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Infertility Lies

Infertility rocked me to my core, and it made me believe things that simply weren’t true. Infertility Lies examines the many lies that the experience of infertility led me to believe and the helpful shifts in thinking that helped me to overcome these lies.

About the Book

This book is a compilation of thoughts and experiences, insight, and wisdom that I’ve gained along my infertility journey. One miscarriage, two “timed” natural cycles, six Intrauterine Inseminations (IUIs), and two rounds of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), endless rounds of medicine and interventions later, I live to tell the tale.

The hope in sharing my story with you is that you will feel less alone in the season of life you’re in and be equipped with tools to help you process your story. May you feel validated in your experience and its intense challenges and feel empowered because it takes strength to live through any season of pain. Finally, I hope you will come to know and believe in the deepest core of your being that you are valuable, precisely as you are, regardless of fertility outcome.

Life is about the journey. Thank you for sharing mine. Let’s journey together.

What are the Lies?

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Lie #1: My Plan is the Best Plan

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Lie #2: Having Children is the Ticket to Happiness

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Lie #3: The Future is Ours to Control

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Lie #4: Infertility is a Season of Being Stuck

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Lie #5: Infertility is a Lone Journey

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Lie #6: Infertility = Inadequacy

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Lie #7: Infertility is my Identity

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Lie #8: Nothing Good can Come from Infertility

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Lie #9: Success is a Positive Pregnancy Test

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Lie #10: We Must Always Work Harder

What’s Inside

Living Through the Storm

I felt the shift in seasons, and there began a very slow acceptance and recognition that this was my new reality.

I was infertile.

Treatments were necessary, and the outcome was uncertain. Becoming more aware of the thoughts and feelings that surfaced while navigating this rough and painful time helped make this experience’s elements clearer. I noticed that words like challenge, struggle, pain, loss, waiting, and inadequacy dominated my self-talk. The initial storm of infertility unfolded a deeper understanding of the pain this new season brought to my life. I began to realize that the story I was telling myself about my own experience was littered with several false thoughts I had come to believe as truth. These deceitful thoughts did nothing to relieve any pain; instead, they contributed to the pain and discontentment. These lies that the experience of infertility led me to believe simply were not true.

The following series of lies are outlined in the coming pages. Working through their truths took time. Some of them became clear after moving past infertility altogether, and their clarifying thoughts did not come into focus until I was well on the other side of it all. I hope this book provides you with support in your season of uncertainty. Our stories are undoubtedly different, as no two are ever the same. There is beauty in finding meaning and connection in the similarities, and common threads of another’s experience. May you find a piece of your experience in mine and know you aren’t alone, and develop a deeper understanding of what makes your experience unique to you and the lessons that they may bring.

Both personally and professionally, I’ve learned the impact of how thoughts directly impact feelings. Bringing awareness to these negative thought patterns allowed me to identify the lies I was telling myself. When our thoughts get the best of us and let them run wild, it’s too easy to start believing them to be true. When we believe them to be accurate, our feelings can take over and cause overwhelming discomfort. Our thoughts influence our emotions, and they can also be a window into our underlying feelings that may need to be addressed.

Thoughts can be deceiving – sometimes outright lies – made worse when fueled by uncertainty. I often tell my stressed and anxious patients that we simply cannot believe everything we think; I needed to take my own advice at this time.

I found it helpful to take some time to analyze my own thoughts and question some of the common messages in my mind, as seen in the examples below. Critically analyzing our inner conversations can be a powerful way to change what we are thinking and telling ourselves, ultimately shifting how we feel and live our lives. It took time to realize that I had unhealthy thought patterns that were going on in my mind, and these thoughts certainly impacted how I felt about myself and how I behaved in my own world at the time.

I have learned that my natural tendency is to outwit and outsmart my feelings. It’s hard for me to sit with my big feelings for very long. This strategy below was beneficial for me at the time. However, you may find that it isn’t specifically helpful for you right now. And that’s OK. If that’s the case, feel free to skip ahead and jump in at the next section. This isn’t a strategy to bypass our feelings, although looking back, I can see that I tried to do this very thing. Taking the time to honour our emotions amid a struggle is validating and required to move through them. Being in distress interrupts our ability to access our prefrontal cortex with logical thinking, so explicitly focusing on the analytical aspects of the situation can cause a more spiralling thought process. Our thoughts can be a symptom, a window into our feelings. We can lean into our feelings using our thoughts. These are tools to support the emotional processing of our experience.

I’ve come to learn that there is a compelling dance between feeling and thinking; I hope you can find that rhythm for yourself to the tune that works for you. Lean into your emotions and know-how to lean out of them as well. It’s not an all-or-nothing experience. Take what is relevant and supportive for you while honouring the complexity and individuality of this experience. While I’ve learned I can “out-logic” my feelings to avoid the difficulty and discomfort, I have learned the importance of the uncomfortable. It’s ok to feel uncomfortable.

Endorsements

For a woman who dreams of having a baby, the prospect of infertility evokes a whole array of emotions. For some, it may be unthinkable. If this is a challenge that you or someone you love is facing, you need a guide. By way of her clinical practice and now her own journey through the emotional landscape and therapeutic means of conceiving, the wisdom and insights Karen has garnered will show you a better way forward. Her voice is one you cannot do without. Karen has been a trusted advisor to me personally and to so many others, and you will do yourself a favour by discovering why.

Toni Nieuwhof, Speaker and Author
Before You Split (Random House, 2021)

Dr. Snow has broken through the silencing, shame-informed narrative brought on by infertility. Infertility Lies is a gently written, but powerfully intimate companion guide for any woman feeling overwhelmed and alone in her journey. Picking up this book is both an act of courage in the face of uncertainty and an act of rebellion against the lies of infertility. As a therapist, I am excited to share this valuable resource with my clients, and as a woman, I stand in awe of the sisterhood formed in struggle and of Dr. Snow’s willingness to explore her pain as a means to help others. What a wonderful resource!

Nicole Langman, MSW, Author
You Are Wanted (Brookstone, 2021)

This book is a warm invitation to journey with Karen as she takes you through her personal experience of infertility. She learns that while she can reach any goal she wants by doing all the “right” things, it painfully isn’t getting her to the longed-for blue line pregnancy test result. With honesty and courage, Karen shares her struggle and pain. She also shares what she has learned by navigating the rough road of infertility; self-compassion, deep self-care, acceptance, boundaries and finding joy. In so doing, Karen invites you to connect with your own story to develop hope and resilience. This book is a beautiful companion for anyone experiencing infertility or anyone who is in relationship with them. You’ll find understanding, compassion and hope, along with tools to support you in your healing and growth.

Em Dyson, Registered Psychotherapist

As a naturopathic doctor, I see many women and their partners in my practice, many who feel very alone and isolated on their fertility journeys. If I could get them all in the same room, I could show them that they are not alone. Dr. Snow offers a candid and vulnerable look into her journey from infertility to acceptance, cracking open the myth that you have to struggle alone. This book offers lessons for everyone who has ever struggled with anything in their lives. It's especially a must read for anyone at any point on their fertility journey, revealing that it may not be what you expect when you set out and that that is not only ok but can bring forth the most amazing miracles if you keep your mind open to possibilities. Thank you, Dr. Snow, for busting the myths and exposing the lies that so many couples have been led to believe about their fertility journeys. Finally, a book I can share with my patients that validates their journey.

Dr. Erin Weibe, Naturopathic Doctor

Karen Snow has written a highly approachable book on infertility. An open, honest, and authentic journey to help you find your way through it or understand better what your loved one is feeling.

Angie Sutton, Writer and Blogger
@readwithangie

About the Author.

Karen Snow is a naturopathic doctor who is passionate about all aspects of improving the health of others. She loves supporting others on their health journeys for them to thrive. Along her family-building journey, she found herself experiencing infertility without a roadmap on how to navigate the complexities. The hope of offering support to others sharing this experience prompted the writing of this book.

She lives on a farm in rural Ontario with her husband Erik, son Pete, and their chocolate lab, Buddy.

Karen Snow

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