When I first began writing for Babble, I wrote about our difficulty with getting pregnant.
I was amazed by how much support and empathy I received. So many people offered encouragement and words of wisdom.
Then, I got a comment that read:
…this is not TTC difficulty! … It took us 4 1/2 years to conceive our second, with 3 losses in the last year. It was heart wrenching to go through that and I personally find it insulting to compare normal conception times with actual infertility struggles. I can’t tell you how many times I heard from those who weren’t really struggling, but weren’t getting PG fast enough (ie: the first time they had unprotected sex or within a couple months) say to me, “It hurts no matter how long you’ve been trying if you don’t get pregnant when you want to,” because I went through the first 2, 4, 6, 12, even 18 months with little concern or upset, and I could hardly wait to have a second baby. Sure I would be sad when my period started right on time yet again…but years 2 and 3…unless you have been through them, you cannot understand! Those were my hardest years. Those were the years that pregnant women followed me around, haunting me everywhere I went…when friends and family members announced pregnancies one after another, many unplanned ‘oopsies’…some had more than one child in that time! Those were the years I had to accept infertility and the possibility I may never have another baby! It was a kick in the face!!
If you want to talk about infertility or at least real conception difficulty, talk to someone who has been through a few years or who has a major fertility issue! Your conception journey, fortunately, cannot be compared!
I was floored.
My heart truly hurt for this woman because she had struggled so much.
She had been trying for a baby for so much longer than Craig and I have. I can’t even begin to know how difficult it is to try for that long.
But, does that mean that it hurts more? Does that mean that she wants a baby more than I do?
Why was it suddenly a competition? Why did she have more of a right to be sad and discouraged than I did?
In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, I want to bust the myth that the length of time that we try to conceive in some way earns us some elevated status…that the longer it takes, the more we have a right to judge those who aren’t as far along on the journey as we are.
My reply to her read:
I believe that no matter how long we try for a child, what unites us all is our desire for a baby. I think it would be lovely if we all came together as a group that can understand the struggles, rather than dividing ourselves into groups based on how long we’ve been trying to conceive.
We all share the ache for a baby.
I am truly sorry that you’ve had such a difficult path. It is so heartbreaking.
My heart hurts.
I want another baby.
Her heart hurts.
She wants another baby.
Instead of competing with one another, we could have offered comfort.
How can we ever win if we are measuring our own sadness against that of another person who aches for the same thing we do?
I’m also busting a big myth about secondary infertility over on Babble.
Please go visit my friend Natalie who is busting another myth: It’s NIAW and It’s Complicated.