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Infertility: You Are Not Alone the Aftermath

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Sometimes you get what you want and you would think all will be well but then you realize some ghosts just cannot be exorcised. This particular post is not your typical infertility blog. This blogger for those that do not know is a man and he blessed enough to have an IVF child with his wife. I have a great bit of respect for my infertility circle and understand the sensitivity of those reading a blog about the pains of infertility from a person lucky enough to already have a child but in infertility there are many stories and this is ours.

The common gripe you hear from those that suffer from infertility is being angry and or jealous of your friends when they are pregnant while you are trying to just get pregnant. It is an understandable human trait be frustrated when you can’t have what its seems everyone around you attains with ease. Why would infertility haunt you even after you have a child? I am an only child as is my wife. We both admit we never considered having siblings as kids but we both grew up in neighborhoods where kids our age were out at all hours. Just step outside and join the nearest group of kids and you did not have time to consider you were a single kid.

In 2015 most everyone is time starved. Both parents work in most households and in many cases the schedules are opposite of each other. Playdates have taken place of stepping outside and joining up with a group of neighborhood kids. Playdates are a mixed bag because not only does the date include the kids it includes parents that do not always know each other. Some people are comfortable with that (myself included) and others are understandably not. Finding a playdate family is nice but rarely is it a regular event. You may be like us and find yourself in a beautiful neighborhood with wonderful neighborhood and kids galore but schedules just don’t seem to line up and the kids sometimes only catch glimpses of each other when they are just going in for the night. The kids have schedules too. Kids do so many things these days from sports to arts to school activities. As a group we have taken our time starved adult lives and handed them down to our children with their own time starved schedules. What is the hell does this have to do with infertility?

When you are an only child you notice when your friends have siblings and siblings equal a play partner. Siblings equal that lifetime partner in crime and person you can share secrets with. The single child knows nothing of sibling rivalry or the politics of sibling civil war. They don’t see sharing toys, space, TV, and mommy and daddy. They only have the why: “Mommy and Daddy why don’t I have a brother or sister?”.

We were honest with our daughter. We explained in the best terms possible that we barely held on to her and that because of infertility issues she will be an only child. She gets it sometimes but then one of her friends has a sibling and is no longer an only kid and she realizes she is the only kid in a neighborhood full of kids that has her own room, playroom, ton of toys, but when it’s thirty minutes to bedtime she has no child to play with. She looks at Mommy with big eyes and innocently mentions that she is the only single kid. The infertility that my wife kicked the ass of over six years ago reaches out from its grave and crushes her. Now my wife does not feel the pain for her and I but our daughter too.

My wife understands everything. She understands she was fine as an only kid. She knows full well the fortune of having one child. She also knows our daughter is not trying to hurt her feelings when she tells her she wishes she had a sibling or there is no child for her to play with. My wife takes it all to heart. She is reminded of the feeling of being a failed woman and now it is compounded because she thinks herself a failed mom to boot. She went from failed woman to failed wife to failed mom and even though none of that is true the spectre of infertility has a way of making you believe lies. You hear new things from people when you talk about infertility that happens after a child is born. You hear that your life is great and you should feel lucky to have what you have but now you see the world through your childs eyes and admitting to them you are not able to give them something they want is painful. As the husband all you can do is console. You are a chained dog to infertility as the man. You would destroy anyone that hurt your wife but infertility is intangible so like a dog tethered to a tree all you can do is pull at the length of your chain and bark because you will never be able to bite.

I look for ways to console but they are fruitless. I sometimes find myself thinking I am intruding on others when set up playdates for my daughter. I worry when I think my little girl has not found her lifetime friend yet even though she is only six and all good things in time. She has great friends in the neighborhood and lifetime friends so far but eventually grade differences split kids apart, friends you only see every few months stay friends but the kids grow apart to at least some degree. Infertility reminds me that I will always be looking over my wifes shoulder to make sure it is not pulling her down. It reminds me that when you think it is no longer a factor in your life your child is sad because she doesn’t understand that the older kids move on and another can’t play because it is late and they are getting ready for that crazy schedule all kids seem to already have.

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At this stage infertility is a teaching moment. It causes you to step up your game as a parent. You learn to be more honest with your kid. You learn to find new ways to keep them occupied and work harder to make new friends at her school and her activities so maybe she finds a friend that will be the Thelma to her Louise. This is where you teach her to never give up on things and to find ways to not let the dark things in life crush your dreams, hopes, and self-confidence. Infertility never goes away but it does not have to win. Twenty years from now infertility could haunt her and even though she will have been well versed in all we told her about in the first two and a half decades of her life she will feel the same pains a person just discovering infertility feels. I hope she never knows that battle. She is not alone if it happens. She is not alone figuring out that single children are fine. She will never be without us next to her watching her grow and make friends. My wife too will never be alone because as long as a breath comes from my lips I will never let it win by taking her out emotionally.

This is my third year writing a blog for this annual Resolve event. I will never forget where we were and how we felt. We are fortunate we had a child but I still see hurt in my wife eyes from time to time as she enters a new level of the infertility struggle. No matter where you are in your struggle you are not alone. You are important and you are loved. Below are links that will help you to better understand infertility. Please consider surfing the web for others personal stories.

In 2011 I wrote The Longest Love Letter. The E Book is the true story of our infertility journey. It leaves little to the imagination but is the most honest thing I have ever written. It is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

http://www.amazon.com/Longest-Love-Letter-Andy-Thornhill-ebook/dp/B004MYGAM2

Infertility Grass Roots and News

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Several years ago my wife was on bed rest for eight months after a bleed occurred shortly after an IVF cycle. My wife’s family lived seven hours away and I worked as many as twelve hours a day. She had a laptop but did nothing on any social network. She did not have an I Pad or a Nook only a book and TV. She did not have any friends who had been through the infertility process. I turned our bedroom into a pseudo hotel room with a fridge and snacks galore. She was by herself a lot. I can only imagine where her mind wandered sometimes.

After our daughter was born my wife discovered Facebook. I wrote a book called “The Longest Love Letter”. It tells our story with infertility. I used Facebook to help get the story out to the public. I discovered several support pages including my favorites Resolve, Attain Fertility, and 999 Reasons To Laugh At Infertility. I have always wanted to pay back to the community our experiences. I started a new blog that is dedicated to Assisted Conception called Sunshine Dreams and Hope.

Recently I have read about so many things that affect the Assisted Conception Community. I thought it would be wonderful if there were one place these things could be shared and found. It is very important that it is a true community page where bloggers and news come together to give people a place to discover they are not alone. I want people to post things on the page wall that can benefit others. I want people to get another perspective here too. It is not for any profit. My wife would have felt better if she had a place she could go to from time to time to get information. I hope everyone will go to there discover things, add things, and feel better. It should not be considered a site that has “The Answers” because only your physician can give you that but if you read an article or blog that discusses something you never considered you may want to ask your doctor about it.

Recent stories and developments in the Assisted Conception world are Walk of Hope and The Personhood Laws. If you visit Resolve.org there is a link to Walk of Hope. Below is Resolve’s description of the event.

“RESOLVE’s 2012 Walk of Hope is a 1-mile walk that recognizes the many ways in which families are built, supports local support and programs for the 7.3 million women and men living with infertility and raises public understanding of how the disease of infertility impacts families nationwide.

The Walk of Hope is being held in several locations across the country. Funds raised from the Walk support local RESOLVE programming which includes support groups and educational events, public awareness initiatives, and advocacy efforts to ensure family building options are available to all!

The name “Walk of Hope” embodies the emotion that most people living with infertility feel. They are hopeful their dreams of family come true. Some hope to simply find a peaceful resolution to their infertility journey. A Walk of Hope is an event that represents the infertility journey—a series of small steps, each one filled with hope and a reminder that no one should walk on this journey alone.”

The Walk of Hope will take place in Scottsdale, Arizona on March 24, 2012. Atlanta Georgia on April 28, 2012 and in Washington DC on a date to be announced this Spring. We hope to attend the DC walk. Resolve gives you the ability to create a safe page to collect donations from your friends for your team. I have used this type of page when doing the Polar Plunge and they are very easy to use.  This is a great chance to share a wonderful experience with equally wonderful people.

Another ongoing story is the “Personhood” law some states have tried to pass. Recently it made it through the House in Virginia. This law is an abortion law that inadvertently or purposely lumps IVF in with it. Personhood laws aim to declare life to begin at the earliest point of conception, basically giving the earliest form of an embryo Human Rights. There is  a provision that states that lawful assisted conception is protected but if an embryo has Human Rights any act that endangered it would possibly be unlawful. Lumping IVF and Abortion together is dangerous. Most people are afraid to debate abortion, including myself, and they may not notice or be afraid to argue Personhood because they do not want to look down the barrel of a very strong Pro Life Contingency. The facts are that IVF is about life and abortion is not so keep them separate and do not take away the ability for families to be realized with a child through IVF and other legal, regulated, and safe practices.

These stories and stories similar to it can be be found on my new Facebook page “Infertility News You Can Use”. I hope you will visit that page and like it and add to it. Let’s make this a grass-roots movement that helps everyone.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Infertility-News-You-Can-Use/168649429917070?ref=tn_tnmn