As we start round 2 of IVF, I find myself both a perfect example of an infertility warrior as well as someone feeling a bit unworthy of the title.
Such cool news! I was featured on Bumps to Baby yesterday for Warrior Women Wednesday, telling a bit about my story, as well as offering some words of comfort and strength (I hope) for all of us going through this infertility journey.
Infertility Warrior. What Earns that Title?
Such a title. One that I have adopted, but one that I sometimes find that I question with regards to myself.
Yes, I deal with infertility. Yes, we have been trying to start a family for at least the minimum amount of time that it takes to be considered “dealing with infertility.” No, Alex and I would not be able to conceive on our own (you’ve already gotten that background here). And yes, even though we have started the process, we have hit some speed bumps.
But I still struggle with feeling like I am worthy of the title of “infertility warrior.” Probably much in the same way that someone who runs more slowly or does a run walk or has just started running feels about calling themselves a runner. But don’t we say that, if you run, you are a runner?
Does the same apply here?
Or do you have to be several years in, have gone through the gauntlet of dealing with x numbers of failed transfers, x numbers of miscarriages, x number of heartbreaks.
I’m totally comfortable thinking about myself as an IBD warrior. I may have it a bit more easy now, but I didn’t in the beginning, and at several times over the course of my disease, I have had to deal with really rough periods where I have been extremely sick. I may still have my entire digestive system, but we all know that doesn’t mean that it always works.
But I don’t feel like I’ve been through the gauntlet yet with infertility the way so many have. I haven’t been trying for four years, or had 7 years of failed IVF. I haven’t yet had to deal with severe OHSS (explanation here). I will be honest and tell you that I hope from the bottom of my heart that I never have to deal with any of that.
I feel like I haven’t yet felt the soul-crushing disappointment that seems to be the trademark of infertility.
When we got our negative hCG test a few weeks ago, I was disappointed, of course, but I also had had a feeling for several days that it wasn’t going to happen. We had sort of prepared ourselves for it not to work. Again, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t want the IVF cycle to work, I just had time to prepare myself.
This time around, I know that I will react differently. This time, I know the process. I am not worried about the shots or the ultrasounds or the labs or the number of times I will need to go in. I am a little worried about how I will react to the increased levels of medication, and the fact that I might end up with some OHSS symptoms. I am worried, but trying not to entertain the thought, of what will happen/etc if this round doesn’t work. There is a lot more pressure for a positive result the second time around.
Will I need a second failure in order to feel like an infertility warrior? Will I need not only to experience not only struggle but something even further?
I don’t know. If that is what I need, then I hope I never do reach infertility warrior status. I hope I feel like a sham and a fraud for the rest of my life.
And do I need to feel that I am an infertility warrior? Does that empower or victimize me?
I think it does something different for every person.
I am a warrior for women, a warrior for men. I like to think that I am an Expectations Warrior.What makes you a warrior? Is it in how much you struggle? Join the discussion #infertilitywarrior… Click To Tweet
And I am going to live beyond them.
Labels do not define who I am, or what I am going to do with my life.
What label do you struggle with, though you might technically illustrate?
I would love any other thoughts!
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking out Loud Thursday.