It has been almost two years since I first started having "symptoms" of early onset menopause. At the time, I was completely oblivious to what was happening. It wasn't until a year later, when I still was not pregnant that I started to catch on and began looking for answers. Answers I never found.
Sure, I have a diagnosis: Premature Ovarian Failure. FAILURE is what I think my brain always saw when I would type those words in the google search bar. Failure is what most women tend to feel like when they find themselves with an empty womb over time.
There were days that I felt so alone, I wanted to stay in bed. There were days I felt so full of rage, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. There were days I felt such a wave of unbearable sadness, I just wanted to lock myself in the laundry room. There were days, I'd spend every spare moment I had "searching" for answers. Searching for a reason why.
Why did this happen? Why was I able to have Lyla so easily and now I'm told my time has passed. Why? Why can't I give her a sibling? Why? Why? Why? Ugh. I hate that question. Because, in all honesty, I will most likely never have my answer. I have my own hypotheses of why, but nothing I can prove.
So, now what? I had the idea to run a marathon to take my focus off trying to have another baby. It actually did help. I'm not sure if it's the time that has elapsed or that all those miles truly did heal my heart, but for the most part, I'm better each day.
What still eats at me, and the reason I'm writing this, is that there are so many women that I now know personally that are dealing with infertility and it breaks my heart. So here is my advice for those that are currently going through any kind of fertility issue and what I wish I would have known two years ago.
1. Love your partner. In the end, no matter what the outcome, your partner will still be there...if you are lucky. Love them with all of your heart and nurture that relationship. If you are feeling alone, chances are, he/she is feeling the same. Focus on the love you have for one another...and not on what you are missing.
2. Make plans. I went so many months saying "no" to things, just in case I got pregnant. You know what...if you get pregnant, you will figure it out later. You'll either change your plans or just continue on pregnant. Let's face it...if you get pregnant, will you really be "upset" about having to go on vacation or to a party with a cute little baby bump?
3. Love yourself. It's not your fault. I don't care what you ate, what medicine you took, what activities you have done in the past. Infertility is not your fault. Don't beat yourself up. You should, in fact, be doing the opposite. Tell yourself every morning that you are beautiful and strong. Look in the mirror and say it. And mean it. The more you believe it's your fault, the more you feel badly about yourself and the more stress you put yourself under. You ARE beautiful and strong and infertility is NOT your fault. Period.
4. Cry. Let yourself feel what you feel without shame. If you are sad, be sad. If you let your emotions build up and do not acknowledge them, they will consume you. You are allowed to be sad. You are allowed to have a good time and laugh. In every way you can, just be true and honest and allow yourself those moments. Share them with the ones you love already. Ask for hugs when you need them. Infertility is a very lonely place at times and many people will not understand that unless you ask for help.
That's it. That's my advice. I wish someone would have told me these things. Or maybe they did, I just didn't really listen. I know it's definitely easier to give the advice than to follow it, but try. You don't have to train for a marathon in order to get through it either. You'll figure it out...someday. Just know that someday doesn't have to be today.