In an effort to celebrate motherhood, I am featuring anyone willing to write about their life as a mom, it can be to inspire others, a great story to share, the ups and downs of being a mom, anything you’d like to share. We hope to continue to receive stories like this up until Mother’s Day….
Why are we talking about infertility when its supposed to be about Mothers Day? Because…
Mothers Day is the hardest days for someone dealing with infertility. Especially if you go to church or a large family function. For me it was church where at a certain point all the mothers were asked to stand up while people clapped and whistled. I stayed seated while everyone around me stood and smiled from ear to ear. Many of them new moms and so thrilled to have the flowers and the accolades. Now don’t get me wrong… moms deserve this. They work harder then anyone else on the planet! I wasn’t mad at them-I was desperately sad for myself. I don’t even like getting flowers and I wanted them more then anything that day. Karl held my hand all the way out and I just sobbed and sobbed. WHY? Why couldn’t I just be a mom? What was wrong with me? Desperate, I found myself lying on a large, cold, metal table having dye injected into my insides so the radiologists can see my fallopian tubes and ovaries… I fell apart from the pain and the thought that… It wasn’t supposed to go this way. Having kids was supposed to be something you and your husband choose to start trying for and in a couple months you have a baby. For us, and 1 in 8 couples, this is not the case. For many, getting pregnant is hard, or not even possible. You know someone who has struggled or is struggling with infertility.
After endless tests and different medication combinations, I finally was diagnosed with PCOS or Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. It’s actually a very common diagnosis. One of the drugs I was prescribed made me so emotional and crazy that I actually considered running my car into a tree so that Karl could find someone who could make him a father. I stopped taking that one. After about a year and finding a fertility doctor we found an injectable drug that did what I needed. Paired with IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination) I got pregnant! Shortly thereafter I miscarried, and then again a second time. Devastating. I was angry. I was broken.
During the start of the process I had joined an Infertility Support Group in the area. It was what kept me going and continues to bless me to this day. The number of women I met that struggled just like me was mind blowing, and yet comforting. For the first time I didn’t feel alone. I learned those who attend support these types of support groups have a better success rate! Our group needed a new leader since ours was having herself a beautiful baby, so I stepped up.
It became my passion. To see women come in with such sad faces, full of fear, and leave with hope, knowing they weren’t alone was the best feeling. The. Best. Feeling. We call ourselves “Mertyles” and we are family. If you or someone you know is struggling with infertility get to a support group! I”ll give the contact info at the bottom.
So what if you know someone who is struggling and you’re not sure what to say or do? Let me give you a few tips:
- If someone doesn’t have kids don’t ask them about it. You never know the battle they may be facing. Just last week a woman complimented me on my baby and went ON AND ON about how her daughter in law is dragging her feet on having kids. The earful that lady received from me about infertility hopefully shut her up. I mean you don’t pry when someone says they are trying to conceive… then you would be getting into their sex life. Mind yo bidness. 😉
- Sometimes there are no words to empathize with someone struggling. Just being there and knowing you have support when you need it is enough. A simple text message to ask “How are you?” or “was thinking about you today and hope youre doing well” helps more than you will ever know.
- Sometimes we will want to talk your ear off about it, and other times we don’t want to share a word and would rather talk about ANYTHING else. It’s usually good to ask us instead of assuming one or the other.
- We’re not sad that you’re pregnant. We’re just sad we aren’t.
- PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop telling people that “I just know you’ll get pregnant now that you’ve adopted!” Adoption does not cure infertility.
- Don’t ask people “why don’t you just adopt?” Adoption is not the right choice for everyone and THATS OK! It also costs close to $20,000 so it’s not usually a possible or easy choice.
- Some women experience Secondary infertility where conceiving after having a child is difficult. So asking “Don’t you want any more children?” Chances may be they be and cannot and would love to.
- That being said… know that we (with secondary infertility) are SUPER blessed to have a child, but infertility is still infertility and it please don’t say “Well at least you have one”
- Don’t tell us to just do IVF… it is extremely expensive and rarely covered by insurance.
- So what is a friend or family member to do? Let me tell you:
Pray. Pray for them! I don’t recommend telling us your prayers will solve all our problems, but to know someone supports us is a big deal.
Love us. We probably feel pretty bad about ourselves that we can’t do something we’ve always dreamed of. A hug, a card… my mother in law gave me a star to hang from my car mirror that said “believe” I still have it and it means a lot to me. Another friend sent me flowers with a card that said “Believe in miracles! WE DO!!”
Be normal. We already feel like failures as women… so if you can treat us as normal as possible we’d love it.
Help. If we’ve confided in you about our treatments we’re in and you can make on meal on our IUI or IVF day, we’ll be blessed. I had a friend who brought me handmade ice packs because I told her I had to do injections on my stomach every day. She also made me dinner and wine on the day of one of my IUI’s. Blessed.
Don’t judge. One of my “mertyles” was recently told that ” I couldn’t ever do IVF…. its a sin” Not cool. Not cool at all. If you disagree with our choices that’s ok… we’re glad you don’t have to make it and wish we didn’t have to either.
Learn– read about infertility and treatments. Knowing a little bit more about details makes it easier for us to talk to you!
If you know someone who is struggling, or you are… we have a fantastic support group. Women who join a support system have a higher success rate. For our group in Wisconsin we have a 100% success rate of becoming mothers!!! It’s not always a pretty road, and some are just plain awful…. but we rally together and the journey TOGETHER is worth it.
I am no longer the leader since recently moving, but have passed the torch to Amanda and Gina. They have done a fantastic job and I am very proud.
–😉 ) has a newsletter called Stepping Stones that has great articles(no it’s not me
-Feel free to email me with questions as well: bethanybernhard@
You can find more of Bethany’s writing on her blog HERE.
Thank you for sharing, Bethany.