Infertility is defined as “the inability for a couple to get pregnant after having carefully timed unprotected intercourse for one year.” That sounds so plain and simple. What you don’t know is my infertility is directly linked to PCOS and endometriosis, which I found out I had long before a partner was involved. Deep down I suspected something wasn’t right since I was twelve years old, but since I was so young and just starting my periods, being irregular was nothing to think about. But innately, I just knew that having a baby someday would be a challenge for me.

The truth about building a family is that the worry can begin long before you are even ready to have a family. To experience hormonal problems at such a young age is both a curse and a blessing in disguise. I am thankful that I am not like so many others who don’t realize they are infertile until they are ready to conceive. I was at least prepared, not that knowing you are infertile makes anything much better.

Infertility has impacted my life in many ways. Seeing pregnant women is hard, and then there’s self-blame, guilt, worry, frustration, happiness that maybe this isn’t the right time or the right partner, etc. The influx of emotions mixed with the rampant hormones is completely overwhelming. And, there’s your partner. A whole other person with emotions and feelings and opinions about what is going on. There’s family and friends, asking when you’ll have a baby as they show off theirs or wondering why you care about your fertility at such a tender age, because you know, after all, “you’re too young” and “if you relax, it’ll just happen naturally,” right? But I know my body, and that has been my best tool in all of this so far. The truth is caring about my fertility and reproductive health at a young age is no different than me caring about my heart or my bones or anything else that I want to be healthy for the long term.

That’s why #IAmChangingTheConversation about infertility by sharing my story and spreading awareness. Since day one I have done my own research and decided which medications I wanted to put into my body, what advice I was going to heed, and which doctors really had my best interest at heart. Being with my partner for many years and not conceiving was emotional. Although the time in my life isn’t right anyway, I know that when it is, infertility will be there to rear its ugly head.

Starting young has been my best defense against the physical and emotional toll infertility can take. Knowing my options and that there’s support out there helps, but I just wish all of the young people like me concerned and/or interested in their reproductive health had more support. We should not be judged! Infertility hits like a ton of bricks, no matter your age (or gender).

Amy G.