I usually find the online community I entered many years ago to be a place to find encouragement and inspiration. As a woman who just turned 30 it has become normal to wake up to new Instagram, Facebook and blog posts with women announcing their pregnancy, in both my online community world as well as my in-real-life friends and family.
But these bloggers and other creative women I once went to as a source of inspiration are quickly added to the list of blogs/posts to avoid.
The reality is I cannot stomach another blog about the joys of pregnancies or worse the complaints of pregnancy.
Having spent the last two-and-a-half years trying to start a family and failing, these posts often times throw salt on the still open wounds. Having your heart cry out to be a mom and continuously finding yourself at the doctor discussing yet again another infertility issue makes these posts almost unbearable. Of course, I would never wish someone didn’t get pregnant because of my inability to conceive a baby. However, the constant pinning of maternity outfits and how to raise a toddler on Pinterest when you are barely out of your first trimester is a bit overkill. Online posts showing your belly shots that look like my belly after I eat a monster burrito are a constant gut check to my empty uterus.
In a world where we are constantly connected to others and can share every detail of our lives, the more than daily reminders of someone else’s pregnancy can be a huge reality check for those of us who battle with issues of infertility. I used to think I was the only one who dealt with these feelings, but one in eight, or 12.5 percent, of couples will deal with some type of fertility issue.
What I have come to realize is many women who do suffer from some type of fertility issue are either too embarrassed or too afraid to talk about it. Instead we silently sit and watch others beaming with joy as they find out they are expecting and we hope and pray one day we too will have that same joy.
My infertility issues seem to be magnified when friends begin to “plan” to get pregnant around an impending deployment, their sailor returning from deployment or an upcoming PCS. It is hard to hear someone complain because they were not able to conceive after a month or two of trying before their sailor deployed. It is difficult to hear someone whine that if they don’t get pregnant by month three it will be a pain to move while pregnant. It is challenging to try and find encouraging words when you want to scream that you have been trying to “plan” for a baby for three years.
When someone tries to sympathize with my infertility issues by saying they have been trying to get pregnant for a few months I have a hard time trying to keep a straight face. I have to remind myself they mean well and probably have no idea what to say.
I am constantly reminding myself the rest of world is not trying to push me while I am are already down. They have no idea what I am going through, and are not trying to rub it in my face.
This is especially clear when friends who know of my struggle with infertility share with me privately they are expecting before they do the obligatory post about it. It reminds me I am not alone in my struggle, even just by knowing that I have support and that others are thinking about me. The fact that they empathize or maybe even sympathize with my struggle and let me know that their good news might be hard for me to swallow is a small gesture on their part but means the world to me.
While I know no one posts about their pregnancy to rub it in another woman’s face, I do have a simple request for those of you who will one day share the news of the “plus one” addition to your family:
If you know someone who is suffering with fertility issues think about sharing your news with them privately before sending out a press release through all of your social media platforms. The simple gesture can help the pain your friend may be struggling with and allow them process their emotions.
Jen is a proud Navy spouse and a self-described Navy brat. She is fueled by copious amounts of coffee and cupcakes. She has a slight addiction with thrift stores and Instagraming her fur-baby Khloe, worlds cutest dachshund. Her mission is life is to change the stereotype that all MilSpouses eat bon-bons and watch soap operas all day. She is the social media manager for Blue Star Families and blogs about life at rellasbellas.com. In 2011, Jen and her husband were honored in Washington DC as the Navy Family of the Year from the National Military Family Association.