Fourteen months ago, my husband and I took the momentous, exciting next step in life of starting our family. I remember how excited we both were to start trying. My nephew had just turned a year old, and we couldn’t wait to be just like my sister and brother-in-law. Those feelings of excitement and joy, though, soon turned to anxiety as, month after month, we didn’t get pregnant.

After we hit the one-year mark, we decided to see a fertility specialist where we discovered my husband has poor morphology and low testosterone, and I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). After just two appointments, our exciting journey of trying to conceive came to a halt and became a waiting game. It seemed like every new month brought another doctor’s appointment with more bad news. Being parents had always been important to both of us; to me, because motherhood was something I dreamed of since I was a little girl, and, to my husband, because of his determination to rebuild his family name. Our lower chance of success and the new financial burden made trying to conceive scary instead of exciting.

Infertility has impacted my life by teaching me to enjoy life for what it is currently instead of always looking for the next step. I’m a huge planner so I was looking forward to starting a family months before we decided to start trying. Now that our family timeline and end result is completely unknown, I’m focusing more on being present to my husband, family, friends, and pets. My husband and I are discovering hobbies we can do together and individually to fill the months of waiting and are soaking up as much time with my sister’s family as possible to fill our desire to be around children.

Infertility also impacted our lives when we decided to be open about the struggles of our journey. Keeping our struggles between us seemed easier at first because talking about infertility reminds us of the medical issues and the pain that comes with them. However, we’re opening up because we want to change the conversation surrounding infertility. Conceiving a child isn’t as easy as “going on a baby-makation” or “forgetting about trying and just having fun.” Phrases like “it only takes one,” “you’ll get pregnant; I have a good feeling,” or “you guys are still young; you have lots of time” do not make the process any easier and just add pressure to an already tense situation.

We hope that sharing our story will help other couples know that feeling lost and sad in this journey is completely valid. It’s ok to need time to process what doctors say, and it’s ok to change your minds. The important parts about an infertility journey are remembering you are not alone, you are not less, and you and your partner’s voices are the only ones that matter.

Jenny and Josh G, Wisconsin