Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Who ya gonna call? Myth Busters!

Ok, I changed my mind. I'm going to go a-myth-busting today rather than tomorrow (award ceremony to be held then). I decided to participate in Resolve's Bust a Myth Challenge weeks ago. I then saw the Ladies in Waiting Book club were also participating. I signed up for both! I figured the more avenues I explore, the more I can help and get the word out, maybe even connect to other women that are having the same issues we've had.

So without further ado -

Myth - “You’re infertile because of your lifestyle”

Busted! - “You work too much”

“You should eat more/less. You’re too thin/big”

“You worry too much. Just relax”

“You’re always away from home”

I’m not sure how many other women have heard these things from helpful friends and family, but I don’t know a single person that is/has experienced Infertility that hasn’t had someone tell them about some diet, exercise, stress relief, what-have-you that will aid in conception. It’s like they think that it is some lifestyle choice that we’ve made that is keeping it all out of reach for us.

So what could it be about my lifestyle that is so unreceptive to having a baby? Financially stable (ish)? Eating healthy? Having a decent balance between work and home? I just can’t figure it out. We’ve even made improvements in some areas that were a bit less than ideal when we 1st realized we may have a problem. We are both the healthiest we’ve been, far more connected and emotionally close than we were, and are ready in every imaginable way for a little one to call our own.

Like so many infertile couples, we don’t drink (much), smoke, do drugs, catch STDs, have wild weekend parties and benders or push our bodies to some other extreme limit. We are just an average, everyday couple, doing what typical married people do and start a family. Infertility is not because of some choice we’ve made or not made. We just have been dealt an unfortunate hand. Nothing we change in our perceptions or routines will magically knock me up without the aid of medical mojo.

Working too much, worrying, and not being at an absolute perfect weight are not preventing my unfashionably late eggs, or too short LP from being more timely. Working less and not worrying didn’t do anything to prevent the miscarriage, either as I took 2 days off work to enjoy "being pregnant" with my husband. None of those apply to the Boy’s boys as he’s almost always relaxed and does just what he has to at work without doing too much extra, and almost the same at home. Maybe his easy-going nature and chill demeanor is the reason his swimmers are too mellow? Finally! A downside to “relaxing”!

In all seriousness though, if lifestyle choices caused Infertility, there would be no babies born to strung-out, overdosing moms; athletes wouldn’t be able to reproduce; and teenagers and college kids wouldn’t “accidentally” get pregnant from that one night stand they can’t remember after that wild party. In fact, if more people practiced our general and reproductive health choices, there wouldn’t be Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, birth defects from lack of folic acid and other vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, or babies that are abused, starving or homeless.

If there was some fault in our lives that we could change and not have to experience the heartbreak, pain, and anguish of Infertility, I’m sure all of us would do what ever was in our powers and abilities to fix it ASAP. If only it were that easy…

To suffer from Infertility is not a choice that someone makes by doing or not doing X, Y or Z. There is no change in our daily habits that can be made to magically make us fertile. By the point most couples have reached the “infertile” diagnosis, they have most likely already run the gamut of “What can we change or do to improve our chances” analysis on every aspect of their life and have probably exhausted every conceivable “fix”. At this point, Infertility becomes the lifestyle, working its way into every nook and cranny of our lives.

Infertility is not because of some inherent problem in how we are living our lives. No. We experience Infertility because of medical issues that plague our bodies. And unfortunately, there isn’t much that one can do on their own to repair or overcome what in their body is malfunctioning. That isn’t a choice that we can make. We can't just will  or decide when our bodies work, and it can't be helped without the intervention of medical professionals, not to mention time, effort, money, blood, sweat, and tears. 

The only choice we can make about Infertility is how we deal with it. We can choose to continue to have hope and move forward. We have a choice not to let it define us as women or men. We are able to choose to be happy (or sad or mad). We have a choice to reach out to other for support and understanding, to share our stories and have our voices heard.

 *** My preliminary Myth Busting can be read over at The Ladies in Waiting Book Club. ***

*** More information about Infertility can be found at http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 ***

***For background and to participate in National Infertility Awareness Week® (NIAW), visit http://www.resolve.org/takecharge. ***       

You can also bust your own myths - Go to Resolve's Bust an Infertility Myth Submission Guidelines to see how!


  1. Awesome post!!! And thanks for the early birthday wishes!

  2. My favorite: "The only choice we can make about Infertility is how we deal with it."

    Well said. I love this post!

  3. Wonderful post!!! I love when you say that the only choice we can make about infertility is how we deal with it! So very true.

  4. This is a truly fabulous post, and you hit some topics I have pondered during my time dealing with IF. Should I have gone on that 8 mile run during my TWW? Should I cut out all caffeine? Should I eat only organic? And a million more. But just like you said, then athletes would never get pregnant and coffee would be an inexpensive and delicious form of birth control.
    This is a great post and I am so glad you shared!
    -Here from ICLW!

  5. New follower here from ICLW! Love the post, and am looking forward to following your blog :)

  6. I love this post!! So true.

    About our lifestyle choices? Ahh yes, I eat balanced meals, don't drink or smoke, get enough sleep, take my vitamins every morning, and am at a healthy weight. THAT must be why I'm infertile. Got it.

    I think I will use this next time somebody says it is because of my lifestyle.

  7. Very good!!! I hate that people think that it is our lifestyle that has determined whether we are infertile or not. It has nothing to do with it!! I even changed my job to have the perfect "baby making" job and it did absolutely nothing! Should've kept working in town making lots of dough!

  8. thanks so much fo putting is so beautifully!

  9. Wonderful post. You covered it all. I feel like I should print our business cards with various post addresses on them and when some moron says something hurtful, simply pull the card out of my bag, hand it to them, walk away, and let your words do all of the work for me. I won't do that...but one can fantasize.

  10. Here for ICLW. Great post. Couldn't agree more!

  11. Oh, and I nominated you for an award. I know you've already been nominated, but I don't care :)