‘I refused to go to church on Mother’s Day because I couldn’t bear it.’: Woman opens up about infertility struggles, ‘It is not a big, bad secret’

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Disclaimer: This story mentions infertility and may be triggering to some.

“Let’s talk about trying to conceive. Our journey on trying to conceive, trying to maintain a safe pregnancy, trying to carry a healthy baby and trying to carry a baby to full term, has not been an easy road.

woman after surgery
Courtesy of Krystle Chavez

I’m about to get real vulnerable and talk about trying to grow our family and continue our legacy. My husband and I got married 4 years ago, we were so excited to start a family. Although we knew I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), and hydrosalspinx (blocked Fallopian tube) it was surgically removed. We never thought in a million years we would have a very hard time getting pregnant like we are experiencing.

The first year we tried with no success, we went to see a fertility specialist and began our road to fertility. We shared our struggle with very few close family and friends. Our loved ones were very supportive and encouraging but none of them had experienced anything like this as they had families of their own or some weren’t in the position to want kids at that moment.

woman at the doctor.
Courtesy of Krystle Chavez

As the years passed, the questions, opinions and judgments started coming in from strangers, colleagues and even some loved ones who were not privy to our journey. It’s interesting how people who don’t really know you and who don’t understand your situation are usually the ones who are very opinionated, blunt, and sometimes rude. I learned very quickly how much emphasis society attributes a woman’s self-worth to her childbearing abilities and the pressure it can put on couples, especially women. I also realized how little people understood about infertility, which sometimes makes them insensitive because people have an unhealthy fascination with people’s reproductive plans.

The challenges in my journey made me retreat and when people asked when I was going to have a child, I’d be evasive and either get sad or upset. With time, I started to withdraw from certain situations e.g. I refused to go to church once on Mother’s Day because I couldn’t bear when the mothers were told to stand to be acknowledged and presented with a gift. Soon, I realized the more I said nothing about my fertility struggles, the more it felt like it was this big bad ‘SECRET,’ which wasn’t good for my mental health. Secrets have a way of holding you captive and building up negative energy which makes you feel shameful and guilty when you shouldn’t.

My husband and I decided to share our journey publicly on social media. The infertility journey is long and isolating and I wanted to find people who are experiencing infertility and can come to a safe place and speak about it openly and honestly and share experiences and lend a helping hand to each other.

woman and her husband waiting for a rainbow baby.
Courtesy of Krystle Chavez

Throughout the 4 years of TTC we have done:

Medicated cycles, timed intercourse, 2 surgeries, 3 unsuccessful IUI’S and now this year we are in the thick of it with our journey with IVF. I just finished my egg retrieval and we were able to get 7 embryos on ice. We are in the middle of our transfer protocol. We are both praying for the best possible outcome while trying to still guard our hearts.

Throughout this journey I have learned that nothing is promised or guaranteed with any fertility treatments. The silver lining would be I have a huge appreciation for the support I’ve received over the last several years of publicizing our truth. I feel like this journey has changed me in more ways than one. I’m more resilient, after going through everything we’ve gone through I feel more brave and a lot stronger. I have spent so many nights hoping and praying for our miracle and I know that our story is not over and God’s promises to us are not void. We will continue to look up and pray.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 1 in 8 couples in the U.S. are dealing with infertility and it’s an issue that effects both men and women equally. I want people to know that although, infertility is a very personal thing, you don’t have to deal with it or go on this journey alone. You can find a community and build a strong support system to get through it and that is what we chose to do. I also want to share my journey publicly because I wanted to take control of the narrative, share my truth, normalize it, empower others and make it ok for them to do the same. Everyone’s journey to conceive is not the same, but there are similarities in the emotional, mental, physical and financial stress is.”

woman proud of how far she has come.
Courtesy of Krystle Chavez

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Leah Krystle Chavez . You can follow her journey on Instagram.  Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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