|Photo courtesy of Monica Wiesblott.|
Myth #1: You did something to cause your infertility and that's why you can't get pregnant.
According to RESOLVE there are few lifestyle choices that cause permanent damage to your fertility. I think when push comes to shove; the easiest path for most is the “blame game”.
For us the first years of our infertility was my fault; according to doctors and family at least.
I cannot tell you how often I heard that I must be doing something wrong… you must not have counted the days correctly. You must not have kept your pelvis tilted long enough? You probably didn’t have sex enough or at the right times.
If they were not focusing on our sex life; they were offering up suggestions for food, exercise, eastern medicine and rituals. In our physicians, friends and families eyes, this was entirely our fault and we had clearly overlooked something. It quickly became insulting and hurtful.
Well, we were rabbits! I have been a healthy vegetarian for close to twenty years, I had never drank, I had never smoked, I took my vitamins, I moved my body, I wasn’t overweight or underweight. I was just your average healthy Jane; nothing remarkable or special about me. We explored non-traditional medicines, exercises, meditations and non-invasive medical treatments that fit our beliefs.
When I finally complained about extreme pain (I waited several months to do this as I thought I needed to suffer to become a mother), I was told that I was overreacting to having painful periods. It was only after advocating for myself that it was discovered that there was a medical reason for my infertility, and it had NOTHING to do with my lifestyle or lack of trying.
My Infertility came from a combination of a birth defect and aggressively relentless fibroids and cysts. Nothing I could have eaten, taken, or chosen did this. Making love 24 hours a day, 7 days a week would never have changed this. It was not my fault and no one is to blame.
It is this message that is the hardest to still get thru people’s minds. The easiest route is to play the blame game; the harder choice is to be empathetic. Be tough and make the harder choices.
Written by: Monica Wiesblott from California (guest writer and artist)
Visit her website/blog: MonicaWiesblott.com
|Photo courtesy of Monica Wiesblott.|
The Fun Was All Gone
Myth #2: Infertility can be "cured", if you just try hard enough.
|Photo courtesy of Monica Wiesblott.|
There Were No Words of Comfort
Myth #3: Infertility is a lifestyle problem.
“You work too much”
“You should eat more/less. You’re too thin/big”
“You worry too much. Just relax”
“You’re always away from home”
I’m not sure how many other women have heard these things from helpful friends and family, but I don’t know a single person that is/has experienced Infertility that hasn’t had someone tell them about some diet, exercise, stress relief, what-have-you that will aid in conception. It’s like they think that it is some lifestyle choice that we’ve made that is keeping it all out of reach for us.
So what could it be about my lifestyle that is so unreceptive to having a baby? Financially stable (ish)? Eating healthy? Having a decent balance between work and home? I just can’t figure it out. We’ve even made improvements in some areas that were a bit less than ideal when we first realized we may have a problem. We are both the healthiest we’ve been, far more connected and emotionally close than we were, and are ready in every imaginable way for a little one to call our own.
Like so many infertile couples, we don’t drink (much), smoke, do drugs, catch STDs, have wild weekend parties and benders or push our bodies to some other extreme limit. We are just an average, everyday couple, doing what typical married people want to do and start a family. Infertility is not because of some choice we’ve made or not made. We just have been dealt an unfortunate hand. Nothing we change in our perceptions or routines will magically knock me up without the aid of medical mojo.
Working too much, worrying, and not being at an absolute perfect weight are not preventing my unfashionably late eggs, or too short LP (luteal phase) from being more timely. Working less and not worrying didn’t do anything to prevent the miscarriage either as I took 2 days off work to enjoy it with my husband. None of those apply to the husband’s "boys" as he’s almost always relaxed and does just what he has to at work without doing too much extra. Maybe his easy-going nature and chill demeanor is the reason his swimmers are too mellow? Finally! A downside to “relaxing”!
In all seriousness though, if lifestyle choices caused Infertility, there would be no babies born to strung-out, overdosing moms; athletes wouldn’t be able to reproduce; and teenagers and college kids wouldn’t “accidentally” get pregnant from that one night stand they can’t remember after that wild party. In fact, if more people practiced our general and reproductive health choices, there wouldn’t be Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, birth defects from lack of folic acid and other vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, or babies that are abused, starving or homeless.
If there was some fault in our life that we could change and not have to experience the heartbreak, pain, and anguish of Infertility, I’m sure all of us would do what ever was in our powers and abilities to fix it ASAP. If only it were that easy…
To suffer from Infertility is not a choice that someone makes by doing or not doing X, Y or Z. There is no change in our daily habits that can be made to magically make us fertile. By the point most couples have reached the “infertile” diagnosis, they have most likely already run the gamut of “What can we change or do to improve our chances” analysis on every aspect of their life and have probably exhausted every conceivable “fix”. At this point, Infertility becomes the lifestyle.
Infertility is not because of some inherent problem in how we are living our lives. No. We experience Infertility because of medical issues that plague our bodies. And unfortunately, there isn’t much that one can do on their own to repair or overcome what in their body is malfunctioning. That isn’t a choice that can be made without the help of medical professionals, not to mention time, effort, money, blood, sweat, and tears.
Written by: Christina from North Carolina
Visit her blog: Two's Company, Three's a Family
Myth #4: Gain weight (or lose it) and you'll get pregnant.
When I started this journey I was 25 and weighed about 95 lbs. I never felt weight would contribute to not being able to have a child. I felt it was God's way of punishing me for all the things that I had done in the past.
When I saw my RE (reproductive endocrinologist) 4 years ago, I thought "What is she going to tell me? What is wrong with me?" All the "what" questions came to me. The only thing I heard was I was unable to get pregnant due to being underweight. Granted, I never really took care of my body or myself. In some respects, I think I was anorexic. I had to maintain what I thought was a perfect body.
My RE recommended that I see a dietician. I was very nervous about meeting him. I thought that he, like my RE, would blame me for my infertility. He didn't, he knew I needed help for me. The funny thing was I was his one patient that he told to eat whatever I wanted. I drank the chocolate and vitamin D milk. I ate the pudding, eggs, and junk food with healthy foods mixed in. Within a matter of months, I gained 20 pounds. I'm now a healthy 115 pounds and proud of my accomplishments. My current RE and social worker both praised me for a job well done.
Here it is 4 years later and still no baby, but currently at 110. I have given up drinking pop and alcohol. I can't give up chocolate, but eat it in some moderation. Although maybe the eating helped regulate my cycle and help me to ovulate. I don't really know, but what I do know is that no matter the size of a woman, they can still get pregnant.
Written by: Melissa Landsperger from Pennysylvania (member, Ladies in Waiting Book Club)
Learn more about Infertility at Resolve's website: