this is trying
My husband Stephen and I spent a solid decade consumed by infertility.
Having come from a large extended family, I spent years tying to avoid pregnancy until I was truly ready. I was blindsided at the age of 32, learning that my eggs were "failures". We endured fertility treatments, countless failed cycles & several miscarriages. We got second opinions, tried Chinese herbalists, acupuncture, & meditation. We were desperate. Nothing worked. I ended up depressed and utterly spent. I constantly wondered what was wrong with me.
Eventually, I was told I had no other choices to give birth besides donor egg. I had never known anyone who had children with IVF, let alone the idea of using another woman's egg & my husband's sperm to have my child. I could not imagine that I could come to terms with what sounded like science fiction.
In the end, it did take a village to get me pregnant. Through the help of Resolve New England (RNE), some very kind strangers, four more cycles & two different egg donors, our family is finally complete.
Even years later, I have never forgotten the hours I spent crying in the car, lying to employers about my time at infertility treatments, or the loneliness I felt in a silent waiting room full of people all stuffing down similar pain.
I wish I had opened up more. I wish I had had a support group. I wish I went on anti-depressants sooner.
With the help of RNE, I started a support group here in western Massachusetts, spoke about infertility at a TedX conference, and started an Instagram project designed to be a sort-of long-distance support group. I will talk to anyone who will listen about the prevalence of infertility and how best to support a friend or family enduring the process.
While I appreciate that no one can take away the pain of infertility, studies show that having someone to share the journey with can help to avoid some of the trauma that many of us have suffered.
1 in 8 couples battle infertility. Millions of babies have been conceived through assisted reproductive technologies. I hope to bring awareness of the prevalence of infertility and pain that infertility can cause in the hopes that others can find the help they need. Infertility can be lonely but you are NOT alone.
Click the Resolve New England and Resolve national links below to find resources for infertility education, support, and advocacy.
Participants Needed For The Instagram "This Is Trying" Photography Project: Please email Erin directly if you are currently battling infertility & would be interested in sharing your story or even part of your story, even if only anonymously. Together we can reduce the stigma of infertility & help others feel less alone.
Please note that this photo essay is a personal & detailed recollection of our decade of infertility, including several miscarriages. Such descriptions may be triggering.