It surprised me how many infertility triggers are out there. I expected the “obvious” ones – pregnancy announcements on Facebook, baby pictures, holidays, anniversaries – to be triggers, and despite being prepared for them they are still a source of sadness, a reminder of what is missing from my life. I didn’t anticipate the less obvious triggers. The things that seem completely innocuous but cause me to bite my lip and fight back tears. Things that you wouldn’t think are triggering. Things that are only triggering to me.
Last night I started watching Captain America: The Winter Solider since I’m going to see the new Captain America movie today. I wasn’t sure if I had seen it before, but as I watched it I realized that I had. It took me awhile but I realized my husband and I went to see if the night before our wedding. We went with my brother-in-law, a cousin of my husband, and my sister and her fiancé. My sister and I didn’t have a great relationship at that time. I wasn’t sure if we’d ever have a great relationship, but we were fine then. We are essentially estranged now. I had to stop watching the movie because I didn’t need the reminder of the horrible, hurtful and selfish things she said to me when I tried to open up to her about my infertility testing.
People don’t always know what to say to someone struggling with infertility. Many times they say the wrong things - you’ll have a baby on God’s time (why doesn’t God want me to have a baby now?), you can always adopt (because everyone has an extra $20,000-$60,000 lying around), you can take my kids (thanks, glad to know you’d give up your kids), have you tried x, y,z thing (my doctor has me on strong fertility drugs, but sure, just trying the position you suggested will definitely fix my infertility), just relax and it will happen (yup, I am definitely preventing myself from getting pregnant because I’m too stressed out) - and inadvertently hurt you. When your friend tells you that they are struggling with infertility, just listen. Say you are sorry for what they are going through and that your are there for them if they need to talk, or need a hug, or need to drink all the wine and rage at the universe, or just need to smash things. Even if you’ve never struggled to conceive, show empathy and be there for them.