Ten things that every family struggling with infertility wants you to know.

1. We are super happy and pleased for our pregnant friends. That doesn’t mean that at the same time we are not desperately sad for ourselves. Yes we are thrilled and over the moon when our friends tell us that they are expecting. And we are thrilled and over the moon to meet all the darling bundles of joy. And we love them as much as we love our friends. But there is a pain like no other in watching all of your friends fall pregnant and have babies while nothing happens for you.

2. Baby showers are horrific. It is genuinely so nice to be invited to a baby shower. It’s really sweet to be asked to come along and share in something that is so exciting for you. But for us… baby showers are worse than hearing pregnancy announcements. We find them excruciatingly painful and really difficult to get through. Knowing that we have a baby shower looming on the horizon really sends us off into a spiral of darkness that is difficult to break out of. And then there’s the guilt. We should be happy for our friends. How selfish are we for being so upset? These negative thoughts fuel the depression and the anxiety until it all bubbles over and we end up a blubbering mess on the morning of the shower. We would like nothing more than to curl up in our pyjamas on these days and not get out of bed.

3. Saying “it will happen” is not helpful. We know you’re trying to find the right words… but in actual fact, there are no guarantees. It might never happen. We would much rather you just be there and listen and acknowledge our feelings than try to give us false hope with empty statements like “keep trying”. We are trying. We are trying as bloody hard as we can!

4. Infertility is exhausting. The drugs and the hospital visits and the never ending cycle of hope and crushing disappointment is soul sucking. We feel as though we are going through the motions, caught in an endless cycle of hormones and charting and tracking. Then comes the hope, the belief that maybe this month might be the one that does it. Followed, inevitably by the crash. The grief and the heartbreak comes back with a vengeance as we throw an adult sized tantrum. There are tears and screaming and sleepless nights. And then we get up the next day and start all over again.

5. There is bitterness. We can’t help it. The knowledge that some families make a plan about what they want … and then have their plans turn out exactly how they wanted. That’s tough. Try being the women who had a plan 3 years ago… After the bitterness comes the guilt.

6. We would never wish this on our worst enemies. Seriously.

7. Fertility treatment is horrendous. The things that happen to our bodies are horrific. After repeated cycles of curling into a ball and crying because we can’t move from pain… it’s nearly enough to put you off wanting to continue. Except that it isn’t.

8. Men hurt too. But for men there is an expectation to be “the strong one”; to support their partner through what is a traumatic experience physically and emotionally. Husbands, boyfriends or fiancés that are experiencing infertility in their relationships will often feel that they can’t talk about it. It’s a bit of a guy thing to bottle up your feelings, I suppose. Doesn’t mean that they’re not hurting inside just as much. But they feel helpless and lost, not knowing how best to deal with the situation.

9. Don’t say “I know exactly how you feel”. Even if you had been through the exact same set of circumstances that we’ve been through, you still wouldn’t know exactly how we feel. So avoid those words or we might just punch you in the throat! Seriously. We have had to bite our tongue soooo hard on being told that one. Again. As with point 3 – thank you for trying to find the words… but please reconsider your choice of vocabulary next time.

10. We need our friends. We need distraction and we need fun and we need love. It’s a hard road to go down. It is really isolating. But it is made easier by people who care and people who acknowledge and appreciate how we feel. We love our friends so so much. And we hope that they can put up with our ups and downs and stick with us through the tantrums and the mood swings and the disappointments. And together we keep our fingers crossed that maybe…just maybe… this month might bring us luck.

Fertility Network UK

For all of you suffering. Hang in there. ❤️

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