I have been missing writing lately, but the couple of times I have opened up my blog to add a post after a 3.5 year absence it hasn’t felt quite right, so perhaps I should clear the air. With April Fools approaching it seems a good time.
I have always strived to inject a humorous undertone in my writing, even when I’m actually quite worked up about an issue. Even the serious posts have been sprinkled with sarcasm for some comic relief. Over the last few years life has just seemed a bit too heavy to find the bright side, and try as I might I could not find my voice. Circumstances plus postpartum depression (and lets face it, the circumstances probably fuelled the PPD) did not make for a happy time. Some of this I will keep private (2014, you’re dead to me), but I feel it is important to share the struggles that J & I have faced these last two years because maybe somebody will read my posts and feel less alone. God knows how often I searched the Internet late into the night, looking for others who were sharing their similar stories.
Today, this image showed up on my Facebook newsfeed:
I cried because it reminded me that last April 1st was not a good social media day for me. In February 2016 J & I, after a year of trying to conceive without success, received a general diagnosis of Secondary Male Factor Infertility and the prognosis only got worse from there after each embarrassing and painful test. Although we did eventually beat the odds late last year (much to the shock of our medical team), pregnancy after infertility or pregnancy loss is not experienced the same as a pregnancy achieved by a couple who have never experienced either. I know because I have now experienced both. I’m grateful for people that are spreading the message that fake pregnancy announcements are not funny. Not. Remotely. Funny.
Did you know that in Canada 1 in 6 couples experience some form of infertility? In the United States that number is 1 in 8. Worldwide, the figure jumps to 1 in 4. I can tell you right now that before February 2016 I was unaware of these stats, and at that point I had been on this earth for 32 years. Male factor infertility? Literally didn’t know it existed. Secondary infertility? Nope. Wasn’t aware that was a thing either. Pregnancy loss is more visible, but no less painful. In fact, couples experiencing pregnancy loss are often expected to return to life as usual within an incredibly short period of time even by those who were privy to the loss. Their pain is minimized by society at large, which must only bring on a whole other level of pain, guilt and shame.
Infertility carries a lot of guilt and shame too. Infertility takes over. It destroys marriages. It destroys happiness. I’m not saying that it always does, or that everyone copes (or fails to cope) in the same manner, but what I am saying is I just didn’t know it could, and if you haven’t experienced it you probably didn’t know either. People say a lot of dumb stuff to infertile couples, and they just don’t know how painful it can be to have to hear them. I do hope to share more about different aspects of our infertility journey with you in the coming weeks and in typing this I hope it serves to hold me accountable to my intentions. For now I will leave you with this PSA from us Womb Warriors:
Don’t be a social media fool this April 1st. Fake pregnancy announcements haven’t ever been and won’t ever be funny. I assure you that someone you love has suffered in silence with infertility or pregnancy loss. Guilt, shame and/or embarrassment keep many people from speaking their struggles aloud. These posts are heartbreaking to a woman who may never feel life quicken in her womb, a woman who has lost a life that once grew there, or a man who may never know the joy of holding his precious newborn.