What Infertility Taught Me

DSC_6356I recently read a blog post about infertility that I felt compelled to write a response to.   It ignited frustration and a pet peeve within me about the way couples affected by infertility feel they must cope.  And that is largely to become obsessed with their infertility, letting their life focus solely on the anger, frustration, and “why me”?  Now,  the article was written by a husband who had a period of 14 months or so trying to conceive with his wife.  They now have a 3 year old son and have been trying to conceive another child unsuccessfully for two years.  If you want to check it out you can read the post here http://natepyle.com/the-disgrace-of-infertility/.

It sounds awful but,  I read his blog post and could not help but think this is SO depressing.  Even the title, The Disgrace of Infertility makes me squirm.  Do we need to make ourselves think of it that way?? Should infertility take up this much of our efforts, thoughts, and purpose?  Those who are in the midst of infertility probably will not find solace or comfort from reading his post.  Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way bashing this couple or what they went through, or anyone who has or is suffering from  infertility.  In fact, my husband and I dealt with infertility for over 4 years and still have never been able to conceive a child.  However, if you read my last post you will see that we finally adopted our son 3 months ago (yahoooeeee!!!).

What I can tell you about infertility is that it taught me a hell of a lot.  I’m actually glad it happened to me.  Let me say that again – I feel BLESSED and lucky to be faced with infertility.  Coming from a generation that felt scheduling everything is the epitome of productivity and success, it showed me that life is NOTHING like that.  If you really take a step back and look at society,  at a young age we start kids on a busy schedule because it’s the right thing to do – i.e heading from school, to practice, to youth group etc.   But is it really?  We start to truly believe that we should be able to and need to schedule life events, including starting a family.  I think that being forced to take life as it has come for me has let me absorb all struggles in life more effectively.  Life isn’t perfect, not even close and lots of bad and terrible things can and may happen to all of us through the course of it.  I now know how we handle our struggles in life defines us.  It’s those times that make us who we are.  I know that I can handle anything that comes my way and that if it’s not on my terms it’s all going to be fine.  And you will be ok too.   If those kids/jobs/achievements (whatever they may be) don’t come right away, because let’s face it there’s so many things in life we are “waiting” for, use that time to develop your marriage, take a life-altering vacation, start  a business, or find your real passions. So many things are thrown at us in life and you have a choice, to be happy, or not.  Why not start through infertility?

People may have a problem with this next statement, but I never want my child or being a mom to define who I am.  Sometimes we all forget just how temporary life is.  I never know if my child will wake up tomorrow or if I will.  My parents, husband or family members may not wake up tomorrow and I have to be ok with it and able to go on with  life – it’s part accepting mortality and  part finding appreciation and gratitude for every day, through all of life’s events.  You know, despite everything I’ve mentioned I know it’s still hard, I get it trust me, I’m sending many hugs and thoughts to those of you are are dealing with infertility.  You know who you are – and let me tell you there’s light at the end of the tunnel whether you end up with kids or not.

Much love – Ashley

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19 thoughts on “What Infertility Taught Me

  1. What a beautiful, strong and inspirational post! I love the way you express yourself and the amazingly positive outlook you have. I’ve talked about a lot of the things you mentioned, although not specifically pertaining to infertility, and I share a lot of the same views as you which have had their fair share of criticism! It’s always nice to find someone who agrees. Thanks a lot for the post and CONGRATULATIONS on the adoption! I wish you all the luck in the world and all happiness for the future too! =D

  2. I love your positive outlook and how your experience has helped you to appreciate being in the moment. I do think it’s important, however, for people to know it is ok to be sad or angry about what they are going through. We all need to take time to process our experiences and the things we are dealt in life. So many people feel they need to put on a happy face and front perfection. I think this is in part due to social media. We all want to seem like we have it together. Life is hard, much harder than most of us anticipate growing up. And we need to be able to address our emotions about situations we come across in life. Take a moment to cry, or a day, and hell, a week! But you are so right…we need to be able to go on. We cannot dwell on the things we cant change. We need to be honest about our troubles, then face them head on. We cannot let these things become all consuming…they will take over. Things like infertility, among others, definitely teach us a lot. Its about growth, right? Glad you’re so enlightened and can share a positive outlook!

    • Oh goodness sure, it took me a long time to come to these realizations. For too long I let it consume me but my hope is that others will see that they need to let their lives unfold and enjoy the process. Too often we spend time wishing our days away, when we can never get them back.

  3. Well said Ashley! Infertility should not define a person. John and I struggled for 4 1/2 years before we conceived our first time. I had not heard of very many people I knew going through the same problems, so we were kind of in the dark on the whole issue. All our kids were conceived through IUI and I found myself wondering why God wouldn’t allow us to conceive on our own. But now having so many friends deal with the same problem of infertility, I see that I can now help others or be a comforting or listening ear for those friends. We are stronger for having gone through what we did and we have five wonderful blessings :). Congrats to you and Travis on your adoption. I know little Ford will be adored and loved by you both. He is such a blessing to you and vice versa!

  4. This is such a wonderful post, Ashley! Thank you for opening up and sharing your thoughts on this! When I first met my husband, he revealed to me he was unable to have children and we happily agreed that adoption would be our route to having children. Being adopted myself, I hold high value towards the effects of adopting children and the rewards it brings both to parents and children. We didn’t want to waste time moping of this alternative route to have children, but instead focus on the delight of the journey of the adoption process. However, it was both a complete shock and miracle that Raelynn was conceived and again with our second. As you stated, you just never know what life will bring at you and that we cannot allow outside circumstances to define who we are. What we must grasp instead is the flexible attitude in how we can manage and better the situation at hand. Your son is especially handsome and of titanic proportions. . . CONGRATULATIONS!

    • Thanks Rachel, I was also thinking that those who unexpectedly get pregnant also learn a lot about relinquishing control in their lives. Adoption is not something that I would have ever expected I might do but but infertility made me realize that I could make a difference for someone else instead of continuing to spend money trying to conceive. Now, I can’t imagine anything else! So amazing that you have two beautiful children! What a wonderful blessing! :)

  5. Ashley, I have to admit, I am not nearly as strong as you are, I admire you both for what you’ve been through. I read this man’s post and so much of it I understand. Parts of infertility are not easy to talk about and have to do, maybe that’s the shame I personally deal with. I wish it were easier. I wish my friends, family and even my husband could truly understand what this medication does to me, or what its like having countless doctors appointments that are in the end just a loss of your money and another month of lost hope. Its hard for me to not identify myself right now by anything other than our infertility. I think this is the first time I have actually thought to put myself before/think of myself outside of our infertility. I have no one who knows what it’s like that I can talk to. This is very hard when you are in the thick of it. Many many many….. tears have been shed on my part, for my husbands and for my son who wants a sibling that I am not able to give him. But anyways, thanks for your openness, its been a blessing to me tonight. I need to work on being okay with whatever happens in the end. :) I barely know your or T. but am so very happy that little F. Is officially yours.

    • Cassie, thank you for sharing your experience. In the beginning, I was just like you. I used all of my energy to focus on infertility. After two unsuccessful rounds of IVF I think I came to terms with that if I never have my “own” (a term I don’t like since my adopted son could not be more my own) children. I hoped to adopt because I actually felt spending so much money trying to have biological children was somewhat selfish. In developed nations we have access to so much fertility technology and frankly its a luxury. I realized that giving a child opportunities and a future they would not normally have would be far more rewarding than anything else I could do. After I decided I could enjoy life and just enjoy the waiting process it was freeing. How can we be good wives and mothers if we are focused on things we can’t control. You can have fun and open your mind to new endeavors and possibilities. Do something nice for someone else. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own lives and problems. A life filled with appreciation helps too. Enjoy being a mom and wife, someday I hope that you will realize that they are and you are enough. Especially if you make up your mind they are ;) Best wishes to you, stay strong and do something fun soon!!

  6. Little bit of a typo there at the end (I meant you*) and I wasn’t quite done typing… :) I was going to add, F. is such a beautiful little boy… what a blessing :)

  7. I came to your blog from a pin about selfless tanner. I now know why God had me randomly looking at that. My husband and I have been on the journey of infertility for two years. We recently found out it is both of us and I have been so down. I needed this. Thank you!!!

    • Thank you for your comment :) Infertility is so tough I know sometimes it can feel like you are all alone – but hang in there! Gratitude is the best and only way to live life ;) Best wishes to you and your husband Katie!!

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