By Natalie Edwards
In this blog post, guest blogger Natalie Edwards shares her story of dealing with infertility and all the emotions she experienced on her journey to getting pregnant.
Shock/Disbelief. Denial. Bargaining. Guilt. Anger. Depression. Acceptance/Hope.
These are the seven stages of grief. That’s how I describe what going through infertility is like to anyone who asks. These stages happen over and over again, every month. It may seem silly, or a bit over dramatic, to some because not many people are educated on the subject of infertility. I know I wasn’t until it was me going through this gut-wrenching process. I didn’t know that 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant. Or that 1 in 4 women have experienced a miscarriage. I had no idea that I would become the 1 in both statistics.
Here’s why I believe going through infertility is like going through the seven stages of grief. The following are thoughts and experiences I commonly had. I have also talked with many other women and couples and found they had similar thoughts and experiences. I am in no way speaking for every woman or couple out there, but I am trying to shed some light on how heartbreaking and emotionally and mentally draining infertility can be.
This can’t be happening to ME, can it? We aren’t going to need treatment just to have a baby, are we? What do you mean I have to do fertility treatments?
No. This is NOT happening to me. I’m healthy. I’m doing all the right things. How could this be happening to me? How can this be so hard? Isn’t this what my body was made to do?
Please, God, if I am blessed with a child I promise to be the best mom I can possibly be. I promise to do better in the world. I promise to go to church more often. I promise to be a better wife to my husband. I promise to do whatever it is You want me to. Just please, please, bless me with a child.
Maybe I am doing something wrong. Maybe I should cut out all caffeine completely. Maybe I need to try (insert diet here) instead. Maybe that one glass of wine I had last month is the reason why it didn’t work this cycle. My poor husband — all he wants is a child and I can’t give it to him. He deserves to be a dad. He deserves to be with someone who can give him a child.
This is supposed to be easy. This is what women were made to do. How is she pregnant again?! She didn’t even want another child. This is unfair. We would be better parents than those drug addicts. And those child abusers? Why in the HELL have they been given the blessing of having one or multiple children?
I am no good. I am worthless. My body is worthless. I can’t do what I was made to do. What is the point anymore? Why do I even keep trying? I don’t have the energy to function. I just want to lie in bed all day.
Okay, maybe it will happen this next cycle. Maybe it just wasn’t supposed to happen yet. Maybe, just maybe, there truly is a reason why I haven’t gotten pregnant yet. It will get better. I WILL be a mom one day, no matter the means in which it happens. Everything will be okay.
Imagine having this cycle of thoughts every single month. Infertility can be a VERY lonely road. Especially when the subject is still taboo. We kept our journey hush-hush for a long time before opening up about our struggle.
Our journey with infertility began in 2015. After trying to conceive naturally for a year, we were referred to an infertility specialist in 2016. Testing showed no reason as to why we were having trouble getting pregnant. We fell into the “unexplained” category which made the situation even more frustrating. We started off with me taking a drug to help the pituitary gland release hormones needed to stimulate ovulation. After three cycles of the drug not working, we added a trigger shot to trigger ovulation along with the medication. When that didn’t work, we did those two things plus Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). Our first session failed, so we moved onto our second, knowing that if three failed we would have to reevaluate and consider In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
My husband and I were blessed with an amazing little boy after more than a year and a half of trying and our second IUI. I know that time is small in comparison to what some couples endure, but that doesn’t lessen the pain and emotional struggle we went through. If you are struggling with infertility, know that it is okay to feel what you are feeling. Not everyone will understand, but there are more of us that know what you are going through than you think. You are not alone.
Natalie Edwards and her husband, Joseph, live in Germany, with their three-year old son, Lorenzo. Joseph is serving in the U.S. Army. Natalie is a stay-at-home mom and wholeheartedly recommends RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association for information and support for couples dealing with infertility.
Thank you, Natalie, for sharing your insightful story of courage, perseverance and hope with our readers.
If you have a story to share about participating in a clinical trial, overcoming adversity, or living with a chronic condition, please let us know. We’d love to have you guest blog for us. Guest blogging helps others learn about your struggles and increases awareness and understanding. We will help promote your website and social media accounts as well as your favorite advocacy group. Contact us to get started sharing your story now!