- Let me start off by give a huuuuge THANK YOU to all of you who came, read, and commented on our post: We need YOU. We love hearing suggestions, ideas, and of course (!) comments on all of our posts. Our goal here is to provide you with helpful information and stories to give you strength and knowledge that you are not alone in this.
One of the suggestions given (by more than one individual) was on being pregnant after treatment. This is a difficult subject to write about considering you don't want to hurt anyone in the process. Pregnancy isn't necessarily the end goal of infertility. It's having a real. live. baby to hold in your arms (or a newborn/older child in cases of adoption) and love for the rest of your life. It's to have a small person to raise, enjoy the wonder of life through their eyes, and watch them grow into wonderful men and women.
So, the question remains...after going through years of infertility, treatments, miscarriages, and everything in between...what happens when you get pregnant? Is there etiquette? Do you stop blogging? Start a new blog? I will be honest. When I was pregnant the first time (2008), I received a lot of support on my blog. However, I lost some readers (understandably). Then I miscarried. I was blessed to still have support from readers that remained. When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I lost more readers...then I went private and lost the majority of them.
Once I became more active on Tw.itter, it was like a constant community of support similar to my blog readers but continuous conversation. I loved it. However, throughout my fertility treatments and journey since having my son, I have lost and gained followers for varying reasons. Some of them have been due to the other person not being in a good place to see my tweets. This is something I completely understand.
However, when it comes down to it. While I understand, it still hurts. It hurts to be following someone, have conversations with them, and then while trying to give them the support they need and deserve one day, you realize they aren't following you anymore. Yes, this happened to me just 2 days ago.
What IS the right way to do things? Someone who becomes pregnant after infertility has every right to be excited. They should feel like they can talk about it, ask questions, etc., without being glared at through the online community.
Those who have experienced miscarriages, loss, or failed treatment also have every right to be silent, hide, or even remove themselves from someone who only triggers their difficult emotions. They shouldn't feel like they have to put on a happy face with fellow IF-ers.
Here are some suggestions for those experiencing pregnancy after treatments...
1. If you blog: Consider where you'd like for your blog to go. Is it something you are wanting to use as an advocate for infertility? Is it for your journey? If so, write up a post to explain to your readers where you are going with it. You can also add an "about me" page for readers to see your journey to understand where you've come from. I believe it's important to acknowledge the journey and not forget where you came from.
2. If you blog: Consider starting a parenting blog (or a blog that includes your child/ren). Don't feel you need to hide your blessings. For those who are still struggling, they might not read your posts. You might lose readers or have less comments. However, this is YOUR story. You worked hard to get to this place. Don't be ashamed and don't be afraid to share your fears (goodness knows that a pregnancy doesn't mean the fear is gone), dreams, expectations, etc. For every person you lose (due to them being in a bad spot), you will give hope and encouragement through your story to someone else.
3. If you tweet: Expect to lose followers. It's just, flat out, going to happen. It's hard not to take it personal, but you will at times. You've grown to love the friends you've made online, and it hurts to lose people (even if you've never met) after experiencing such a difficult journey. You may have some who will not stop following, but will "hide" you or just not comment to you. Try to understand. They don't mean to hurt you, they are only protecting themselves. Also, keep offering support when you can.
4. If you are on FB: Oh yes, the joy of having everyone's business out to slap each other in the face. Prior to announcing your pregnancy on FB, consider your audience. Are there people who you know are still struggling with infertility or multiple miscarriages? Consider sending them a private message ahead of the announcement to give them your news. Explain that you didn't want them to feel slapped in the face with unexpected news. When you DO make the announcement, be tactful. Yes, you are excited to be in this place. But remember that you don't know every.single.person's situation and someone may be a "friend" and suffering quietly. If you feel comfortable, acknowledge that you either did treatments or that you had been on a long, hard journey to get to this point. Be careful of ultrasound pictures (especially as profile pictures--which will come up in their timelines every time to post, like, share anything). Again, don't feel like you CAN'T be happy and show your excitement. Just be tactful and considerate.
For those struggling with being pregnant, and scared, after treatment...
1. Refer to the above 4 points when applicable
2. Know that every.single.IF-er that has become pg post tx has been in your shoes. Even if it ends up being a smooth pregnancy. We didn't share the news of my pregnancy with my son until after the 1st trimester. So, if you're scared, it's okay. Your emotions and feelings are valid and OK to have.
3. In the middle of your fears...waiting for the other shoe to drop...try to take some time to enjoy and cherish. I know, easier said than done. The entire time I was pg with my son, it was a smooth ride, yet I couldn't enjoy it at all. I was scared the entire time, wasn't sure what was normal, what to expect, etc. So once it was over, I felt guilty b/c I didn't take time (not even one moment) to relish in that part of my journey. As I said before, a live baby is the goal...pregnancy doesn't guarantee a baby...pregnancy is part of the journey. When you're ready, try to do something special for your pregnancy. Blog about your symptoms. Take belly pictures. Get a mani/pedi. Daydream with your significant other. Yes, that's taking a chance that if something goes wrong, you will have memories and items that show of the pg. However, there will be people who will help you get through that. Right now, there is a baby growing inside of you. You are holding a miracle. That child deserves to be recognized as being present. In a case of loss, you can have something that shows your child was real. I am proud of the tattoo I got last summer in memory of my first loss.
For those who may actually be reading this post, and be on the opposite side...
1. It's hard not to feel left behind when fellow IF-ers are getting pregnant. It's easy to feel alone. But please, PLEASE know that you are NOT.
2. Understand that just because your friend gets pg, doesn't mean they have forgotten you or don't have any time to offer you support. Yes, pregnancy and child-rearing brings a different lifestyle, but there are those of us still out there cheering you on, praying for miracles, and wanting so badly to take away your pain.
3. Remember that it's okay for you to step away from social media to protect yourself. On the other hand, also remember that just b/c someone gets pg, doesn't guarantee it will be smooth or lonely (I, personally, know the feeling of loneliness when pg after IF b/c there's no one to support you who understands). Those people still need support, anything you can offer (even just a hug or acknowledgment that you see/hear them). And you never know if the the moment you stop reading their blog or following them on tw.itter/FB, that something will happen in their life (pg or otherwise) and they will need the support of the community they were a part of for so long. When you lose friends, and no one IRL understands, you're lost wondering who will support you in your time of need. It hurts on both sides and we need to be understanding of each other.
I hope to bring you more information, advice, suggestions, of offerings of support for those struggling with pregnancy after infertility. It's not something that has a lot of information on the internet. You don't find a lot of books to help with support or resources. It's just not something that is really talked about. But here on Bloggers for Hope, we'll do whatever is necessary to bring you what you need and ask for.
Being pregnant after treatment brings up mixed emotions, new fears, different experiences. Don't be afraid to be proud of getting to this point. Be thoughtful. Enjoy the little moments and milestones. And if you're not there yet...we are here. Supporting you. No matter where you are in the journey or where your road leads.