When bad things happen, we tend to, understandably, react with sadness, anger or a wide range of emotions as we try to process it. It’s difficult in those moments to see it perhaps as an opportunity or a lesson — especially when it comes to news of being told that you may not be able to have children.
Let me tell you a bit about myself: I went through several years of infertility treatment (5 timed cycles, 3 IUI’s and 3 IVF’s) and got pregnant with my son on my third IVF after retrieving 13 eggs but only having ONE embryo. That one embryo is almost five years old now and is obsessed with the movie, CARS.
After my son was born, I returned to my boring day job only to hear about an opportunity to work at Progyny. I’ve been the Director of Patient Care for four years now and work with those who want to pursue building their families in an attainable and educated way (translation: make it possible to afford and fully be up to speed on all of the latest science and technology).
Infertility has changed my life – completely. My friends, my interests, my passions, my home life, my career, my focus and what I write about all, believe it or not, for the better. However, I still don’t like saying, “I’m grateful for infertility”. I just can’t say those words.
Am I grateful for the people I’ve met? HELL YES.
Am I grateful that I’ve taken something so negative and turned it into a whole new career where I can help others? DAMN STRAIGHT.
Am I humbled and beyond appreciative for the son I have? I CAN’T EVEN PUT IT INTO WORDS.
But I can never lose sight that my story has worked out a certain way, and not everyone’s has.
That’s not to say that the only way you can find happiness is to have a baby. I don’t mean that at all. I just mean that some people’s journeys include deep heartache that I’ve never experienced. And infertility in general, although packed with humor (if you can find it) is so incredibly heartbreaking and disruptive that it’s hard to imagine that everyone feels gratitude towards it.
It reminds me of the time Michael J. Fox said he was grateful for Parkinson’s. What an unbelievable and amazing attitude. And part of me DOES get it. There are things, as I’ve mentioned, that I am grateful for that have come out of my experiences but again, I just can’t say, “Thank you infertility!” Not even in jest.
Maybe it’s because I don’t believe you’re given infertility as some sort of guiding fate. To say I’m grateful for it would almost be admitting that it was some sort of destiny for me. Some look for reasons for things and I’m a firm believer in “things don’t always happen for a reason”. Sometimes, sucky things just happen and that plain ol’ sucks.
Ultimately, it’s about how you choose to handle infertility or in general, anything that life gives you. Michael J. Fox has taken his Parkinson’s diagnosis, made others aware of it, raised money towards research to curing it and has given a face to a disease many people struggle with.
I, in my small little way, have taken my experience and my outcome and made choices in how I took my “infertile lemons” to make some serious vodka laden lemonade.
As Epictetus said, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
I hope all of YOU are muddling through and hanging in there no matter what you’re struggling with and that somehow, you’ll be able to turn whatever negative you have into a positive through strength and humor.