NIAW #StartAsking What do you wish others asked you about your struggles with building a family?

The theme for this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) in the United States is #StartAsking. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, is encouraging people to talk about the myths that surround infertility and how people build their families. They are focusing on two main questions:

  1. What do you wish you had asked when you first realized that you might be struggling with infertility?
  2. What do you wish friends and family asked you about your struggles with building your family?

For today’s post, we asked members of the Rainbows & Unicorns online community what they wish they had been asked at the beginning of their infertility journey:

I wish just one person, other than my Mom, let me just cry. Infertility hurts. If you see me on a day that the test showed negative, please don’t tell me next month will work. Please just let me mourn for a few minutes today;that this sucks and that it didn’t work again this month. No one knows the future and I am an eternal optimist, but just sometimes embrace the suck. I know it’s hard to watch other people hurt. Remember to say, “You are right, this hurts and I am sorry this sucks.”

I was so lucky that I had a great support team both IRL and online. But a simple “How are you holding up” was so valuable!!

I wish I had asked more about my fibroids and how much of an issue they really were. I ended up having 2 procedures and one major operation because of them and always felt like that could have been condensed more.

It’s so great that you’ve found a solution to have a baby, and I’d love to learn more about egg donation and what that means for you.

Our community faces continued issues with our infertility and struggles to come to terms if we are going to try to keep building our families. Just because we have a child(ren), it doesn’t mean that we are “cured” of our infertility or that our feelings around our diagnoses and family-building options have changed.

The following responses are what the RainCorns Tribe community on Facebook want friends and family to ask and discuss with us now:

As for #2, I would be happy with the obvious questions, like “how can we support you?” “how are you coping with this challenge?” “what is your thought process?” A lot of the time people say nothing, gloss it over or try to give advice. I don’t know why anyone would try to give advice without first asking what you are already doing to deal with the problem. But, people.

Just how I am doing and how I may be affected now, instead of just assuming everything is perfect because I have [my daughter]. It doesn’t end just because you have a baby and there are many other issues we struggle with after.

I would like to them STOP asking if we can conceive on our own now that we have had [our son]. 😩

I want friends and family that know that we are considering doing another FET to ask me about if we will transfer one or two embryos and if I am scared of having twins again. I need to remember what it was like the first year. I need to be smart about my decisions – do I take my chances with one embryo or two? Do I want to spend $5000 or potentially $10000? I need people to help play devil’s advocate with me.

One question friends have asked me about that I have loved answering is how I talk to my daughter about her genetic origins.

It sounds weird, but sometimes I wish people asked me about egg donation. Or even talked about it. Like, Are you in touch with your donor? Can I see a picture of her? What did you like about her? Does it bother you that you’ve never met? In some ways, the people in our life have been SO accepting that it feels like they’re maybe sweeping things under the rug. (Well, that did happen with a friend recently, which I suppose intensifies these thoughts for me.) I guess I wish people in our lives were more curious. Or, if they are, found the courage to ask me about it. I guess they’re worried about upsetting me. Another reason we need to talk about our struggles!

It’s frustrating when you have a child/ren & people think that since it was such an ordeal that you aren’t allowed to vent or stress about them.

How are you doing? I wish people understood that what makes many women infertile are conditions that don’t resolve or disappear because you have a child. I still have a unicornuate uterus & stage 4 endo. Seems like I can’t take BCPs to suppress it any longer because it caused mega endo pain. I have been taking progesterone which has its own issues. I’m still infertile and literally feel it daily.

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