It’s a strange time right now. The world is in a global pandemic, we are all sheltering in place, and the future is unknown. Parents across the country are spending their days on zoom meetings, attempting to juggle e-learning and a full-time job, while continuing to stay sane, keep up with laundry and feel cute in our fancy daytime pajamas. Strange times indeed. So, imagine all that and then pile infertility on top of it all. For so many of us, that is our reality. We were scheduled to start another round of treatment only to find the cycle canceled before it even began because of COVID-19.
I haven’t had a natural ‘cycle’ in over a year. There I said it. Between the miscarriages and failed treatments, my body has been through the wringer. So when this last cycle was canceled because of COVID-19, I tried to see the positive in it all. This is a forced reset. Fertility is a rollercoaster. You start one plan, and at the same time, you begin planning for the next month in case it doesn’t work. You get wrapped up in the next steps. You are googling the latest drugs and treatments trying to figure out which might be a fit for you. This month I chose to see the bright side and see this as a time for my body to rest.
It happened as soon as states started their stay at home order. Posts saying, “there will be so many babies created during this quarantine” or “in 13 years we will have quaran-teens”. Do me a favor. Please stop. I never thought I would be that person to care about that kind of stuff, but you never know who might not have that option. Just to give you some idea, during 2011–2013, approximately 1.6 million (6%) married women aged 15–44 years in the United States reported difficulty getting pregnant. Please think about them before you post. While we’re at it, please stop saying, “oh, you’re lucky you don’t have kids, or you can have mine.” I know plenty of women that would take the chaos all day long. I know you’re kidding, I’ve been there. I’m home working with a 4-year-old all day and sympathize. But COVID-19 is another harsh reminder for those struggling with infertility that there’s still something missing.
I remember back in March sitting at a conference and getting the updates, NCAA March Madness, canceled. NBA games and The Masters canceled. Area conventions, canceled. You get the drift, and fertility treatments were not exempt. Those were canceled too. For so many of us, we’ve been waiting for that next treatment, and all of a sudden, we have nothing. My story is not unique, but I’m one of the lucky ones honestly. I have read countless stories from women and men who had spent thousands on meds and were mid-treatment only to have it canceled as well. The fertility world is a resilient group. We rally, and while our treatments might be canceled, our hope isn’t.
These are strange times right now, but it’s important not to forget those struggling with infertility. April 19th-25th is National Infertility Awareness Week. This week is intended to increase awareness of infertility, which affects both women and men. These families continue to search for that missing piece. Being quarantined gives you a lot of time to think. My husband and I often discuss things we’ve learned or gotten out of this time at home. Throughout the last five weeks, I can safely say my biggest takeaway hasn’t changed. I want a sibling for my son. We are so lucky and blessed to have this four-year-old boy, but seeing him without a sibling kills me. Put simply, COVID-19 sucks and is wrecking families across the country in more ways than one. I know I speak for the rest of our team in saying we salute our first responders, those struggling to keep their head above water, countless families with loved ones that have lost a battle with the deadly disease, and so many others. Above all else, stay safe and stay healthy.