Sunday, April 23, 2017

Listen Up, I Can't "Just Relax!"

I've heard it. You've heard it. Everyone in the infertility community has heard it at least a million times on their journey...the dreaded phrase, "Just Relax!"

Fertile people think this is the magical saying. The phrase that will somehow instantly make a baby appear in our wombs. My womb? The same angry womb that has denied me a baby. The womb that has suffered through years and years of infertility medications, shots, embryo transfers, and surgeries. The very womb that has ignored my every plea, every tear and every demand to work. If I would only 'just relax' then the 13 years of pain and suffering I have endured would simply just...go away!

I wish it were that easy.  If so, then all the years of my yoga and meditation classes would have worked.  I would have been pregnant many times over.  I would have a baby in my arms and a toddler (or two) on my hip by now.  Don't you think I've tried to relax and stay calm?  Don't you think I know that stress isn't good for my body.  Do you really think that me being stress-free is the answer?  Do you think my stress is causing my infertility? Do you think infertility treatments are an easy walk in the park? I wish there was a magic pill I could take to relax during this utmost stressful time. I wish I could relax and make it all go away. I wish I had an answer. Most of all, I wish I could get pregnant as easily as almost every other woman around me, but I can't. That in itself, is extremely stressful.

Infertility is not hoped for, wanted, or even a choice. It's a disease.  A disease that affects 1 in 8 couples. Yes, 1 in 8! Infertility isn't something you can wish away. You can't "just relax" and it will disappear. That's not how infertility works. You wouldn't dare tell a cancer patient to 'just relax' thinking that would instantly cure their cancer...would you? How about someone with epilepsy, or diabetes or even dementia? Of course not! So please stop telling me to relax, hoping that it will miraculously cure my infertility and make me pregnant. Infertility is stressful enough. It can destroy marriages and people. I've seen it.

In my last post, I wrote:
"I will not let infertility define me or destroy me, but instead, I will let it remind me of how far I have come. I am more than my infertility. I am strong."

Yes, I am strong and I won't let infertility beat me, but I still cry. I still wonder why. I still ache and long for the baby I will never have. However, I also know that I have tried. I have given my all. I never gave up. I can hold my head up high. I am proud of myself. I am going to be okay.

I am enough.

So listen up, please stop telling me and other infertile couples to 'just relax'. Instead of giving unwanted advice like: 'just relax', 'just adopt', 'just foster',' just use a surrogate' etc., how about you just listen.  Listen to us. Listen to our story. Listen to our pain, our journey, our triumphs, our decisions. Listen to all the things we have overcome, accomplished, and persevered through. All the steps we have taken on Capitol Hill, and all the congressmen and senators we have talked to, while advocating for infertility rights. Listen to the decisions that we have made pertaining to our family building, especially if that decision (whether made by us or if we are forced to choose this) is to be childfree. Listen without judgement. Listen without advice. Listen without persecution or feeling sorry for us.
Just listen.


  1. Thank you for posting this! The "just relax," comment is definitely in my Top 2 of things NOT to say to me. The other is, "you can have my kids." Both of those really get under my skin, and I kind of want to slap the person saying it... :) No matter their good intentions.

    1. OMG yes!!!! Like I want your kids...(insert snarky voice and eye roll here...and I usually do! I have filter anymore! Ha!!)