her that it happened to her (insert a bunch of acronyms now) and she has used the same medication five more times since and everything is fine (absolutely paraphrasing here). Not one of these women are expressing how they really feel about the situation.
I am experiencing an intense amount of pain from the medication I took to try to force my body to ovulate, and it absolutely FREAKS ME OUT! This is not natural, normal, or okay! I worry I am doing more harm than good to my already screwed up body. It isn’t, “Thanks so much for feedback”. It isn’t a bunch of acronyms, this is my hopes and dreams and view of my future possibly going down the tubes. The woman who wanted to know about a side effect she is experiencing–if she is anything like me she is disappointed, disheartened, sad, frustrated, and a gambit of other emotions that no one is bothering to address, including her.
Why do women that suffer from infertility feel like they can’t talk about the emotional toll along with the medical things? There is a direct relation between the two.
Is this how I am supposed to cope? Depersonalize infertility with acronyms? Have we become such a politically correct society that it isn’t okay to talk about the misery being experiencing? Or is it out of respect for those that have it worse? For example, I have secondary infertility, which means that I have had a child, but I can’t conceive another child. Someone who hasn’t had a child AND can’t conceive a child has a “worse” scenario of infertility. Does this somehow lessen what I am experiencing? Does it invalidate my feelings? I don’t think so. I still feel them.
I have a challenge I would like to issue.
If you are suffering from infertility, I want to hear the gritty details. Comment, email me, post on your own blog, I don’t care. Do what makes you feel better. Tell me all about those emotions you aren’t telling anyone else about. I’ll cry right along with you! It is okay to cry and to wallow for a moment in the emotional toll this is taking on you, your partner, and/or your marriage. It is okay to talk about pushing back all your financial goals in life because you can’t not try to conceive a baby and insurance doesn’t cover it.
It is okay to say what is really happening, without the acronyms.
I am on cycle day 19. I took Clomid 50 mg on cycle days 3-7 for the first time ever. I get a blood test in 2 more days. And I am in pain! And I have felt fifty different emotions, at least, since cycle day 1. I am disheartened by the side effect of uterine pain, but I am also hopeful that this means my body is finally cooperating more. I am afraid that this cycle will come and go without a positive pregnancy test. I am worried that the pain will get worse and my physician won’t allow me to try again. I am afraid that this pain is a sign that my body is eating up every last egg, and that I will never have another child.