What's A-Parent

'Man Repeller' Founder Pens A Pregnancy Announcement Showing The Struggle Of Infertility

"If there is anything I have learned, it is that no state of existence lasts forever."

What's A-Parent is a series highlighting those who get real about the hardships that come with raising kids. These often untold stories help show parents they are not alone in their struggle, and are doing an amazing job.

Founder of popular fashion site Man Repeller Leandra Medine has been very open about her struggle with infertility. Last year, she opened up abut having a miscarriage at 14 weeks in a heartbreaking essay. In it, she shared how excited and happy she was to finally get pregnant and the agony she felt when she lost the baby. She's also been open about her multiple failed in vitro fertilization (IVF) attempts on her site. More recently, she owned up to the mistake of writing her misinformed think piece about Beyoncé announcement "The Problem With Social Media Announcements: You Never Know Who You're Hurting," sharing that she channeled her own suffering into what was ultimately an essay she was sorry to have written. 

Medine's honesty about the pain and disappointment she's felt through her struggles to get pregnant have helped to shine a light on a situation many other couples face. "About 12 perct of women aged 15 to 44 years in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, regardless of marital status," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Yet, we often don't talk about it — leaving many couples who experience infertility to feel inadequate and alone.

So, when Medine announced her pregnancy in a post on Man Repeller today, she made sure to keep them in mind. In the essay titled "A Different Kind of Pregnancy Announcement," Medine revealed she'd felt despondent and hopeless as she struggled with infertility. She found herself asking her husband, Abie, if she'd ever be happy again. 

"All I could think that day, that week, that month, was that I wasn't okay. I had not been okay in at least two years, but maybe longer," she wrote. "I blamed it on everything that could have possibly contributed to a newfangled malaise that seemingly encapsulated the sum of my parts: where I worked, who I worked with, what I did for work, the amount of stress that enveloped it all; where I lived, who I lived with, my mom, who could never understand what I was going through given the ease with which she birthed four children."

She couldn't help but feel like something was wrong with her for feeling this way. "I felt consistent guilt every time Abie had to answer me when I asked, Was I ever happy? Will I ever be happy? Did you know I was like this when you married me? He would remind me to look up at the light, not down at the darkness," she wrote. "Then he'd count on his finger tips, as if he needed to keep track for my sake, all the ways in which we were blessed, I was blessed. Intellectually, I understood. I agreed. But emotionally, I couldn't shake the interminable feeling that I wasn't supposed to be here — that the earth was rejecting me but not letting me die."

Medine tried everything she could think of to recover from the pain she felt after her miscarriage, but nothing worked. That is, until 22 weeks ago, when she got pregnant with twins. She is, of course, over the moon about the news and wanted to share it. But she felt conflicted because she knows a pregnancy announcement can turn the day of anyone struggling to conceive into an awful one.

So, instead of solely focusing on her happiness, she shared her painful journey and offered comforting words to anyone else who may be struggling. Medine's also realized there was value in the challenges she faced and hopes others struggling know that they will be happy again. 

"That was my course. This is my course. I wish I had known this. I wish I could have believed Abie when he said I would be happy again. I hope that you believe me when I say you will be, too."

Medine joins many others in speaking out about infertility. Both John Legend and Chrissy Teigen have openly discussed how challenging it was for them to get pregnant

"Emotionally, it could be really hard when you have these high-highs and low-lows, and you're, like, cuckoo pants," Teigen told Self in 2016. "You don't want to get your hopes up, but of course, you do." 

"I think it's especially difficult when you can't conceive naturally. You want to feel like everything's working properly and want everything to be perfect, but sometimes it's not," Legend told Cosmopolitan back in August. "I wouldn't say we can't conceive naturally, but I would say that it's enough of a challenge where it felt like we needed help. We're lucky that we're living in an age where we can conceive in other ways. [IVF] brought us Luna and hopefully, it will bring us a few more awesome kids, too."

Just last month, actress Gabrielle Union opened up about her struggle with infertility. "I have had eight or nine miscarriages," Union wrote in her memoir.. "For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant — I've either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle."

Infertility is extremely difficult, disappointing, and painful for couples who wish to get pregnant. But as more people openly discuss it, those struggling will realize they're not alone. Sometimes simply listening to someone who knows what you're going through share their personal experience can make you feel comforted about your own. 

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