This past month I have been contacted by a couple people that are new to this world of infertility. And upon their requests I've tried to help them start to navigate their own personal journeys. This has proved to be a very difficult job for me. What do you tell someone that is just starting out? I know there's a lot of people who have been on this road longer than I have. And I know others who's path has been more rocky. That being said after three fresh IVF cycles, 4 transfers (looking at number 5), one early miscarriage, and one chemical pregnancy I feel as if I am a Veteran. I know this process has changed me. And I look back at some of my early blog posts and I barely recognize that girl so full of hope, so naive, and so utterly clueless about what was yet to come.
How do you educate someone without scaring them? How are you honest about what to expect without crushing their hopes? These have been tough questions for me. The the last thing I want to do is to scare or deflate someones hope, but there is part of me that wished someone would have sat me down and told me what to expect. Not only about the tests, the drugs, the side effects, the appointments, the timing. But that this process is HARD. Not only emotionally, but physically. It's hard on your brain, and your heart. Hard on your friendships and your marriage. Hard on your spirit.
How do you prepare someone to constantly feel like they are being tested, judged, and deemed not worthy. That late at night as they lay in bed unable to sleep (whether it's from one of the many drugs or just from regular old worry) you'll wonder if it's truly just not meant to be. That after every failed cycle you will question your doctor, your faith, yourself. That once you know (or accept) that there's a problem or issue it quickly consumes you. And reminders that never used to cause you to blink will become all you see.
How do you tell someone the pain that goes hand in hand with being left behind. Undoubtedly along this journey there will be others who reach YOUR goal before you do. Family members, friends, co-workers, even perfect strangers. And each time you hear that news it feels like a piece of your heart is chipped away.
These are the thoughts that went through my head as I tried to compose an email back to one of these sweet girls. And suddenly it hit me. That although I think all of us can say that we've experienced most, if not all, of what I outlined above there's something else that I know, without a doubt, that we all experience. And that's the strength to go on. To keep trying. To never give up. So instead of telling her about the potential heartache, the stress, the pain, and the worry that lay ahead of her, I told her that she is strong. Stronger than even she herself knows. And that her strength will be tested. But she WILL survive. No matter where this path takes her there is a destination and she needs to focus on that and believe that she will get there. I didn't sugar coat it. I didn't tell her everything will be alright. Because there will be days when it's not I can almost guarantee. I simply told her that she has what it takes to get through. I hope that is enough.