Going through infertility is extremely lonely. Even if you have a great support system in place. Friends and family are great, but unless they’ve experienced infertility themselves, sometimes their words of encouragement can fall a little short. I mean, what do they know? They’ve never gone through any of this.
I think because we don’t always have the right people to talk to in our day to day lives, we’re quick to look online for support. I know that’s what I did. I joined a few private FB groups and I started chatting with other women who had PCOS and were also trying to conceive. It was, at that moment, the best discovery I had ever made. There is a HUGE online community. Especially for women with PCOS. I couldn’t believe the resources that I found. And while I was excited and motivated to take control, it was also very intimidating and overwhelming. There were both pros and cons to this new found community.
And since I like to get bad news of out the way first, let’s look at the cons first.
- Information overload – When I was first diagnosed with PCOS, I had NO idea what I was dealing with. All my doctor told me was to get my blood sugars into check, which looking back, was actually sound advice, but he never really explained why that was important. When I went home to read about PCOS I was completely inundated with information, advice, diet plans, and the dreaded lifestyle/fertility coach. These people are kinda the worst. While I don’t mind a lot of the information they provide, in fact, some of it has been super useful, I hate how much they push their products on you. They really make you feel like there’s some secret product cocktail that will fix your infertility. But guess what? There’s not. I’ve tried them and so far, I’m still infertile. I will eventually put together a list of resources I have found helpful on my journey and there are a few fertility coaches in there who I consider to be good sources.
- The obsessive nature of it all – I’m pretty sure I’ve googled everything there is to google about infertility. Honestly, I left no stone unturned, and I know I’m not the only one. We’re big on googling things, aren’t we? We know it’s not productive and can often lead to false hope or even misinformation, but we do it anyway. The online community is full of terrified, anxious women. It kinda comes with the territory, and so we can often enable each other with the incessant googling.Not to mention posting BBT charts, and my personal favourite the line eyes test. What are line eyes, you might ask? Well, line eyes is a term given to someone who has stared a negative pregnancy test for so long that they actually believe that they can see a second line starting to appear. This is a real thing, my friends. I don’t mean to make fun because I am totally guilty of it. In fact, a couple of months ago, I nearly posted a negative test online because I swore I could see two lines. I swore I could. I think I ended up getting my period a day or two later, and so yeah, I knew I wasn’t pregnant. But it’s another thing we obsess about and often support one another for obsessing about. I know we all do it because we want to believe and we want to support and comfort one another, but it’s hard when the outcome eventually comes out negative.
- The critics – But it’s important to note that not everyone is so positive about these things. On the flipside, there are some nasty, negative ladies out there. And I am going to single out the ladies on this one because most of the members of these groups are women.I know that when you post your life online you open yourself up to critics and trolls. I write an infertility blog. I’ve already had a couple of trolls pass on by. But there’s a difference between being constructive and realistic and just being downright nasty. I get it. Infertility is a joy-sucking, soul-crushing experience and it can put the sunniest of people in the foulest mood. I’ve been there, but I think women in the infertility community should really check themselves before they comment on someone else’s post. Think about why you’re commenting. Is it to blow off steam? Or are you genuinely trying to be helpful? Repeatedly telling someone what they’re doing is wrong, is not helpful. Making fun of someone because they don’t know all of the ridiculous acronyms that are used in this weird community, is not helpful. And posting negative comments on someone’s pregnancy test/BBT chart is not helpful.
So, check yourself.
- Feeling like you’re not doing enough/anxiety – This is probably my biggest gripe with the online community. As I stated before, I was really excited when I first found out there was such a big online community. It was such a relief to read about women who had the same condition that I had and who had gone on to have healthy, successful pregnancies. It was reassuring and it was encouraging. I thought to myself, just do what they did and you’ll get pregnant too. The problem is, PCOS is such a fickle syndrome and it varies from woman to woman. I know women who have PCOS who suffer from hirsutism (facial hair), I do not. I know women who have really bad hormonal acne, I do not. And I know women with PCOS who get their period every month like clockwork. Again, I do not. So even though we might share the same syndrome, we are worlds apart. I feel like PCOS should really be an umbrella term for a variety of different syndromes because there are so many ways it can affect your health.So imagine my frustration when I realized this and also realized that women treat their PCOS differently. There is no one way to do it. There are actually anout a million ways to treat it, and no one can really tell you which way is the right way for you. I found that incredibly frustrating. I consider myself a very logical person and I like to know how I can remedy something. If I have a problem before me, I like to know what my options are so I van evaluate which is the best route for me to take, even if it’s a difficult route, I’ll take it. That has never been a problem for me. It’s the unknown that really gets me, not the hardship. If someone came to me tomorrow and said “to cure your PCOS, you have to do this for x amount of time” I would do it. Even if it was the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life. I would do it. I don’t shy away from difficult things, but I do get frustrated when I don’t get answers, which is what I have been dealing with since I got my diagnosis. So many options but no concrete answers.
I also started to compare myself to what other women were doing and it made me feel so insecure and overwhelmed. Seriously. Those “What I did to get pregnant” videos on youtube were NOT helpful for me. I started taking every single vitamin/supplement that was recommended. I cut out different types of food. I upped other types of food. I started exercising. I did everything the PCOS websites told me to do and nothing. Nadda. I honestly felt like a science experiment at one point and it was for nothing because I didn’t ovulate and I didn’t get my period, which only further added to my frustration and anxiety.
I’ve since stopped all of that. Muted those influences and focused on my mental health and my hormonal health with keto and that seems to be working.
These are my cons. Stay tuned for my pros.