The group of people who can call themselves infertile is large
and the causes of infertility are varied. The only ticket to
admission is the desire for a child that you cannot seem to
We are at the beginning of this infertility journey. Let’s
explore together the trials and tribulations that we may have
to experience. Together, because the main point of this book
is that we are not traveling alone; there are many who walk
* * *
Few of us start out with the idea that we might be infertile,
or have trouble having children. Even when you are a young child,
there is an expectation in our society that some day you will
As children, we play at being either a mommy or a daddy. Admittedly,
the Daddies are often forced into the role by the Mommies, but
that only serves to emphasize how society places us in our roles
at an early age. Even in single parent families or extended
families the concept is passed on to children that big people
have and raise little people.
When you get old enough to realize how little people come
about, you also realize that you can have one. The concept that
you cannot have one is rarely considered. If you decide to be
sexually active before marriage, the idea of becoming pregnant
or making someone pregnant is scary. It’s not time yet
to have children, but engaging in sex opens up the idea that
it might happen.
Thus, as we grow up, most of us perceive ourselves as able
to have children, and either ignore it, deal with it through
preventive measures, or abstain from sex because it could lead
to having children.
There are many forces in society that teach us we can have
children; in fact, many believe it is somewhat of a God-given
Since it is such a fundamental expectation, some of us delay
having children until our late twenties or thirties. Why not?
Since we can choose when to have a family, we will certainly
be able to say: “We decided to wait to have kids until
I was twenty-eight. Then we decided to get pregnant with little
We expect that having little Jimmy will be just as planned
an event as getting married, going to college, or deciding what
to have for dinner.
Realizing that you are infertile usually comes gradually,
rather than suddenly or violently. Even so, it still comes as
a surprise. Finding out that you are infertile is not much different
than being diagnosed as having a debilitating disease, realizing
you can’t find a new job quickly, or determining that
a loved one is exhibiting signs of Alzheimer’s.
In any of these situations, the natural reaction is one of
denial: “This isn’t supposed to happen to me.”
It is a shift from the expected, a realization that we are going
to have to deal with something that we never thought of having
to deal with.
Infertility is an insidious realization; one that grows within
us over time, as we either fail to get pregnant, or find ourselves
unable to bring a child to term. For some couples a quick and
accurate diagnosis may result in a faster realization of the
problem, but still, one has to get to the point where a diagnosis
is sought. Others simply continue to try, and wonder more and
more what is wrong, but refrain from getting a diagnosis. And
for some couples, children simply don’t arrive, and no
doctor can say exactly why.
The teenage years of worrying about having children, or even
the early married years of worrying about having children too
soon, suddenly shift into “Why aren’t we having
After a time, this becomes a nagging worry. And then a strange
fear that sits in the pit of your stomach each time you or your
spouse (or your significant other) has a menstrual period.
Soon a period becomes a death knell that occurs every month
or so, depending on your regularity. It becomes a death in the
sense that you have not produced new life, regardless of how
hard you tried. It is a symbol of failure. It is a statement
that you have once again failed at something that you have always
been told is not only normal, but easy to do. Meanwhile, all
of your friends, relatives, and co-workers are having children.
Everyone else is pregnant. Everyone else has kids!
Insidiously, infertility has crept into your life. At some
point, the denial disappears, and you perceive yourself as infertile.
As different from others.
Whether you like it or not, you are now in a new group of
people you never thought you’d belong to. Often you feel
that you are alone in that category, because just as you are
hesitant to share your problems; so are others in the group.
But you are not alone.
Knowing that doesn’t change your situation, but maybe
it can help you understand your reactions to the fact that you
are unable to have a child and deal with it better. We have
now embarked on our journey down the road of infertility.
In numbers there can be strength.
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