Saturday, April 28, 2012

national infertility awareness week

This past week, the 22-29th, was National Infertility Awareness Week.  I wasn't going to do a post because I wasn't feeling well and I feel like I talk about infertility awareness all the time on here...telling people to not complain about pregnancy and motherhood and cherish the blessings they have and basically not be insensitive morons.  (Too bad when it comes to face-to-face conflict I totally freeze up.)  So, I decided to change my approach and give what little advice to infertile couples I can offer.  Keep in mind that I'm still learning and growing, but here are a few things I've learned.
  1. Read Infertility: Help, Hope, and Healing by Kerstin Daynes.  This book saved me.  I can't tell you how many times I've been reading and thought, "Oh my gosh!  That's NORMAL?!" Infertility can make you feel like a crazy person.  You experience all of these extreme (and sometimes odd) feelings and thoughts and it can make you feel as if you've lost your mind.  You haven't.  And this book will prove it.  Read it as often as the pain permits.  Confession: I'm not all the way done.  I've had it for about two years.  Reading is my escape, so often, I don't want to read about infertility.  But, whenever I read it, I come away feeling inspired and nourished. 
  2. Establish or find a support group.  I cannot stress enough what a comfort it is to have friends who know what you're going through because they have gone through it, or are going through it.  They are the only ones who can truly understand some of those crazy thoughts and feelings I was talking about earlier.  Other women can't understand no matter how hard they try because they simply haven't been there.  And your husband, as understanding as he may be, isn't wired like a woman.  He isn't born with the innate and powerful instinct and desire to create and care for a human being.  Yes, men want to 'spread their seed' but they have no biological clock ticking like a time-bomb in their heads.  Others do.  There are other women out there who get it and can offer support, advice, and understanding.  I started a private blog as a virtual support group.  All of the authors are women who have dealt with, or are dealing with infertility, premature birth, and other Woes of the Womb.  It's a safe place where you can vent, share, and word vomit without hurting anyone, or anyone hurting you.  No judgement, just love.  If you or someone you know would like to be a part of it, e-mail me!
  3. Focus on the gospel.  Go to church even though it makes you want to shoot yourself.  Try not to focus on lessons the same way everyone else does.  The LDS faith is very family-oriented because that is what we are commanded to do...have a family.  It can be so hard sometimes to go and be surrounded by families and listen to doctrine about raising a family when you feel you don't have one.  But you do.  You and your husband are a family.  Try to apply the lessons to your marriage, or store them up for later when you will get to be a mother.  Remember that if you keep the commandments and are faithful you WILL fulfill the measure of your creation.  Every righteous woman will be a mother someday, whether in this life or the next.  Try to focus on what God would have you learn from this trial.  Focus on learning and growing and bettering yourself each day for that future child, for your husband, and for yourself.  Focus on your personal relationship with your Heavenly Father.  Tell Him your thoughts and fears and feelings.  Lean on Him.  Pray for help, always.  Pray for patience.  Study and ponder the stories of our amazing ancestors who were also infertile.  You can gain strength from Sarah who bore Isaac in old age, Isaac's wife, Rebecca who bore twins after 21 years, Hannah who bore Samuel, The fertile vs. infertile sisters Leah and Rachel, and Elizabeth who bore John the Baptist!  Realize that the same kind of miracles can happen today.  God moved mountains to get me to my parents and that is no less miraculous.  (Also, be grateful you're not dealing with other wives...whew!)
  4. Focus on your marriage.  You have all this extra time together, so make it count.  You can't be a mom (yet) so be the best wife.  Be the best wife EVER.  Have fun together.  Go out without having to hire a babysitter.  Walk around naked.  Stay up late and sleep in.  Eat junk.  Go on non-kid friendly dates.  Wear pretty dry-clean only clothes.  Act like kids.  Play with each other.  Establish a weekly date night.  Husband and I have decided to complete every date on this list in the next two years (minus the alcohol ones):  http://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/advice/100-date-ideas   Date. Date. Date.  Talk. Talk. Talk.  Talk about your feelings.  Talk about everything.  Talk about how you can better your marriage.  Pray together, study the scriptures together, attend the temple together, support each other in your callings.  Don't let infertility ruin your sex life.  This can be really hard and although I don't have experience in this (since we're technically not infertile) I think the best advice here is to ask for help.  Seek help from a therapist or self-help books.  Talk about it with your husband.  Discuss ways to make your sex life healthy and special again.
  5. Hobbies are important.  Not just for infertile women but all women.  We're all dealing with a lot.  Find an outlet whether it be art, baking, running, music, writing, reading, gardening, dancing or all of the above.  Finding a hobby you and your husband can do together can be fun too!
  6. Let it make you better, not bitter.  People suck sometimes.  But you don't.  Don't stoop to their level and don't let Satan use you as his tool.  You're better than that.  When you get hurt, dust yourself off and continue on.  Don't let it stalemate you.  Satan hates progress, so progress the shit out of your life!  Kick this trial's ass!  Show Satan who's boss.  Show him he's not winning.  When you're mad, be mad, then forgive and forget.  Don't let this trial harden your heart, but let it enlarge it to prepare for your reward in heaven.  Never give up.  Never surrender.
As for our situation, we've had a few health setbacks and consequently financial setbacks, so our goal has changed a little, but we have faith in the Lord's timing and we know when the time is right, everything will line up perfectly. Right now, we just have to keep doing our part and He will do His.

1 comment:

e said...

as always you inspire me chels. heart you.