Almost thirty years later, (when I started fertility treatment) the fear regarding infertility hasn't changed.
And even when it comes to the friends that we make during our time in fertility treatment, in peer support groups, in professionally led support groups, online, wherever, that basic, underlying fear remains.
That it will be us who leaves treatment without a baby. It will be us who ends up childless.
Even when we are at our most positive, our most determined, our most dig in with both feet single-minded resolute, that fear is there.
Friendships Made During Fertility Treatment
This fear affects our friendships, especially those we make while in treatment. The special friends that we make when we are in treatment together, those bonds are tightly woven. We tell each other everything, things that we will not and do not say to others, even those who have previously been closest to us. We laugh. We cry. We commiserate. We find solace in shared misery, in dark humor and in hope. Those friendships are genuine in a way that other friendships may not be- we may find that friend that is truer than other's that we've had before.
Then one of us gets pregnant.
And the other one feels left behind. Left out.
We're happy for our friends. Genuinely happy that they have been successful and that they will have what they've been dreaming of- hoping for- working so hard at attaining. Happy for them.
Sad for ourselves. That it's not us. That we're not doing it together.
Scared that it will never happen for us.
That we will be the last one standing.
Infertility Fears About Not Getting Pregnant
This is the most basic fear, down and dirty fear that infertility zings us with, with each "failed" cycle, with every negative pregnancy test and with those around us becoming pregnant.
It's not us. It will never be us.
It will never be me.
That's the fear.
I have to say that fear has gotten a bad rap. You read a lot about how destructive fear is, how unhealthy and unproductive fear is- as though it's not a normal and natural response and most importantly a human feeling. Fear is a great alarm system. It tells us when something feels unsafe. Gives us the head's up that we need to consider things carefully.
What's wrong with any of that?
Three Infertility Fears
Here's are three things that are true about the fear of being the one who is unsuccessful in fertility treatment.
- It may not happen when you want it to.
- It may not happen the way that you want it to.
- And yes, it may not happen at all.
My suggestion? Let fear be a way of seeing the possibilities for a new solution.
Releasing fear, after acknowledging it, can mean being open to an outcome that you cannot even see in this moment.
That's the opposite of fear.
If you've been wanting a baby, have been in fertility treatment, you have courage.
Probably more than you realize.
And courage's kissing cousin is hope.
We're hoping with you. We're your courage when you're not feeling it.
That's why I'm here.