As I was typing the title for this post, I realized something I had missed. “Life After Infertility” is not entirely accurate. Yes, my family is complete, but technically I am still infertile. I have never become pregnant “naturally,” despite being pregnant a total of five times. If my husband and I were now trying to have a third child naturally, the chances of conception would be very slim.
It’s all a state of mind though, isn’t it? We know our thoughts are very powerful, so if I believe I’m infertile, then I am. But if I believe I’m fertile, then who knows what could happen? Doesn’t matter because a third child is not on the agenda.
Anyway, this post is intended as a follow up to the challenges of Life After Infertility.
There are many, many more reliefs to life after infertility. To say that I’m grateful for these reliefs would be an understatement. I firmly believe that I needed to go through each and every challenge that I experienced to become the person I am today. This is not a self-righteous statement, but rather a humble one.
Because of infertility, I am more open-minded, empathetic, and compassionate. I am a better listener, more patient, and more passionate about my life’s purpose.
I wouldn’t change a thing.
For me, life after infertility provides an abundance of reliefs.
Pregnancy Announcements – I am no longer as effected by them. I don’t purposely avoid Facebook to avoid the announcements. I just avoid Facebook because it’s Facebook. I don’t dread that the person sitting across from me will tell me she’s pregnant. I don’t wonder which of my husband’s bazillion relatives will be next to make an announcement.
Family – I started my journey to have a family with the hope and desire for two children. At one time I wasn’t sure if this would become a reality. Now that we’re a family of four, I feel at peace. I feel a sense of relief.
Menstrual Cycle – Despite my menstrual cycles being slightly out of whack, I often forget what cycle day I’m on. I don’t stress out if and when my period will arrive. I am not a mess when it does. In fact, I celebrate when it arrives in a timely fashion!
Exercise, food, alcohol – I am no longer obsessed with how much or how little I exercise. I don’t stress over what I’ve eaten or what I should be eating. I enjoy drinking the occasional glass of wine, and don’t worry if it will affect my ability to conceive.
Appointments – I don’t have to book and attend multiple appointments each week. No more ultrasounds to determine my odds of success or if my baby is healthy. No more blood work results to sit by my phone and anxiously wait for, and to stress about if I don’t hear what I was hoping to.
Medication – I no longer have to take birth control pills, to inject myself with Menopur, Gonal-F, progesterone, and who remembers what else. No more sticking estrogen patches all over my body, praying that I have placed them correctly for the maximum benefit. No more sticking progesterone suppositories up me, praying that my blood work level will be in the normal range. No more walking around bloated and not fitting into my clothes the way I used to.
Acupuncture and massage – In the past, I would use these to further my chances of conception. Now I can lie on the table and thoroughly enjoy the treatments, not hoping for and expecting a specific outcome.
Finances – To say that infertility cost a small fortune is an understatement. Now that we’re not paying thousands upon thousands of dollars out of pocket for medications, procedures, bloodwork, ultrasounds, etc, we are free to spend our money on things that bring us joy. Although I knew this money could bring us closer to our completed family, it was always painful paying the monstrous bills.
Harmful Activities – I no longer have to be concerned if I’m harming my chances of conception by placing a laptop on my lap, getting my heart rate up too high, drinking too much caffeine, stressing too much, forgetting to take my supplements, not getting enough sleep, applying nail polish, using toxic products, not eating organically enough, etc.
It’s a shame that during the time that I was stressing over all of the above, I could have taken a different perspective. I could have slowed down, meditated more, and realized that most everything was out of my control anyway. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.
A passionate infertility advocate, Jen Noonan destigmatizes the shame and guilt surrounding infertility and miscarriage. Her debut memoir, In Due Time, is available on Amazon at amzn.com/0996308601