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Infertility Advisor: How Do You Stay Sane?

Sarah Preston Gorenstein

I get a lot of emails from readers who’ve suffered from infertility in some form or another. Some of these readers are women I’ve known at one point in my life (camp, grade school, high school, college, etc.), but most of the emails are from women I’ve never met. It’s made me realize even more what a private disease this is; not everyone feels comfortable talking about infertility (or blogging about it) with the people they’re closest to—sometimes it’s easier being open with someone you don’t know very well. It’s an unbiased ear.

Writing this blog has helped me cope—it’s been therapeutic just writing about it, but it’s also opened me up to a new group of people who’re going through the same thing. One of the reasons I wanted to write a blog about infertility was to shed light on a topic that’s often looked at as taboo, but also to give others like me a safe place to discuss their private struggles.

Regardless of the type of infertility you suffer from, infertility is infertility—primary, secondary, from endometriosis, male factor, egg factor, age. It’s such a complicated disease, and it deserves more attention than it gets. I’m going to attempt to answer, or respond to, as many of your emails as I can. They’ve helped me see that I’m not alone in this; I hope they’ll do the same for you.

Email me any time at spgorenstein@gmail.com, about anything, and don’t worry: Your emails will always remain anonymous.

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Hi Sarah-

I have been reading your blog at parenting.com and I really enjoy it, but don't want to comment because I don't want it to show up on my Facebook feed. We have not really told anyone about our troubles getting pregnant; it is almost easier saying we don't want another one. Any tips on how to stay sane around all of your friends who are pregnant? I feel so isolated. It seems like everyone around me is pregnant, even in my kiddo’s make-up gymnastics class last night 3 out of the 7 parents were pregnant with their third or fourth. 

I, too, have "unexplained infertility" (well, I had a small amount of endometriosis removed, but I was told that it should be a non issue, since it had not affected my previous pregnancies), and it is the worst. I tried Clomid and a trigger last cycle and no luck, but the Clomid made me really, really depressed. We can't do IVF—have no infertility insurance coverage and I don't even know if there are any clinics around here [location redacted], even if it was financially possible. Oh, and to top it off, I work about 30 hours a week as a pharmacist and constantly see people who are pregnant, yet can't take care of the ones that they have. So unfair.

Anyway best of luck to you!

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I can completely relate to everything you’re going through—you are not alone. I have a lot of friends and family who are pregnant right now, too, or have just had babies. You have to go through infertility with blinders on, in a way. Stay focused on yourself, your health, your family. Every situation is unique. (And everyone’s got problems.) Infertility can be a very isolating disease, but when you think about how many women it actually afflicts—about 7.3 million in the U.S. alone—it doesn’t seem so uncommon. But the thing that keeps me the sanest throughout all of this, hands down, is my son’s smile. His happiness is everything to me—even in my darkest days going through this, I never lose sight of what’s most important, and that’s him. If it's even possible, going through secondary infertility has made me appreciate what I have even more.

Best of luck to you too! 

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