My name is Amanda and I’m struggling with infertility. (AHH!! I did it!! I said it!! Ok, well I typed it). Whew. Ok deep breath. Now I'll give you some background. I'm 27, been happily married, thank G-d, since 2011 to Justin and seriously, there’s no one I’d rather be on this roller coaster of life with. Oh, and for some darn reason, we cant get pregnant (yet). After being married for 2 years, I went off the pill and found myself pregnant quickly after. Unfortunately, I miscarried (more to come at a later date on that). While awful and difficult as that was, I’m young, healthy & active, so I assumed it would happen quickly again. It didn’t. A few months went by, then some more, and then some more. In May 2014, I woke up from my fog of denial and saw a fertility specialist. After tests and tests, and more tests and tests (definitely more to come on that), the Dr. said. “you have unexplained infertility”, meaning they don’t know why. Ummm what??? You're the specialist! So basically, everything looks great and yet, here we are.
I'm currently undergoing treatment (way more to come on that too). Don’t worry, we keep occupied and positive and have fun while we wait. During the day, I work as an oncology social worker providing support to those diagnosed with breast cancer. G-d works in mysterious ways and I think I fell into this field to help prepare me, emotionally, for infertility. I don’t intend to compare cancer to infertility, G-d forbid, but a lot of what I do as a social worker could translate into this field. I’m sure you’ll see.
Are you still reading? Then you must be wondering why I’ve decided to share something so private. I wondered that myself for a few months while I toyed with the idea of writing a blog.
Here are some facts:
**10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage
**1 in 8 American couples will experience infertility
**1.1 million Americans will receive treatment for fertility this year
**More than 50% of couples hide their struggle to get pregnant from friends and family
Thankfully, I have amazing friends and family who share in my journey and let me vent and cry and laugh (more to come on that too). But within the Jewish world, fertility is such a taboo thing. That most women decide to struggle (note that I didn’t say suffer although some may feel that way) in silence makes it that much more painful. Why be alone when there’s a community of women just like you itching to share their story, offer guidance, or a word of encouragement? As a social worker, I’ve read studies and seen first-hand the power of groups and support systems. After talking with each other, our lives often become easier and more fulfilling. While this isn’t necessarily a Jewish blog (I’m not here to push any kind of religious agenda), my relationship with G-d plays a big part in my life and in this journey. You don't really have a choice when you're diagnosed with "unexplained infertility". The unexplained part definitely tests your faith (more to come on that too). It’s also important to note that I won’t discuss Jewish law so if you have a question, please ask your own religious authority.
There’s a saying: “it takes a village to raise a child”. I’d like to say, “it takes a village to (hopefully, one day) have a child”. It takes doctors, nurses, and a support system! Whether you too are struggling with infertility, know someone who is, or just looking for some information and education, I hope you’ll read along. If you are just looking for some good gossip, the least you can do after reading this is to say a prayer for those struggling (see the “Prayer List” tab). I’ll do my best to make this educating and uplifting, lighthearted and encouraging, although some posts may be more emotional and difficult to read. That’s this journey – it’s filled with raw, real moments- moments of joy, struggle, fears, and hope. I’ll try to be authentic and honest about what I’ve went and am going through, and what I’m learning.
So buckle in! There’s more ahead! Thanks for reading!
Note: I've decided to share this journey with you. That doesn't mean that others are as willing, and it doesn't mean that my family is always as willing. Please be respectful and compassionate to my husband, parents, siblings, etc. Please don't ask them questions without them initiating the conversation. (Example - don't say "OMG I can’t believe it" when standing in line with my mom at the supermarket). Infertility is a family struggle and this effects them too so please, just be careful and courteous, and don't use this as your shabbas (Sabbath) table gossip :)
Also, if you haven't yet caught on, fruit refers to children, as in "be fruitful and multiply". Get it? I titled this “The Fruit Market” in hopes that it becomes a place in which you visit often, look around, chat with neighbors, and leave with some good, fresh stuff. Please also take some time to look at the different pages of this blog (Prayer list, Community Forum, Resources, etc) – I am going to work on making them fancier with pictures and audio so stay tuned.
PS - If you're interested in being a guest blogger or sharing your story (by name or anonymous), or if you’re in need of some support or have some “what to expect” or information questions, please reach out to me privately or comment on the forum. This blog is for you.