How can we support those that need it, change inaccurate publicly held beliefs and enable more understanding unless we talk about it. Having experienced the belief that I was infertile from a consultants advice and then experienced secondary infertility (unable to conceive a second child) I feel as though I have some insight. My son was conceived just before we embarked on assisted conception. There are no words to describe the gratitude that I experience every single day when I look at him having been through a stage of doubt. Against all odds he arrived. I do believe in miracles for this very reason.
Infertility is nothing to be ashamed of and keeping it on the down low makes it feel as though it is. Understandably none of us want to start telling everyone about our intimate lives and personal struggles but it's OK to be open. You would be amazed by the amount of people experiencing problems with conception or being told that they can't have children. I would go as far as to say that I know as many people having difficulties as I do not having difficulties. Once you talk, others talk, a weight gets lifted and a sense of being understood is felt. There is possibly nothing more healing than feeling as though someone else understands your pain and struggle. We are meant to support each other; we have a natural disposition towards compassion. Keeping sadness, fear and thoughts inside can lead to longer term discomfort and health issues.
What are the problem beliefs surrounding infertility?
There is a lot of coverage in the media about female fertility and this is just a gentle reminder to the media that men have some involvement too. It's a complex series of events taking place during conception and the men have a fair amount of responsibility too. Male age and health also impacts fertility.
The 'stressed career women', gets a lot of attention too. So far infertility is not believed to be caused by stress alone. Stress may mean that the time to conceive is extended somewhat due to the body being under pressure but no research has shown that stress directly causes infertility. Infertility itself causes a lot of stress though and this can lead to health problems. Having a career is not to blame, being busy and stressed might mean that things take longer but it won't directly make you infertile. Managing stress is important to our health generally as we know it can be the root cause to many illnesses.
The age we choose to begin thinking about starting families gets lots of opinions voiced. Age, oh the pressure! Sure, the younger you are the better for conception, and for all of the reasons we know. Of course as we get older we experience changes that impact on fertility BUT, a lot of the research also shows that younger people get pregnant quicker because they have more sex!
Also sometimes it takes a month to get pregnant and sometimes it takes 3 years, we feel an awful lot of pressure to get pregnant immediately and its not all within our control.
More often being unable to have children is down to factors such as health issues - which are sometimes unfortunately unexplained and unclear, long term conditions or a period of unexpected illness. I wonder if we dismiss some of the incorrect beliefs it may help in some way. Maybe just ease the pressure that women feel. Be aware of the beliefs that you hold and the impact that they have on your sense of self. We build up a picture of how we should be and often this causes a lot of discomfort. We are bound to the ever changing nature of reality. The thoughts we have impact upon our behaviours and create our world. Remember our interpretation of events is really very important to our wellbeing. Bring a little more awareness to your thoughts and do share them when you can.