It’s been a little over a month since we found out our IVF cycle didn’t work. What a lonely month it’s been.
Our phones have been oddly silent since we found out. Sure, there were the initial “I’m so sorry” and “we should get together soon” sentiments. But those stopped a few days after we went public and we’ve been twiddling our thumbs ever since. If it hadn’t been for both my best friend Erin and my sister being the driving forces behind our social lives these last few weeks, the loneliness of the last month would have been downright unbearable.
This post is not meant to shame anyone who hasn’t reached out over the last few weeks, but is merely to let you know how these last few weeks have been for us. It seems that the most common reasons we’re hearing for radio silence are because people don’t know what to say. Or they’re waiting for us to bring it up. Or they figure we’ll reach out to them when we’re ready. Whether people realize it or not, it’s those viewpoints that help to contribute to the shame we’ve been trying to avoid by making our story public. The idea behind going public with our struggle was to normalize infertility. We’ve been so open and honest about what we’re feeling and thinking in an effort to make people comfortable with the subject. And yet, now that it didn’t work, it seems no one wants to talk to us. While I’m sure it’s no one’s direct intention to make us feel this way, it feels like everything we went through doesn’t matter. Our feelings since we found out don’t matter. We don’t matter.
Imagine if you lost a loved one and no one was there to help you get through your grief. Sure, you have a lot of initial support after it happens and you feel surrounded by love in the days leading up to the funeral. However, once the memorial service ends, most of those that helped you mourn your loss get back into the swing of daily life while you’re left trying to figure out how to live now that a piece of your heart is gone. That’s how it feels right now. We had so much support leading up to the day we found out the results. After that, not so much. While the grief of a failed IVF cycle is not the same as losing a living, breathing member of your family, it’s similar.
We went through a procedure that has the highest rate of return on achieving a successful pregnancy and it failed. We had our dreams of having a child in 2018 all but destroyed. Yes, we can try again, but we also have to entertain the idea that it just may never happen for us. When you lose a loved one, most people don’t necessarily question what you could have done to keep them alive. Yes, there are oftentimes things you wish you would have done differently, but you aren’t the reason they died. In a situation like mine however, I’m questioning everything. Did we do everything right? Could we have done more? Maybe if we would have been just a little bit skinnier or a little bit healthier. Maybe if I would have been more concerned about eating organically or cut out coffee just a little bit sooner, the outcome would have been different. All the shoulda woulda couldas are a little bit overwhelming at times.
If I end up being the only person you know that has gone through IVF and a subsequent failure, then I consider both you and your friends incredibly lucky. It’s a pretty shitty thing to have to go through and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But, if by some twist of fate, you have to watch someone else go through the pain and suffering of infertility, please remember this post, swallow your uncertainty and reach out. It might seem like such a small gesture to you, but I can guarantee it will mean the world to them.