April 29, 2017 by Jake
I’m doing the guest writer thing this week. Not because I have nothing to write about, but because even though today is National Tabletop Day, this whole week means more to our family that my wife can articulate much better. I am going to wish everyone a happy Tabletop Day right now and tonight I am going to spend some time with my friends and family on some other venues of entertainment. Tomorrow I might see a good friend and play some games with him.
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. It is an issue that a few years ago meant virtually nothing to me. I encourage you to learn more about people struggling with the issue my wife and I are faced with, and am so proud to be married to a partner who will not only play games with me and support me, but can speak out about things she is passionate about. Here is the letter she posted on social media, thank you for listening. God bless and have fun today!
For those that don’t know this week is national infertility awareness week. Last year during #NIAW I struggled with whether or not to write something about infertility. Over the last year or so I have shared a lot more articles/posts about infertility. Some of our family and close friends know Jake and I have been struggling for a while with infertility. We’ve been dreaming of a family for years. 1 in 8 couples struggle to build a family. The CDC estimates that 15% of couples in America struggle with infertility. Infertility does not discriminate based on race, religion, sexuality or economic status. You never know how badly you want something until you are told that it might not be possible.
Many people casually ask when we are planning on children or if we’re ever planning on children. I’m not sure you realize exactly how painful that question is for us, how much I cringe inside and want to cry each time it’s asked. We’ve been trying for years to have a family. And honestly it’s not your business when, if, how, or where we have children. The only people involved in making that decision will be Jacob and I. I would like to ask you to think about the question you’re asking and why you’re asking it. Is it to make small talk? There are 25,000 other things we’d like to talk about other than our sex life. Our infertility struggle is not a topic of conversation for small talk. Is it because there are really cute kids in a leadline class at the horse show? Guess what – we think they are adorable too, this isn’t a segue into asking us about our plans for children. We cannot wait for the day our kids get to ride around that ring for the first time. Our feeling is it’s rude to ask if/when we’re going to have children. And if you keep asking people that question one day you are going to ask the wrong person. A person who may be dealing with pregnancy loss or another failed attempt at IVF or something else. You don’t know what they are dealing with and it’s not your business. If they wanted you to know, you wouldn’t need to ask.
This being said, we’ve told some close friends and family that we are going through this struggle. This struggle has changed me in ways that I cannot begin to understand. For me, my struggle with anxiety has become a lot harder. There are times where all I want to do is go to bed and sleep or dwell on a little comment someone made about us not having children yet. Sometimes even looking at Facebook is unbearable. Please don’t tell us to ‘relax and it will happen’ or ‘maybe it’s not in God’s plan for you’. Those comments are some of the most hurtful things you can say to us. Please realize that successful infertility treatment does not happen for everyone. The majority of the people we’ve told have been super supportive and helpful. Sometimes we need to talk about it other times we can barely hold ourselves together and need a distraction. Please be patient with us.
I’ve had the topic of adoption brought up to me as a means to ‘solve’ our infertility. We’ve been asked from some people about adoption to expand our family. While I believe adoption is a wonderful thing, I do not feel it is the right option for us at this time. I would like to ask people to think about the question “why don’t you just adopt?” Really think about it. If you have biological children of your own and I was to ask you why didn’t you ‘just adopt?’ How would you feel? The words ‘just adopt’ are awful. Please think before you ask that kind of question. Adoption may not be possible for every couple.
For us our fertility journey is hopefully headed in a positive direction. We’ve met with our doctors and decided on a patch that is leading us both in a healthier direction. The main reason for our infertility is I have a condition called Poly-Cystic Ovary Syndrome(PCOS). This causes a number of things to happen in the body; it seems the majority of women with PCOS have a wide variety of symptoms and severity to those symptoms. 10 percent of women of childbearing age are affected by PCOS, but less than half are diagnosed. PCOS is responsible for 70 percent of infertility issues in women. Like myself, millions of women right now have no idea they are affected by this disease. For me it makes me struggle with my weight and it makes my body cycle irregularly. My body will not release eggs, they start to get ready to be released but then get interrupted and never get released. With our doctors, some good self reflection and discussion we have decided that weight is a factor in our infertility. For this reason I am pursuing weight loss surgery. My weight has been an issue my entire life due in large part to hormonal imbalance. Traditional diets simply don’t get much done for me. The hope is that losing weight will positively effect our chances of conceiving without assistance, having a normal pregnancy and lead to a healthy lifestyle. While some people believe this is an easy way out, I can tell you this is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. This is the right decision for myself, my husband and our family. So far I have been lucky to have nothing but support around me. I am looking forward to the positive changes ahead of Jake and I. I am ready for this challenge pray that it points us in the direction we hope for.
If you’ve read this far thank you from the bottom for my heart for taking the time to read about our infertility struggle. Posting this was an incredibly personal decision. For more information about infertility and supporting those struggling with it please check out www.resolve.org