You Are Not Alone: Finding Ways to Ease Your Fertility Journey | myMindBodyBaby
I remember the moment I first tried to ask another woman if she was also struggling to get pregnant. My heart was racing, I felt a little flushed… I was nervous. Anxious to broach this seemingly taboo topic.
Infertility is seemingly taboo
At that point, my husband and I had been struggling to get pregnant ourselves for the past three years. We, like many others, had kept our struggles under wraps. There is this antiquated notion that if you are having trouble getting pregnant you shouldn’t say anything about it. All over the world, those struggling to get pregnant are secretly visiting fertility clinics and trying to fit in weekly, sometimes daily, fertility appointments while attempting to go about their daily life as if nothing is wrong. Infertility is not a mainstream social topic and, as such, support for those who cannot get pregnant on their own is limited.
Research has shown “women with infertility felt as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or recovering from a heart attack” (1). There are well-known resources and support groups patients can turn to for these other devasting diagnoses, but the support for infertility is limited.
Finding a friend
Back to my conversation with the friend I suspected was struggling. She had mentioned she had to head home early from the birthday party we were both at because she had an early morning appointment. At 7 am. On a Sunday. I summoned my courage and said, “There is really only one kind of medical appointment I can think of that happens at 7 am on a Sunday” and we looked at each other and realized we had found a comrade in each other. Someone else who understood what it was like to wade through the cycle monitoring trenches. To hide tears in the office washroom. To scream “IT’S NOT FAIR!” into your pillow at night. I was farther along in the journey than she was and I was able to share my experiences and offer support, and she was able to help me feel like I wasn’t so alone.
This was a turning point for me. I realized not only the comfort I could find in opening up and connecting with others who were also struggling, but the comfort I could provide to someone else. My husband and I are one of the fortunate ones for whom IVF (eventually…) worked, and we had our first child in July of 2016. Along the way, I, like many other fertility warriors, developed a sixth sense for spotting others who were struggling. I would open up the conversation on fertility to allow them to share what they were going through if they were comfortable.
Support is personal
You see, while infertility shouldn’t be a taboo topic and support for those struggling needs to increase – it doesn’t mean everyone needs to shout to the world what they are going through. While for some people it helps to tell others around them, others might be more comfortable keeping their journey to themselves. There is no right way to navigate your fertility journey. The one consistent element is finding what is right for you.
Did you know that the psychological burden of fertility treatments is the #1 reason patients with fertility coverage drop out of treatment before they are able to get pregnant (2, 3, 4)? Let me say that again. The mental anguish of going through the countless negative cycles, the endless disappointment, the insurmountable uncertainty, the strain on your relationship, the lack of clarity and answers is what are stopping patients from ultimately getting pregnant.
This is why we created myMindBodyBaby – everything we do is to increase awareness of and support for those struggling to grow their families. One in six people trying to conceive cannot get pregnant (in Canada). Globally, at least 50 million couples experience infertility. In fact, more women in Canada are diagnosed with infertility than diabetes and it is twice as prevalent as heart disease. Yet, awareness and support for infertility are a fraction of that for other less widespread diseases. Getting pregnant is hard enough, finding the support and answers you need to navigate your journey a little more simply shouldn’t have to be.
Lighten your load
During Canadian Infertility Awareness Week 2021 we put together a panel of experts to help lighten your load. These experts shared their advice on how:
– You can use nutrition to support your fertility
– To manage the financial burden of fertility treatments
– To leverage exercise to your advantage to support fertility + relieve stress
– You can utilize mindfulness techniques to get through the really hard parts
– Your relationship can be strengthened during the trials of infertility
We spoke with each of these experts live but have all the replays available for you to watch! We have also compiled all of the experts’ key takeaways in a downloadable handbook so you can keep their advice on hand throughout your journey.
Struggling to get pregnant is hard. But it doesn’t have to be this hard. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know where you are in your journey and how you’re doing today. We are here for you.