So what the heck does infertility mean, anyway, and how does that relate to why I started this blog now instead of two months ago?
The simple answer, at least according to babycenter.com, is that any couple that tries actively for a year without success qualifies for a diagnosis of infertility. The answer is rarely if ever that simple for individuals and couples, however. For one thing, most people don't know at the time when they pass a year of trying whether there is anything medically wrong with them or not, since many doctors don't want to see a person to do testing before they've been trying for a year. For another, a couple is affected by infertility (most of the time, anyway), but about 60% of the time, a problem is identified with one partner and the other partner has to find a way to deal with the face that "we" are infertile, but "I" am not. (The other 40% of the time, both partners have problems affecting fertility or no problems are identified with either partner, but they still are not conceiving.)
The biggest complicating factor, however, is the emotional impact that people put on the word "infertility." Many people are reluctant to use that word to describe their situation because of what it means to them. Just speaking from my own perspective, infertility means not being able to do what my heart yearns most for, not being able to become a parent in the normal way. It means my world not being the way it's supposed to be. I've dealt with my world not being the way it's supposed to be in one way or another for most of my life, but somehow, this one is too much. Maybe it's because of how long this could affect my life. With other things that weren't supposed to be that way, there was a limit to how long it would affect my daily life. Not with this.
The other thing that makes dealing with infertility so crushing is being surrounded by people who obviously can have what I can't. With other problems that I've had, I couldn't look around me to see who had depression and who didn't or who got along with their parents and who didn't. With infertility, though, I'm constantly surrounded by people who can and do have kids. Every time I turn around, I'm hearing about someone else I know that is pregnant, and when I'm not hearing that, I'm hearing people talk about their kids. I'll go into my love/hate relationship with Facebook later, because that's probably a whole post of its own.
At any rate, with the word "infertility" meaning so many negative things to people, individuals and couples choose different times and milestones to determine at what point they describe themselves as "infertile." Even though DH and I have been told that we shouldn't have any issues interfering with our ability to have children, we've failed to do so 14 times. It's been more than a year, and we're at the point of artificial options and looking at what it would take to adopt. To me, that's infertility, whether there's anything that should be making us infertile or not.