Talking About Infertility Is Hard But Crucial for Getting Pregnant

pregnantWednesday I had the pleasure of attending a panel for TLC's A Conception Story, which centers around couples in various stages of their lives who are all dealing with the same issue: They're having difficulty conceiving.

In addition to listening to some of the couples talk about the often painful process they've gone through/are going through to have a child -- money spent, strain on their marriage, feeling like no one else is going through this -- the panel offered invaluable advice and tips (which will come in another post!) on getting pregnant and pregnancy in general. The panel featured Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a super fancy OBGYN, who seems to know everything about women's reproductive health; Barbara Collura, director of Resolve, the National Infertility Association; and Janis Biermann, SVP of Education and Health Promotion at the March of Dimes.

For now, let's talk about the one thing all couples having trouble getting pregnant have in common: Feeling like they're alone.


As someone who had a relatively easy time getting pregnant, I have to be honest: I was kind of in the dark about there being so many couples experiencing infertility and difficulty conceiving (which, FYI, are two different things). I was extremely moved by all of the couples' stories, and I was surprised that even though they're all going through the same thing, their causes for having problems were vastly different. One couple was dealing with endometriosis; one was dealing with two reproductive systems (yes, two); one was dealing with low sperm count; and one was even dealing with difficulty conceiving after the man had his vasectomy reversed.

Each attempted pregnancy in their own way: Many tried Clomid, some tried Femara, and a few eventually resorted to IVF (despite being the most well-known "infertility remedy," this is usually never the first option). The one thing that each couple had in common, though, was this: They started out feeling totally alone, like nobody else was going through what they were going through. So they didn't talk about it. As Dr. Minkin said, "In the 20th century, people are willing to talk about pregnancy, which wasn't always the case, but they're still not ready to talk about infertility." She talked about how most are even scared to talk to their doctors about it, so they go on "suffering in silence." Some for as long as five years. This isn't good.

All of the couples and each of the experts felt that it's crucial to share what you're going through, so you can "normalize" your situation. You are not alone. It's just that, for some reason, it's still a weird thing to talk about in our society. One of the husbands talked about how he finally had to share with a friend what he was going through because he couldn't deal with all the "peaks and valleys" anymore. And when he did, he found out that his friend, too, was going through the same thing with his wife. In fact, each couple knew at least one other person who was having trouble getting pregnant. And the other reason you shouldn't stay mum is because you simply won't get educated that way. Talk to your doctor, ask a friend. The more you know about what's going on, the better your chances of getting pregnant.

My heart broke for a lot of these couples -- some are still trying, some have successfully conceived. But one thing's for sure: They certainly don't want anyone feeling bad for them. Because this is their life and they're taking charge.

You can check out some of the couples' stories here.

Have you had problems conceiving?


Image via Nina Matthews Photography/Flickr

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