I recently explored why I believe it’s good to talk about infertility, but this didn’t address the reasons why we’re afraid to talk about it in the first place. I want to thank to my lovely Instagram followers who have kindly shared their reasons why they find it difficult to open up.
I found that there were three main reasons why we feel we are unable to share our struggle to conceive, although different they are all very much connected. Over a series of 3 blog posts I will share my thoughts about how we might be able to see them differently and work towards breaking that taboo.
I’m by no means saying that you have to open up and talk about your infertility struggles, you can still choose not to, but what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t feel like you can’t talk about it.
I call it ‘The Vicious Cycle of Infertility’:
We don’t talk about infertility and so…
- We fear being seen as a failure…
- We feel isolated…
- We fear what people will say…
…and because of this we don’t say anything.
The only way to break this cycle is to raise awareness, to talk and share our stories.
That is what Defining Mum is all about – not only talking about how my infertility journey has defined me as a Mum but also talking about the struggle to become a Mum – Chasing Motherhood and what the experiences have taught me.
Everyone has a different story, it is sharing these stories that make us feel less alone.
It’s a vicious cycle– nobody talks about infertility and so you feel like you’ve failed because you can’t become parents in the conventional way, and because you feel you have failed you don’t say anything, therefore perpetuating the cycle.
Here’s what my Instagram followers told me:
“I felt like a failure as a woman, not being able to do the most natural female basic function”.
“Because everyone wants perfection and I will be seen as a failure”
“Because we are afraid people will pity us”
“We are afraid to show weakness and that we are not in control of it all”
I understand these feelings all too well. I remember when I was first diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure, the word failure reverberated in my ears.
I felt like my body had failed me.
I felt like I was old before my time.
I felt like I wasn’t the woman that my husband first met.
I had to learn to believe that being infertile wasn’t my fault. It’s so difficult when you’re used to being in control of your life, so when you are suddenly feeling out of control it can feel like you have done something wrong, that you have failed. I had planned to have a child before I was 30 and because I had planned it in this way I automatically thought that, as I approached this age and having tried for 2 years, I was failing. But how could I have changed this? I came to accept that had no control over this infertility ‘disease’. It is unfair, it is life changing but it is not our fault.
What I could control however was how I chose to respond to it and only I could choose how to try and turn that failure into success. I’m not saying that I was happy and positive every day, far from it (my husband will tell you this was definitely not the case!) but I came to learn that although it may not happen the way I originally envisaged, if I wanted to be a Mum there had to be a way.
We chose to be open about our struggle to become parents and initially I did worry that I would be judged for having failed. In reality, what I actually found was that those who we told never focused on us failing at becoming parents in the conventional way, far from it. Instead they were in awe of the strength we had to fight through it. As I spoke about our infertility, IVF, loss and hope, they realised how lucky they were to not have to face that challenge.
I believe that if we are open about our struggles, the majority of people will not see you as a failure, but instead as a fighter. Infertility was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with, but now it has become my biggest achievement in life. How can someone see that as failure?
Love, Becky x