What to Expect When You're Not Expecting

You've most likely read the book, seen the movie, have the app, visited the website, or have at least heard of What To Expect When You're Expecting. For expecting mothers it is a fun way to follow each week of your pregnancy, like "today your baby is the size of a papaya," and "did you know your baby has fingernails?"  **insert more Juno quotes here

But what about when you're not expecting??? What do you expect then?

It's not like most of us grow up expecting to be infertile. Maybe some who have endured the horrors of endometriosis, PCOS, or other troubles receive some warning from doctors along the way. (But even then, you never know! Miracles do happen! Congrats again, Brandleys!!)

I, certainly, did not ever expect infertility would ever be part of my life. I didn't have any indications before trying that would have warned me. And I never had anyone really close to me have trouble getting pregnant. In fact, I had more experience seeing people who needed What to Expect When You Weren't Expecting to be Expecting.

So I'm here to tell you what no one ever told me:

What to Expect When You're Not Expecting

Expect for getting pregnant to not be easy. I know it seems like everyone is getting knocked up right and left. Trust me, I KNOW! But, for the most part, it actually is normal to take 6 months to a year to conceive. You aren't even considered infertile until you've been trying to conceive for a full year. It sucks, a lot, but you are not alone! There are actually a lot of us. Those who say "Let's have a ba... OH! I'm pregnant!" are actually more rare than those of us struggling with infertility. Don't be surprised that it is hard. I mean come on, think about the human reproductive system and how much has to be in the right place at just the right time! It is a miracle anyone gets pregnant!! Am I right?!

Expect a lot of idiots. From the moment you get married, like at your reception, some fools will start asking when you are going to have kids. Like it is any of their damn business! Expect this immediately and for years to follow, and just be ready with witty responses that will make them as uncomfortable as their question. "So, when are you guys going to start having kids?" "Hopefully, 9 months from this morning!" *wink wink*  "So, why don't you guys have kids yet." "Because we hate children." "Because he's got slow swimmers." "Because my uterus is an inhospitable environment for fetal development."  "Because... oh wait, our sex life is none of your damn business!" Sheeeeesh!

Expect to be told to "Just Relax." Like I said, expect a lot of idiots. Especially during the first 2 years, a lot of people will tell you "You're thinking about it too much," or "Don't stress about it and it will just happen," and "Jusssst relax." These people are uneducated and have no idea the emotional turmoil that is associated with finding out that you have a medical condition preventing you from conceiving naturally. Just ignore the fools!

Expect advice you never asked for from people in no position to give it. Again, idiots. Everyone will have a solution for you. Everyone will know someone who tried "A" and got "B," and without knowing your condition they will suggest you do exactly what that person did and promise you the same results. Everyone will have a story for you about a friend of a cousin who tried for 5 years, adopted and then ended up having 5 more kids naturally. Try to remember that they probably mean well and they are trying to be supportive. Also, try not to punch them in the face.

Expect to cry... A Lot. After you've passed that year mark you're going to experience embarrassing breakdowns. Just expect it. You'll be minding your own business, just shopping one day and you'll stumble into the baby department and begin to uncontrollably bawl. It's okay. Nobody probably saw you, and if they did OH WELL. Have your good ugly cry right there in public, and then move on. You'll cry when you get a baby shower invite and you'll probably have to excuse yourself to go in the bathroom to cry at that shower. You'll cry when you seen birth announcements on Facebook. You might even cry every month when you get your period. (GUILTY!) Sometimes you won't even be able to pinpoint a trigger, but you'll just start bawling while you're cooking dinner. It needed salt anyway, right? Its okay.

Expect awkward moments. Aside from way too many people asking and knowing about your sex life, there will be other awkward moments. Like, if you work at a place with a lot of women who have had babies and clients ask you how yours is doing, "Nooooot meeeee." And then they insist they know you told them you were pregnant last time they came in, "Ohhh... yeaaah I was... I-had-a-miscarriage..." Awkward pause. Then they start to cry and apologize and you try to assure them its fine and its been months and not to worry, then you go to the bathroom and cry cause, well, you do that a lot! You cannot prepare for these moments, hence the awkward. And I'm super awkward so I have know wise wisdom for you on getting out of this.

Expect to learn a lot. Infertility advantage? I now know more than I ever have about my uterus and ovaries. I know way more about my reproductive system than most women who have had 5 kids. When it comes easily, you have no idea what an effort it really is. So read up, learn a lot, and use the knowledge to your advantage. Educate yourself and others.

Expect to get angry. I am a firm believer in throwing tantrums. Maybe its my red hair, but a good hair-pulling, pillow-punching, cup-throwing, curse-filled tantrum is sometimes the best way to feel better! If you're like me, you'll hold it in for too long and try to put up the ever-positive, see-my-big-smile front to make sure everyone thinks your fine. Eventually, you have to find the right place and time to let it out. Lock yourself in your room, scream and throw things. When you feel sufficiently exhausted and your voice is hoarse, pick yourself up, clean up and move on. Trust me, it will feel AMAZING. And forgive yourself when you don't make the time for the private tantrum and lose it on the client at work who wants to know why you don't have kids if you've been married for 4 years. She'll learn a lesson she needed to, and you'll still feel better.

Expect to give up every now and then. Infertility is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. Sometimes you have to give it up for a little while. Expect to need to take breaks, and allow it! Maybe you'll need one or your partner will. Either way, it is okay. No one can judge you for this. You have to do what is right for you and for your sanity. Take a month, 6 months, a year, or even just be done. It is your body and your life. You and your partner get to decide when enough is enough.

Do not expect for everyone to be understanding or sympathetic to your struggle. You may have friends or family who just don't understand, or who are too selfish to care. I'm so sorry if you have to deal with this. It is unfair and they are jerks. Like I said, expect idiots.

Do not expect a single, quick solution. You and your partner will probably endure a lot of testing and a lot of trial and error. Sorry, but there is no single fix. Infertility results from SO many different problems and it will take a lot and a while to work out the kinks. Just do what you can and try. That's all you can do.

SORRY, do not expect a lot of financial help. Most insurance companies do not offer infertility coverage, even though it is a diagnosed condition and you see a doctor. There are some changes in the works, but they are small. Save your money and do what you can.

It sucks. Infertility freaking sucks. I know. But there are a lot of us, and even if we don't know each other we are enduring together, crying together, throwing tantrums together and learning together. It really is okay. Somehow, someday, some way, it will some how work out how it should. In the mean time just try to enjoy the journey somehow, even if you're not expecting.