Written by Nichole Czarnecki-Cayer, guest blogger
March 2017. It’s been one year since my fiancé and I started trying to conceive after my first laparoscopy and endometriosis diagnosis. A year of high hopes that slowly diminished with each cycle. Our dreaded “infertili-versary”. An anniversary really not called for any sort of celebrations; except for a pregnancy announcement posted up on social media.
They were the first of our friends to announce a pregnancy (which is truly exciting) through the time we’ve been trying to conceive. But of course, when it rains it pours and it just happened to be announced a week after calling my gynecologist to book our “when we hit one year with no two lines” appointment (to make this time even more exciting, my gynecologist just so happened to give birth to her baby a week prior to our phone call. We didn’t even know she was pregnant because it’s been so long since we seen her!). At this time our friends did not know that we have been trying to conceive, let alone now officially being diagnosised with infertility.
In that moment, staring blankly at my phone screen, I have never felt such a twist of emotions between jealousy, disappointment, disbelief, and guilt. At the first glance of that pregnancy announcement, the guilt set in quickly after jealousy flowed through. I felt like such a terrible person for being so envious of our friends. The jealousy and guilt sat so heavily in my chest. Our good friends were announcing their first pregnancy and a new adventure in their life! We should be genuinely happy for them and jumping for joy! Instead, I sat there bawling, consumed by how upset I was and disappointed that it wasn’t us making an announcement.
End of March 2017. I began my first social media break. I had to for my own sanity and emotional health. As much as I loved seeing others’ hobbies, travels, art, and smiles, the pregnancy announcement and other people’s adventures with their children tore through my heart. Any time I opened up Facebook, the only posts that my mind would absorb was anything pregnancy, baby, or family related. Every time I caught a glimpse at a pregnancy announcement while scrolling, my heart hurt. I already know that removing Facebook and Instagram from my phone was not going to hide our friend’s pregnancy, but it helped remove me being consumed with comparing how “terrible” my life is and how great other people’s lives were.
Our friend’s life is great. Their joys are meant to be celebrated and not brought down with negativity and sadness. I wanted to show them that we will love and support them through this new journey in their life. But first I had to love and support myself through our own journey. Choosing to remove social media was giving me a chance to refocused my emotions and allow me realize how amazing my life was also.
A couple weeks into my social media break, which ended up being more of a complete break from people all together, my fiancé visited with our soon-to-be-parents friends for the first time after their pregnancy announcement. My fiancé had mentioned to me that through conversation with them, he had shared about our fertility struggle. I actually felt a weight lift from my chest knowing that we weren’t in the shadow any more. Knowing that our friends may now have a better understanding of why we did not respond to their social media announcement. I thought maybe this could be a way for us to be more honest, comfortable, and closer as friends?
After a few weeks of solitude, meditation, and reflection with myself, I felt a calling to log back into Facebook. The first post I saw was a ‘pelvic pain support group’ our friend tagged me in. My heart fluttered – she did understand and she does care! Even through her joys of pregnancy, she also cared about my health and our journey that she just learned of. And I know that they will be there for us through every step in our journey as we will for them.
It’s now March 2018. We have still yet to see two pink lines on a pregnancy test. We’ve been working with a naturopath to guide us on living a healthier lifestyle with a better diet, vitamins, herbal supplements, seed cycling, castor oil packs, essential oils, testing, tracking, blood work, semen analysis, acupuncture, a second laparoscopy. Basically “the holistic works” of infertility trial and error. I’ve grasped better control of my anxiety with social media posts and other triggers. We’ve also opened up on social media and to family and friends about our infertility struggle.
I still take mini social media breaks as soon as I start feeling the sad, anxious, or negative feelings arise when I see baby or pregnancy posts from others.
Our friends are now parents to a beautiful girl whom we, and everyone, absolutely adore. They are so supportive, open, and understanding with conversations about their life as parents and our life as a couple experiencing infertility. We have gained so much emotional support from everyone, including our friends, family and acquaintances that have become parents/pregnant through our 2 years of infertility.
My fiancé and I are determined that this year will be our last year of infertility. In 5 days, we have another appointment with my gynecologist to discuss further fertility treatments and hopefully begin our first round of treatment. But until then, happy(?) 2nd infertili-versary to us!