The loneliness of infertility treatments and the “Sadness DMV”

No honest account of infertility is going to be pleasant, but many can make you feel worse when you finish reading than before you started.  For those of you as sick of it as we are, we highly recommend Allyson Downey’s article “The Saddest Room on Earth.”  It’s uplifting.  It’s a game changer.  It’s for real.

Downey articulates the loneliness and anxiety that’s almost palpable in fertility clinic waiting rooms, the strange etiquette that resembles a “men’s urinal” and the reasons why your usual support network just doesn’t cut it once you walk through the door of the “Sadness DMV”.  If you are feeling exhausted, lonely, frustrated, angry give this article a read.  It’s impossible not to make you feel better and less alone in your infertility struggles.  To whet your appetite, here are just a few of the moments when Downey’s words made us say, “Amen, sister!”

“I considered myself mentally prepped (or at least steeled) for the medical stuff….  What I didn’t expect was the sense of deflation that hit me each time I stepped into that waiting room, week after week and eventually day after day.”

“I’d go in there a few times a week and sit among dozens of women who were deliberately not meeting each other’s eyes….  The etiquette was what I imagine a men’s urinal must be like.”

“I told my husband it felt like the saddest room on Earth, waiting beside all of these people who are going through the exact pain you are, bust still feeling entirely alone in it.”

“With my friends and family, I was afraid I’d have to start carrying their hopes and expectations along with my own, and that was too heavy a burden to fathom.  I didn’t even tell my mother.”

“Everything else I got from the internet, which if you haven’t figured it out already, is a terrible place to go for medical advice or understanding.  For every legitimate article from an actual professional, there are 50 search results for message board posts from desperate women who know as little (or less) than you do, expressing their own anxieties and weighing in on others’.”

“I’m a true believer in the power of communities, particularly for parents and parents-to-be.”

“But for women (and men) struggling with infertility, there’s no real sense of belonging, because there’s no easy way to figure out who else is in your shoes.”

“There’s a virtual sisterhood for infertility, if you can only find the others who’ve struggled with it (or are struggling with it).”

“Find each other, and build your village.”