Scrolling through Twitter recently, I came across a post from Lisa Manterfield at Life Without Baby, that introduced a term I had never heard of – infertility amnesia. I know first hand what infertility means, and I certainly know what amnesia means, but the two words together?
Lisa did not provide a definition of the term, but she did make reference to a friend who had gone through “infertility hell,” and the friend’s subsequent celebrations, constant Facebook posts, and the incessant parenting talk after she became a mom.
If the term infertility amnesia existed, it would be defined as having no memory of an infertility journey. I I do not believe that people are capable of actually forgetting about what they experienced. Infertility creates chaos, devastation, anger, disappointment, trauma, grief, loss, and so much more, and it is just not possible for the brain to forget it.
What Lisa described is unfortunately all too common when those who have experienced infertility cross over to the “other side.” The other side being parenting. Those who, despite having endured “infertility hell,” post ultrasound photos on Facebook to announce their pregnancy, or tell others not to give up because it happened for them, or suddenly disappear from their social media. They talk incessantly about their pregnancy, post endless newborn and toddler photos, or stop blogging.
Some of these are understandable. Crossing into the parenthood realm means becoming swept up in the baby and kid club. Life seems to revolve around people asking how far along you are, how you’re feeling, how old your child is, what worked to get your toddler to nap, and so on. You’re enamored with your sought after baby, and you want to show her off to friends and family with photos. It makes sense.
Those who maintained social media accounts and blogs on their paths to pregnancy may find themselves at a loss for what to write about, or they might worry about offending those who are still struggling.
Those who have been unable to conceive, and who are hanging out in the trenches, are hoping to be empathized with.
Remember when you would hear about yet another person who was pregnant?
Be gentile with your announcements.
Remember when you would scroll through the endless photos of newborns and kids?
Be mindful of the frequency with which you post.
Remember when you needed encouragement to move forward?
Continue to post on your social media accounts and blogs.
Remember when you would cry at baby showers?
Go check on your friend whom you know is having a difficult time.
Remember when you thought it might not happen for you?
Don’t say not to give up, because she might just need to.
Remember when you wished that others wouldn’t say and do the things they said and did?
Be insightful to the thoughts and feelings of those who are struggling.
Let’s be kind, considerate, and most importantly, empathetic. Let’s not forget where we came from.