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Answer to the Infertility Question Blog Feature
Lisa Rosenthal

By: Lisa Rosenthal on March 16th, 2016

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Answer to the Infertility Question "Is This My Fault?"

Feelings | Support | Questions

Infertility Questions & BlameHere are some more infertility questions. Could one of them be, “is it my fault?”

Infertility Question – Is It My Fault?

Most of us ask that at one time or another when trying to conceive our babies is elusive.

When you ask yourself that question– often asked only to ourselves, rarely out loud to someone else, consider the relative unimportantness of the question.

Let’s say, for the sake of the conversation, that it’s completely your fault, (I’m not even sure how many circumstances present themselves that way, but let’s play this out). Is it really your fault? Are you considering it “your fault” because you have a genetic abnormality? Is it your fault if you have a low sperm count or diminished ovarian reserve? Is it your fault if you have scar tissue? Or if you had to have an operation that affected your fertility?

Is it your fault if your sperm aren’t as mobile as they need to be? Or your fault that your AMH (Anti Mullerian Hormone) is too low?

Is it your fault if your cause of infertility is idiopathic– unexplained?

We like answers.

Sometimes we even like bad answers over no answers.  I remember waking up after a diagnostic fertility surgery to listen to my surgeon relate how beautifully everything went and how there was no sign of disease or problems in my uterus. I burst into tears. All I wanted was an answer. I wanted a fixable answer. She thought I was insane. You probably don’t.

We like answers and we like reasons. This happened because. We like cause and effect. Of course we do! Then we can avoid what we don’t want to have happen. And if we can look back and say, “when I did A, then B and C occurred. I really liked C, so I’ll just do A and B again”, that’s happy making.

It’s a lot less happy when we are looking for a cause for our infertility. And somehow, when we can assign blame, it becomes more understandable. This happened because. We want to understand it. That makes sense.

Perhaps it makes somewhat less sense to then assign blame when we find a reason. Each of us is miraculous and also non-perfect living beings. Some of us have thyroid problems, some of us have heart or lung problems, some of us have ego problems, some of us have autism, some of us have lisps. None of us are perfect, that’s a fact of human condition.  

Who stood up and raised their hands for infertility?

That would be zero of us.

Anyone jumping up and down, shouting “me, me, pick me!”?


The Infertility Blame Game

The burden that we impose on ourselves with blame, particularly self-blame, can be more crippling and less treatable than the infertility itself. Infertility is treatable, not always easily, not always inexpensively, not always as quickly as we would like it to be, still, it is treatable.

The blame is also treatable. Is infertility our fault? Was it something that we did? That we didn’t do? That we should have done at a different time or a greater or lesser amount?

Without the benefit of a magic wand to redirect our pasts, we can’t know the answers to those questions. In terms of our physical bodies and blaming ourselves– what’s the point? Is it helpful to blame yourself for a low hormone level or sperm count?

A friend reached out yesterday. She was having a difficult day and wanted to see if there was an affirmation that I could suggest that she use to redirect her thoughts. Usually, it’s she that directs me– I was honored to have a turn.

Here is a variation of the suggestion that I gave to her:

I am strong and healthy.

I am present in my life at this moment.

I am more than enough.

I was glad she asked me about this yesterday. It was a mantra that served me very well all day long.

I think I’ll try this one today.

Maybe you could try it too?

About Lisa Rosenthal

Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.

Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.

Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.

Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.