Hidden costs of infertility treatment; what does it cost you?
Today, I'm remembering another cost of infertility, a cost not covered by any of the above. I'm remembering things that I gave up at different points while I was in treatment. Some of what I gave up, I gave up gratefully as they had become too painful to manage. Some of what I gave up, I did regretfully, almost as though I had no choice but to allow them to slip away.
There were the more obvious events that became too much, such as baby showers and babies parties. I know from some of you that certain family holidays became too challenging, either because of children present, pregnant family members, or questions that struck too close to the bone. One close friend even talked about avoiding Super bowl Sunday as it was a family free for all and she felt overwhelmed by it all in the midst of treatment.
Lack of intimacy with my friends became a sore point. Although there was loss of intimacy in other ways (sexual intimacy with my husband became strained when it became all about conceiving as well, for example), my friendships are my point here. My friendships are important to me. They are a huge source of support, conversation and humor. Feeling those friendships straining at the seams felt scary to me. My fear of losing my friends and still feeling unable to find the emotional energy to maintain the relationships, left me feeling even more isolated and sad.
I couldn't talk to my friends about what I was going through and it felt dreadful not to talk to my friends about what I was going through. Between the proverbial rock and a hard place. I did learn a few things that I value to this day.
I learned that sitting with myself, I was in pretty good company. I learned that writing allowed me a safe way to vent some of the nastiest, meanest things that I sometimes felt and thought. I learned that even the awful moments passed and became incrementally better (or sometimes, worse, first!) I learned that chocolate, movies, books and baths were all fabulous band aids and very useful. I learned that my friends were available, non-judgmental, sympathetic and supportive when I could let them in and loving and compassionate when I couldn't.
I learned what incredible friends I had and still have. How lucky to have been infertile and found that out? Nope. But since that's how things went, am I happy to have learnt the depth of feeling in these friendships? Absolutely.
What are the unexpected hard things for you about infertility? Even if you just email me or post one word, I'd appreciate it. I don't need to share it.
And it might help you to just simply say it.
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.