An Open Letter About Our Infertility
This letter is one we’ve thought of writing before. The things we have wanted to express have perhaps been expressed in other ways over the years to those closest to us, so it never really felt necessary. But today we are opening ourselves up in a bigger way, and laying it all out on the line like this is taking us a great deal of courage.
See infertility is a painfully taboo subject. It’s taboo because no one talks about it. When someone does have the courage to open themselves up, the response they receive is quite often discouraging. Stunned silence. Unsolicited advice or stories. An uncomfortably bad joke and hasty change of subject. So the couple going through it naturally shies away from dealing with those encounters in the future. The person having said something doesn’t know what they did wrong, or often too what they’ve done right goes unmentioned! And thus the cycle is left to continue on unchanged. This conversation conundrum is no one participant’s “fault”, but rather a culmination of societal norms gone amiss.
See the less we talk about these taboo subjects, the more taboo they become. I started a blog called Femme InFertile many moons ago, talking about our struggle through the infertility journey. It had a few readers here and there, nothing major. Over time popularity grew and recently I was nominated for The Hope Award – Best Blog by Resolve, a fertility awareness organization. I didn’t win, but to be only one of five nominated felt like a true honour. I decided I wanted to do more! I got the inspiration to start filming our fertility journey long before this, but feeling fully ready to put ourselves (and our story) out for the world to see took a long time to work up to. One day, it finally felt right for us. Too many couples struggle silently, and well, if you know me, you know that’s never been my style.
What I want you, our friends and family, (and perhaps strangers reading this) to understand as we step out into a more public domain is that infertility is an incredibly isolating experience. So much of our struggle has been faced behind closed doors. It’s hard to talk about. We may share tidbits here and there, but frankly, we figure you’ve probably gotten sick of listening to us by now. When months go by, and then years, and everyone stops asking how you are… how you REALLY are, you begin to feel irrelevant. Everyone else moves on with their lives, and in some strange way you’re left in a state of limbo. Creating this blog and our YouTube channel were in an effort to feel less isolated, raise awareness, and hopefully allow us to become a better support to those also experiencing infertility.
By opening ourselves up we have already found such an amazing network of support in return, and we are enjoying the freedom of living our lives without censorship and without fear of judgement. Our story is our story, and we have embraced every aspect of it good and bad. Unfortunately, infertility is one of those things that if you haven’t been through it, you really can’t fully understand what it’s like. But what I can tell you, is that infertility brings out our best and our worst. At best, we learn a lot, we grow… we become better, stronger, more resilient versions of our former selves. At worst we’re jealous, depressed, working through stages of grief, full of self-hatred, detached, and downright ashamed and embarrassed. See, a couple struggling with infertility will never know the luxury of deciding to have a baby and then simply making it happen. We feel our bodies have failed us. We feel we’ve failed each other.
Some of you reading this may have faced struggles yourselves. We know individuals who have coped with miscarriages, and they too were faced to greive it alone. Those of you who may have struggled for a few months to a year know how difficult it can be to keep it together month by month as you spiral down a well of doubt. As time goes on, hope dwindles, and perseverance wanes. For us, Spring 2017 will mark our 5 years anniversary of trying to conceive. We’ve taken many necessary breaks, and endured countless pregnancy and birth announcements along the way.
What we want you to understand is that joy and pain can be felt simultaneously. We have so loved watching those we care about become the amazing parents they are. The pain we feel for ourselves and our own circumstance doesn’t take away from the happiness we feel for them. But they are at odds, and it can be hard to put into words… hard to explain and harder to process. In those moments we so often feel cheated out of simply feeling and expressing joy. We so wish we could, but that too has been taken from us. Know that some days we’re ok, and some days we’re not. And that’s all just part of our journey.
So what now? Well… we have been documenting our infertility journey recently and finally felt ready to share it with all of those we love and care about. We are currently undergoing treatment for our upcoming FET (frozen embryo transfer). This will be our 4th IVF transfer, none of which have been successful. If you’d like to learn about it we encourage you to watch our YouTube Channel; subscribe, and comment with questions. You can also like our Facebook Page to receive updates that way if you prefer. Or if blogging is more your style, hang out here!
We hope by opening ourselves up we can offer you an opportunity to better understand the journey we are going through, breaking down some of the invisible walls that so often feel to be separating us in the process. In a world of social media and putting only our best selves out for the world to see, we hope our candor can bring you a sense of peace knowing that everyone struggles in some way shape or form. We know for some of you, your struggles are in other arenas. We hope we can be a reminder for you that life isn’t always what it seems on the outside. If you yourself are silently struggling through infertility, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here, and we care.
If you’ve made it this far, kudos, and thank you. It means a lot to us that you took the time to listen.
Liv & Eric