Lessons learned from a three-year infertility journey

Infertility can often feel like an endless cycle of anticipation and disappointment. My husband and I are at the three-year anniversary of trying to conceive, but instead of viewing infertility as a burden, I’m appreciating everything my life has become instead.

My communication with my partner is stronger than ever.

I completely understand how going through infertility can drive couples apart. Nothing prepares you for the hollowness of uncertainty, the fear that everything that could go wrong at every step, the inevitable blame you silently throw each other’s way for elements beyond anyone’s control.

I was lucky that my husband and I were on the same page about what we wanted to do and when, but even we learned quickly that we needed to over communicate and check in on how we were feeling more often than usual. 

My relationship with my body is the healthiest it’s ever been.

After we knew of our infertility but before we started treatments, I spent a year as a spin instructor and watched my body get stronger. Once I learned I had endometriosis I ate to reduce inflammation and gave up alcohol and caffeine. I came to pay attention to the littlest signs in my body and had a near epiphany when I realized how my external actions affected what was going on inside.

Now I know to give myself a break if my body isn’t performing as it should or if I’m not in the best mood. My body has gone through a lot and I’m thankful it’s gotten me this far.

I finally learned how to set boundaries and ask for what I need.

I’ve always kept busy and pushed myself to be all things to all people, but infertility forced me to take a break and make my well being a priority. At work, it meant asking to work from home to make my appointments. With family and friends, it meant bowing out of baby showers and Mother’s Day if what I really needed was to nap and cry. It meant texting my close friends to share my vulnerabilities and have them validated.

For myself it meant doing less, prioritizing exercise for my mental health as much as my physical body, getting plenty of sleep and doing things that nourished me, not depleted me.

I appreciate everything just a little bit more.

We’re still hopeful for a baby and are far from giving up, but even if our story doesn’t result in a child, we know we’ll have a happy ending because of all we have already. And if I do become pregnant, I know I’ll be a better mother and am already a better person for what I’ve been through.

I never thought I would view these years as a blessing in disguise. I may not yet have what I want, but I’ve been given what I so desperately need.

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This article originally published in November 2019 issue. Read the rest of the issue.  

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