This is a guest post by Jessica Dodero.
The struggle of infertility is real. For 697 days, we’ve tried, without success, to conceive. We knew we were going to have trouble conceiving, so we decided to start trying immediately after our wedding. A part of me always knew it was going to be hard, but I could have never imagined how painful it would truly be.
Just as a warning, if you’re someone who gets who gets grossed out about “girl troubles,” then this particular post isn’t for you. We hope you’ll come back and read next week’s post. If you don’t mind a few details about off the charts abnormal female cycles, it would be great if you’d hang out and learn the behind-the-scenes story. It’s not pretty, but it’s true and maybe by learning more, you’ll find a way to encourage someone in your own life who faces the same sort of struggles.
My hope is to raise awareness and open a conversation about a difficult topic. More and more young women are facing infertility and carrying silent pain.
My hope is to raise awareness and open a conversation about the difficult topic of #infertility
While each story is different, here are 3 things I wish you knew about my infertility:
1. This Isn’t a Problem that just Started
I’ve had irregular periods my whole life. In my teens, I would go 3-10 months without a period. Now that I’m older it’s different. I go about a week to a month in between periods. And when I get them, they last from 7-143 days. There is literally no way for me to know when they are coming, or how long they will last – not an ideal situation for a newlywed couple trying to conceive.
For the 2 years Dean and I have been married, Aunt Flo has been with us for more than 400 days. That is over 3 times more than normal cycles would last. It’s not just bleeding, but everything else that comes with a period as well. I’m constantly bloated, I’m always hungry, some days I have terrible cramps, and my emotions are uncontrollable. It seems that everything I feel, I feel to the extreme. Some days I’m so happy I can’t stop smiling. Some days I flat just don’t want to get out of bed. And other days, I’m furious at everything and everyone for every little thing they do.
Along with a ton of prayer, we’ve tried the doctor; we’ve tried chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage therapy, eating plans, healing rooms and medications. Because of my condition, IVF, IUI & Surrogacy would be a waste of time, emotion, and money. The doctors believe I only ovulate about 2 times a year – if at all. I’ve read countless articles about different reasons why my body is like it is.
We do our best to make the most of our time while we are without children. We travel as much as we can and even though these times are emotionally and physically difficult, I know I will cherish these moments with Dean forever.
Through it all, Dean has stayed so strong and understanding. I am so blessed to have him.
2. The Emotional Burden is Heavy
Dean and I both have dreamed our whole lives about starting a family. I try to stay positive, but deep down I’ve always felt I wouldn’t be able to have children. When I was about 10 years old, I told my mom I didn’t think God was going to let me have children. To this day, neither my mom nor I know why in the world I said that – especially at such a young age.
I feel like I could learn to live with the idea of life without children. It’s something I think I could accept after some time. But the part that kills me most about it is Dean. Kids are something he wants SO badly. It is the worst feeling in the world to be the reason someone’s dreams are crushed.
There have been a few times when we thought there might be a chance I was pregnant. During those weeks I become utterly obsessed with the thought – scrutinizing every single thing that happens with my body. I want a positive pregnancy test so desperately, that I think I trick myself into feeling the symptoms I wish I really had. But every time, we end up entirely devastated. It seems silly to say I grieve someone who never was – but I do. Every time. I grieve the baby that never was. That could have been. I grieve those moments of our dreams for the future that are shattering once again.
And then, it seems everyone around me gets pregnant. A cousin. A friend. A high-school classmate. And I’m truly happy for them.
For a minute.
But then I become furious. And I hate myself for being the kind of person who gets mad and jealous at someone else’s happiness.
And then I see headlines about moms who kill their infants or leave them in trash cans. I see a dad with extreme anger toward their child in the middle of the grocery store. And I just want to scream because of the injustice. But I hold my tongue and keep quiet.
3. Your Well-Intended Remarks Can Hurt
For some reason, infertility is this taboo subject that no one ever talks about. It’s a very lonely feeling.
Sure, there are a select few people who know our situation. But sometimes when we share our struggle, the hurtful comments come.
“Just relax – it’ll come when the time is right.”
“It’ll happen when you least expect it.”
“It’s because you’re so stressed out about it. You just have to stop trying so hard.”
And then comes the long lost aunt or the friend – or even someone I’ve just met – who says, “So when are you guys going to start popping them out?”
“When are you going to give your parents some grandchildren?”
Those words hurt more than you could ever imagine. It’s like a punch in the gut every time. I know people mean well, but they couldn’t possibly know the hurt that comes with such questions and comments.
Please. Be gentle with your words. Instead of blurting out something you might regret later, assume there’s a behind-the-scenes story you don’t know. After all, we never truly know the struggles others are facing. We never fully realize the pain that words can bring.
And if you know someone is struggling with infertility, avoid comments. Avoid the advice. Offer to help in a different way. Maybe check up on them every once in a while to see how they’re doing. Make them dinner or just go and keep them company. These things can help more than you know.
Most of all, know that we love you. In the end, we know you mean well and we cherish you in our lives. Sometimes it’s just that we hurt in ways we can’t express.
Our story doesn’t have a happy ending.
We keep our heads up as much as possible. We try to make the most of our time that we have now without children, and I try my best not to go off the deep end with my crazy emotions. We are thankful for so much and know that we are blessed beyond belief. Our hope lies with God and we are confident that one way or another we will have children. Whether it is the natural way or adoption.
Until that day, we would greatly appreciate your prayers for babies. Along with clarity and strength while we wait.
Jessica Dodero is from Brighton, Colorado where she embraces life to the fullest with the love of her life, Dean, and their two dogs, Bruno and Baloo. Jess works full-time as a bank teller and loves to tell stories about her experiences working for Mickey Mouse as part of the Disney College Program. She and Dean enjoy travel and are pursuing a goal to visit all 50-states.