Infertility is a time when individuals and couples feel alone and different from friends, coworkers, and their families. Even though 1 in 8 couples struggle to become pregnant, why is it a time where we feel so alone, and how do we handle the stress that this unwanted experience places upon our lives.
Let’s face it, everyone has a different coping mechanism for stress associated with infertility. Some try to find an answer through supplements, herbal teas, yoga, and fertility focused diets. Some of my closest girlfriends have admitted they would indulge in pizza several times a week and drink an entire bottle of wine after a BFN. Some put on their best armor shield, you would have no idea anything is going on in their life, while others have expanded their family with furbabies.
For me, I my two main coping mechanisms were comedy and travel. I would binge watch SNL, Jimmy Fallon, and as Whose Line Is it Anyway while I would plan fun and adventurous vacations from items on our bucket list.
The vacations were a wonderful distraction The planning kept me occupied and busy and kept my thoughts at bay. But after those vacations, the only thing that I had left to hold onto were the wonderful memories. My pain was still there and so were the stressors of the next steps ahead.
That is why tangible things like clothes, vacations, and food are only a temporary fix to alleviate our stress. It’s the human connection and vulnerability that bring real healing from the pain and bring connection to our experience.
Infertility changes you - it changes your relationship with your partner, and it changes how your view your current relationships. It’s difficult to relate to others who haven’t experienced the same as you, and that is one reason why more and more couples are turning to social media outlets to connect with others experiencing the same or similar journeys.
Couples aren’t just talking about their struggles and loss behind closed doors, there are communities on many different social media platforms to help individuals and couples experiencing struggles with infertility to connect with one another and join forces to support the human connection.
My real healing only came when I started to open up to people about our journey. I was very protective of our story in the beginning because there were so many unknowns. It was only when I slowly started to offer up pieces of information here and there, that I was able to connect with other amazing women and couples and from that I gained a better understanding of not only my purpose for this journey, but my own strength.