The Emotional Journey of Infertility: Insights and Compassion

Can you imagine the bravery, courage, strength, and trust it takes to throw out your plans, give up your dreams, turn a new way, and write a new story?
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This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Of course, we all know that infertility exists, so we don’t need to be made aware of that. What does the world need to be more aware of regarding infertility?

I thought about this a lot and concluded that what we (women living the heartbreak of infertility) need is compassion, sensitivity, understanding, love, and support. This can only come from inkling what walking a mile in our shoes feels like.

Unless you’ve been there, you can’t honestly know — but you can have a better understanding. I was inspired by this post from my dear friend Sarah, who allowed us to glimpse her broken path as a bereaved mother.

Today, I hope to offer those of you who may not know what it’s like a peek into life from my view…

Can you imagine living month after month on an emotional roller coaster… hope, expectation, anticipation, and crushed dreams yet again?

Can you imagine wondering if there is something wrong with you?

Can you imagine finally seeing a little plus sign after so many negatives… only to have your child die within your womb?

Can you imagine leaving the maternity ward of the hospital with empty arms and an empty womb?

Can you imagine riding the roller coaster of “trying” again while also riding the tidal wave of grief?

Can you imagine each month taunting you and making you feel like a failure?

Can you imagine another purple plus followed by another loss?

Can you imagine enduring invasive, embarrassing, painful, and intrusive procedures all in an effort to figure out what’s wrong?

Can you imagine having to plan your trips to the store carefully so there’s no chance you have to walk by the baby section?

Can you imagine seeing rounded happy bellies every where you turn and feeling a physical ache inside?

Can you imagine receiving a phone call just two days before Christmas telling you and your husband that you will never bear children?

Can you imagine having to celebrate the holidays that year?

Can you imagine finally packing up your maternity clothes to donate, knowing you’ll never need them, sobbing all the while?

Can you imagine having friends announce their first, second, and third pregnancies all while you still wait?

Can you imagine missing someone you’ve never even met?

Can you imagine your best friend surprising you with her pregnancy announcement, then going to your car and weeping… and feeling guilty because you did?

Can you imagine listening to mothers complain about their duties while you sit with empty arms and a broken heart?

Can you imagine being asked constantly, “why don’t you have kids yet?” and forwarding the question straight to heaven? Yes, why God?

Can you imagine always feeling a little left out, a little on the outside looking in, a little not part of the club?

Can you imagine losing hope, giving up, and almost losing faith?

Can you imagine God piecing your broken heart back together in a way that never quite beats the same way again?

Can you imagine the bravery, courage, strength, and trust it takes to throw out your plans, give up your dreams, turn a new way, and write a new story?

Can you imagine always feeling just a little bit broken… and that never really going away?

**Update: this post went viral quickly, and many readers were new and didn’t have the full context when reading. Please be sure to read the follow-up post “There’s More to the Story” to get caught up on our life now!**

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Lauren Casper

Lauren’s essays, known for their vulnerability and personal story-telling style, have appeared on The Huffington Post, the TODAY show, Dailymail, Yahoo! News, and several other publications

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