4.15.2011

National Infertility Awareness Week-Myth Busting

As a part of NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week), women all across the country are using blogs to address popular myths concerning infertility. Even though I don't have a widely-read blog, I wanted to do my part to bust my least favorite myth, "Just relax and you'll get pregnant."

My first experience with the infamous "Just Relax" advice was with my family doctor almost a year after we started trying to get pregnant. When I confided in her that we had been trying for a while and that I was getting frustrated, she whipped out her prescription tablet and told me I needed some anti-anxiety medicine to help me relax.

I can't tell you how hurtful it was to hear that. It implied, at least to me, that I was doing something wrong. That I'm the reason I'm not getting pregnant. That all I need to do is get a grip and I'll instantly conceive. That my personality is at fault. I know it isn't true and I know that the people who regularly tell me this mean well. I still want to throat punch them.

In reality, more than 90% of infertile women are so because of physical problems that prevent conception and/or successful pregnancy. There are actually very few people for whom relaxing is really the answer. Do I understand that reducing my stress level is desirable? Absolutely. Will it "fix" the hypothyroidism and poly-cystic ovarian syndrome that prevent me from ovulating? Not in a million years.

By the way, I don't take those pills. I got the prescription filled and then put it away. I don't want to be one of those people who has to take medicine to take the edge off of my life. I don't judge anyone who does. In fact, I totally understand. Just because I didn't take one today doesn't mean that I won't take one tomorrow. I look at the bottle in the medicine cabinet sometimes and then shut the door, hoping the day will come when I won't even think about them.

Maybe one of these days I'll figure out just how to relax. In the meanwhile, I'll keep using a specialist (several of them, in fact) to figure out how to get my body to cooperate and my stubborn ovaries to let a few eggs loose.

If you know someone who's struggling with infertility, please don't tell her to relax. Tell her you've got your fingers crossed and that you wish her good luck and comfort in hard times. And, for God's sake, don't tell her you got pregnant the first time you tried.

For more information about infertility, please visit RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association.

12 comments:

  1. I love it. "And for God's sake, don't tell you got pregnant the first time you tried." Amen. Happy NIAW to you.

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  2. My first IVF cycle, they prescribed a Xanax for the Egg Transfer. The transfer? I could see wanting one for the Egg Retrieval, where they knock you out, and you pray there'll be good eggs. But putting them back in? That's one of the best days of my life! Why would I need to relax for THAT? I have babies. If only for a short while.

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  3. I love this! Well said! I love reading how people are busting myths! I just busted the same one through a poem! Come check it out! (http://stressfreeinfertilityblog.com) BTW, I'm you're first follower and I just added your link!

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  4. Definitely don't tell me "it happened the first time you tried!" Cringe! I think that one makes my skin crawl the most. :) Very well put, and I agree with you, my dear!

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  5. Love your post!
    http://ldsinfertility.blogspot.com/

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  6. Please don't tell someone who has been ttc for years, that you got pregnant without even trying.

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  7. Wow, I'm dumbfounded that your DOCTOR suggested that you needed to just relax! And you're so right about the underlying insinuation that this means we're to blame for our infertility.

    Thanks for the great post. :)

    Visiting from the NIAW blog list :)
    Aramelle @ One Wheeler's World
    http://the-wheeler-family.net/aramelle_blog

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  8. Great post! I also wrote about the same myth. It was the most annoying one and unfortunately most replies came from smug people.

    NIAW Blog list #30

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  9. But the stories that I REALLY want to hear are the ones about your friend's sister's roommate's cousin who adopted and then got pregnant. REALLY. And THEN I'll relax... right?

    Awesome. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  10. Yup, relaxing gave my husband sperm and me functional tubes. You didn't hear? Just hold my hand, will ya? Thanks for joining in and busting this myth!

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  11. You have my support, my concern and my encouragement. I was in your place 20 years ago. We had a happy ending and I'm praying for one for you also.

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  12. Great Bust a Myth submission!

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Elsie Louise Mroch

Elsie Louise Mroch
the puppy who changed my mind