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Chances are you know someone Trying to Conceive (TTC), you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than seven million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility.
What most people don’t understand about infertility is that its NOT that motherhood is out of reach, it’s that it’s JUST barely out of reach.
It’s not that motherhood didn’t happen, it’s that it almost did and, in fact, still could.
The difference between the grief of infertility and other reasons for mourning is in that promise of “just,” in “almost,” in “still could.” This does not make it more or less livable than other forms of grief, but it goes a long way toward explaining why the journey is so hard to explain, or understand.
Why might a woman put herself under the knife ten, twelve, twenty times to get pregnant, why might she spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in the effort???
We walk this path because motherhood is not unthinking, automatic, and instinctual, instead it is a thing that is both worked at and worked for. So how can you support the people in your life TTC?
– Be Supportive: Simply listen and be ready to listen when called upon.
-Acknowledge infertility as a medical and emotional crisis with a wide variety of losses, disappointments, and ‘costs’: physical, financial, social, marital.
-Be sensitive to the pain, stress, and emotional pressure of childlessness or the inability to expand one’s family as desired. There are science backed ways to reduce stress- consider gifting guided mediations and mindfulness practices for the reduction of stress which is being found to affect most of our bodily systems and make-up, especially the effects on our fertility.
-Respect the boundaries the infertile individual or couple sets regarding their infertility TTC (Trying To Conceive). Some infertile people prefer a high level of privacy about infertility. Others choose a more open approach.
”Sometimes courage isn’t climbing Mount Everest or changing the world. Sometimes your mountain to climb is made up of weekdays and months, made up of pushing yourself forward even when you want to nestle into the past. Sometimes changing the world means changing your world as gradually as you need to, as gently as you heal, because sometimes courage isn’t made up of war and bloodshed; sometimes courage isn’t made of combat. Sometimes courage is a quiet fight, a dim softness within you, that flickers even on your darkest days and reminds you that you are strong, that you are growing—that there is hope.”