Infertile Thoughts: Part 1

hear01_infertility-1I have wanted to write a post on this for a while now as it is a topic that I unfortunately hear about way too often.  Infertility is an issue that I have dealt with personally and continue to think about every single day of my life.  To be honest, I don’t even know where to begin as there is just so much to talk about and  I am sure you will hear a lot more from me on this. I thought I would just start with talking about some of the things that helped me get through the endurance contest of it all.

I kind of relate the whole experience to having, say, a panic attack or getting hit by a car… unless you have been there, it is hard to really tap into the emotional and physical toil of it all.   Statistics say that 10% of the population is affected but to me, and it’s perhaps just the age demographic that I am in, the numbers seem even higher.   Without going into too much of the background detail “infertility” is diagnosed as a “failure to conceive naturally within a year.”    Some of the main reasons as to why so many women are affected are attributed to factors such as  1) age —  women are putting off childbearing until later in life resulting in poorer egg quality,  2)  a medical problem such as endometriosis or a male factor problem) or 3) it is simply “unexplained”.

For most women who have been down this road, it’s like getting the wind completely knocked out of you — it turns your entire world upside down.   In a time where women are used to achieving so much in school, their careers., etc;  being faced with something as devastating as not being able to start a much longed for family really hits to the core.  To add insult to injury, there is also a shame that comes when it doesn’t happen “naturally” or when one can’t carry a pregnancy to term that women feel inadequate and very alone – like their bodies have failed them.

Along my journey as an “unexplained” case, I felt like I had to take my health and emotional well-being into my own hands. Even living in New York where I have access to the top doctors, the experience is still one that is very isolating and takes work.   After several miscarriages I was sent to the ole “fertility clinic” for tests, tests and more tests.   I was poked, prodded and felt like a complete and total lab rat.  I sat in waiting rooms filled with women just like me, month after month.   I was always sent away with a band-aid on my arm and told I was just having “bad luck” and to “keep trying.”

I sought out the medical community, nutrition experts and the advice of Easter Healers.  I did acupuncture and read book after book to keep me on track.  I learned so much about myself during this time and it gave me inspiration to push ahead.  In the end, I was indeed one of the lucky ones and wound up with healthy twin girls after it was discovered, by a new doctor, that I had a progesterone deficiency.

The road to pregnancy can be an endurance contest.  For some it is easy, for others, not so much, but in the end I think that the journey to motherhood is was really bonds women together.    What I found is that when I opened my mouth to talk about what I was going through how the flood gates opened with other people who have experienced the same thing and it made me feel less alone.

Here are some of books that really helped keep me strong through it all and gave me the confidence to keep going.  I have passed these books along to many friends who found them comforting in what I would consider the most stressful time in a woman’s life.

1.) Conquering Infertility: Dr. Alice Domar’s Mind/Body Guide to Enhancing Fertility and Coping with Infertility

2.) A Few Good Eggs: Two Chicks Dish on Overcoming the Insanity of Infertility

3.) Inconceivable: A Woman’s Triumph over Despair and Statistics

Other things worth looking into:

Resolve is a wonderful organization that has a lot of support groups and fights for reproductive rights.

In her own sweet time — A single woman’s investigation of modern day reproductive options.



Comments (12)

January 20, 2010

Many of my girlfriends or women I meet have more or less serious problem with infertility or conceiving naturally. It seems to be one of the major problems of modern times, and I can only imagine how difficult it all must be…
Thanks for sharing this with us Dina. x

January 20, 2010

I’m one of the lucky ones, after 5 years of infertility.
It’s really really hard!

January 20, 2010

I am a mother to three now but three prior miscarriages lead me exactly to the place you are describing. The fear, the dispair, the sensation of “losing control” of my body after being taught that you can “get things” if you try hard. And as you say, 10% seems a rather small figure when you speak to friends, colleagues or just surf the web. Thanks for sharing this.


January 20, 2010

Thanks for sharing. We too had “bad luck” or as we liked to call it “bad rolls of the genetic dice.” We ultimately had our son via egg donor. While it was a long hard road of many losses and sorrows, we believe we just had to wait for our son. It was well worth the wait, I can’t imagine the world otherwise. Of course, we are the lucky ones. I know too many who have done rounds and rounds of IVF and nothing, that is heartbreaking.

January 20, 2010

Thank you for reminding us how lucky we were and not taking for granted the two healthy boys we have! My first pregnancy was very difficult for one of my friends who had been trying for a long time without any results. She also told me afterwards about the enormous stress it put onto her relationship with her partner (all the hormonal treatments, operations and consultations) and friendships with pregnant female friends at the time. Luckely her story ended well after trying for 4.5 years, with the birth of a beautiful little girl!
Thank you for sharing your story Dina!

January 20, 2010

My husband and I spent many, many years and many, many more euros on cycle after cycle of fertility treatment until we were finally lucky enough to have a healthy baby girl. A couple of years later we decided to give it one more shot to see if we could have another child and we swore to ourselves that this would be it, no matter what the outcome. And what happened….I promptly became pregnant with triplets, against all odds. So after years of trying in vain to have children and after a lifetime practically of defending a woman’s right to have an abortion, I found myself in the heartbreaking position of having children I wasn’t prepared for and which I was equally unprepared to give up on. All of this to say that you never know how things will turn out and to all those women out there crying with anger and frustration and just sheer hormonal confusion (all those injections!!) – BE PATIENT, YOU’LL GET THERE.

January 20, 2010

Thank you dina for sharing your experience. I passed the same situation and after four unsuccesfull IVF (i can seriously say…all over the world!) i finally got a beautiful baby boy. My problem was endomethriosis but i had to wait for an american doctor to understand exactely what was the problem!
My suggestion is to insist, sometimes it happens when you think you don’t have any possibility left.

January 20, 2010

Dina, great post. It really helps me remember how lovely it is to have these little kids!

January 20, 2010

It really must be so hard and like you I seem to have lots of friends nowadays who have had difficulties and it is really tough. I often feel unable to talk to them about these things because of having been so lucky with both my pregnancies – I love that now at least pointing them in the direction of this post and the books you’ve suggested might at least make them feel less alone and it is so uplifting to hear of these positive outcomes.

January 21, 2010

Thanks Ladies for sharing all your stories/comments!!! I am simply shocked by how many people have been faced with this emotional roller coaster. I feel so sad when I hear about others having trouble because the sadness that I had is always there. It’s funny…even with an amazing outcome in the end-I am haunted by it. It also reminds me that even on the hard days with my girls…when they don’t listen and whine and push my buttons, how very very very lucky I am to have them. The lesson in it all was beyond powerful for me.

January 23, 2010

Great post, Dina. Thanks for sharing. After 7 years of infertility, I have a darling 2 year old daughter and am currently pregnant with twins. You are exactly right about it being terribly isolating. Once I blogged about my experience, and really delved into my emotional struggles with it, my family and friends, and even friends of friends, thanked me for my honestly and insight. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they were all so grateful to gain a deeper understanding of the process and the emotional, physical, and financial toll it takes. In the midst of it, it’s easy to assume that no one really gets how difficult it is, or frankly, even cares. I think it just takes more people like you, opening up and sharing your story. And maybe it won’t always be such a lonely place.

March 12, 2010

Thanks so much for your story and the links Dina.
I am three years in this month. I’m still incredibly hopeful that we will get our miracle!

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