5 Lessons Infertility Taught Me About Myself

One of the “silver linings” of infertility is that you really learn a lot about yourself.  Some of the things are good, and some aren’t so good.  Here are a few things infertility taught me about myself in the last two years.

lessons infertility taught me

The Ugly:  I tend to isolate myself

This is not really a new revelation for me. I’ve been aware of this since college, but it’s definitely intensified during infertility. I don’t want to be around pregnant women, or people with young children. The only exceptions are my best friends, but even that is getting difficult now. It’s much easier to stay at home and talk to other people on Twitter going through infertility.

The Ugly:  I eat my feelings

I should really be focusing on eating healthy in order to give my body the best chance for conception. But I think about cookies and potato chips all day long. I want cheese and chocolate and bread. I’m usually good at eating healthy for a day or two, but then I get upset about something infertility-related and I’ll polish off a bag of Ruffles in no time. I’m lucky that I have a high metabolism and don’t really need to worry about weight gain, but I know I’m not nourishing my body with what I eat. I maintained a fairly healthy diet during IVF out of sheer willpower, but in the week after my chemical pregnancy and subsequent period, I ate chips, cheese, and sugar like you wouldn’t believe.

The Good: I am not a mean person.

Some people get mean and rude to other pregnant people and can’t wish them well. I may get sad for me when I find out about other people’s pregnancies, but I haven’t felt the urge to be mean.

The Good:  I am stronger than I thought I was.

When I first realized I was going to have trouble conceiving on my own, I was scared of having an IUI. After a few failed IUIs, I was terrified I would need IVF. During IVF, my biggest fear was an unsuccessful cycle. Now that I’ve survived all that, I realize I’m stronger than I knew. Yes, it was hard, but I survived.

The Good: I can live without a lot of things I thought I needed.

Infertility is expensive. Our insurance doesn’t pay for anything infertility-related, so all our expenses have come out-of-pocket. We are so blessed that we’ve been able to afford treatment without going into debt. Our family has helped us, but we’ve also been very intentional about budgeting and spending. I’ve really come to understand the difference between wants and needs. Paying the RE on time is a need. A new pair of shoes and an afternoon at the spa is not.

What has infertility taught you about yourself? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  

  • Oooooo, this is good. I think I’m 100% with you, in this order! Amen and aaaa-men to the first two. I’m with you on the last one too. My only guilty purchase would be in regards to number two! : ) I could lower the grocery bill a bit if I didn’t eat my feelings!

    • Lisa Newton

      Haha, me too about the grocery bill. Frito Lay’s stock would go down, for sure!

  • so many lessons to be learned on this journey!! So many takeaways and ways we can grow as well!!! I’m thankful for it – I too have learned so much!!

  • I’m with you on these, especially the isolation, although I haven’t yet fully experienced IVF so I guess there is much more to come! I’ve been forced to distance myself from several friends as they have had babies and I haven’t. It probably sounds really selfish to people who don’t understand IF, but I just don’t want to be around them. I would rather focus my energy on something that is working for me, not something that is not.

  • Lisa, those are strong truths that will help others that go through the same thing. Thank you for such honesty. Stopping by from Woman to Woman Link-up.

    • Lisa Newton

      Thanks for the kind words, Cathy.

  • After having lost my first and only child and having no success of another for the last six years, I can totally relate to the hermit crab syndrome. I too have learned that I can endure so much more than I would have ever thought I could. Even as I write this, I can’t believe six years has gone by and I’m still chugging along. The saying is true… “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

    • Lisa Newton

      Christine, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your first child and your struggles since. Hugs and love to you.

  • I’m terrible at isolating myself when something is wrong. Sometimes I need and sometimes I take it too far.

  • I love that you are learning from a difficult experience. It took us 8 years to get pregnant, although we never sought a diagnosis or treatment or anything. I went through some very dark times… especially when my sisters could have kids left and right. I was just commenting on another PYHO post, though, that I love being an older mama in many ways! I still very vividly remember the frustration, anger, envy, hurt, depression, etc. that I went through though. Hugs to you!!

  • Susie (The Esthetic Goddess)

    So many fabulous life lessons you are taking away from this and that in itself is awesome! Wishing nothing but the best and I know somehow or another this will work out for you!

  • dianah gruenke

    Hi Ladies, I’m in the thick of it here. 3 days in from out last failed IUI. Don’t want to shower, don’t want to leave the house,and barely want to cry to my dog about it again. One thing not mentioned, is the absurd fear that I am not enough and my husband secretly resents me for not providing him with a child. Even when he says I love you now, in my head I disqualify it by thinking Love is not enough. If you have any to spare, please send prayers our way. D

    • Dianah, I am so sorry to hear about your failed IUI. It is so hard! I’m so sorry it’s been so difficult and that you’re doubting your husband’s love, even though he says he still loves you. 1 John 4:18 says that there is no fear in love. Whenever you have doubts that Love is not enough, remind yourself that Love IS enough. Any thoughts you have otherwise are from the Enemy, trying to discourage you. Fight against those thoughts by focusing on what you know to be true, what you know to be pure, and lovely (Philippians 4:8). Hugs and love to you, friend.