Club Chat: Three Infertility Survival Tips
Imagine you have a kind of disease. Say, it's a disease or condition that isn’t visible, like fibromyalgia, but it still has a major impact on your life. This condition isn’t well-understood by many, and minimized by most. You’ll probably have to visit multiple doctors to get this condition diagnosed and treated, mostly because there are many who will act like they know what to do to resolve it, but don't actually have the wherewithal to do so. Your condition is infertility. It is not a condition that will take your life, but it will definitely hamper, if not halt altogether, your ability to create life, which can have big emotional and psychological ramifications.
There are many solutions to infertility, as varied as the couples who experience it, but those solutions generally fall into four categories: medical, adoption, foster parenting, and surrogacy. I myself tried to solve my infertility medically, with hormone pills, surgeries, artificial inseminations, and an in-vitro procedure. Lindsey Redfern of TheRHouse, our friend, has two adopted children. For Adrienne Arieffe, who we talked about here, surrogacy was the right answer. Whatever you do, there are some important things to keep in mind, which were mentioned during a recent on-line chat with Adrienne and other infertility sufferers.
1-Do your homework.
This is so important, in the context of understanding your symptoms, communicating with doctors or other professionals involved in helping you get a baby, and researching doctors/professionals/adoption agencies. Don’t trust one source alone. Ideally, involve your partner in the process.
2 – Be your own advocate.
Your doctor or adoption agent is not necessarily going to be solely your advocate. My sister‘s doctor recommended she have a full hysterectomy for uterine fibroids; after visits with several other doctors, she found a much more viable option and it became apparent that the first doctor had made his recommendation based on insurance reimbursements, not her needs. Whatever option you pursue, you will likely spend a fair amount of time answering questions from friends and family. Some women choose not to share the details of their battle, and that's okay. Others tend to talk a lot, as I did, in the interest of raising awareness, correcting misconceptions, and gaining support. Keep in mind that whichever approach you take, there will likely be those who will still misunderstand, even disagree, among your circle of acquaintance. Says Adrienne: "Let the naysayers be that. You can't let other people get you down."
3 - Find support.
Ryley, a member of the chat who was both born by surrogacy and a surrogate mother, says, "It seems like everyone bends over backwards to give the surrogates support but the intended (biological) parents have no clue what to expect either." So she has two surrogate support groups on Facebook: one through her agency and one state group. There are support groups offered through Resolve, the national infertility association as well. If you do not find sufficient support from your husband, partner, friends, family, blog followers, or therapists, consider joining a support group for people in similar circumstances. Infertility can be a lonely road, but you shouldn't try to walk it completely alone.
If you suffer from infertility, chances are you will, at one time or another, feel you have been unfairly excluded from the club of motherhood. Take heart in knowing that you most definitely are not alone; there are many other women who have this problem and there is hope through the many options available to you.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr.