Infertility is Always with Me
Even today, after having our beautiful son, the trauma of infertility remains. It feels a part of me, even when I tell myself it will not define me. It is the voice in my head. My ‘story’ of adversity and triumph. A deep shame, yet a great pride. The light and dark. An old friend that comes knocking on my door once a month.
Reflecting back, I find it hard to believe I had the strength to fight through four years of trying to conceive, multiple rounds of IUI and failed IVF’s. The diagnosis you may ask? There wasn’t one . . . well ‘unexplained,’ whatever that means. You see this diagnosis, for me, felt like a double-edged sword: hope but no hope; aka: torture.
I’m starting to feel selfish as I write these words as I haven’t mentioned my husband and what he went through. Infertility only ever made us closer and I know we’re lucky for that as not all couples survive it. But it was also always a very personal journey for me. The deep-rooted fear of never having a baby was too much for my brain to ever contemplate, never mind say the words out loud to the one person who was hurting as much as me.
Talking of selfish, can you believe I used to be jealous of women who’d had a miscarriage? Hard one to admit. I used to think ‘well at least they can get pregnant, I’d take that.’ Of course, the one and only time I ever was pregnant, the thought of losing my baby terrified me and it certainly wasn’t an envious position.
There are so many layers of self-sabotaging feelings that come from infertility. Shame was a huge one for me: shame of not being able to get pregnant, the shame of not giving my husband a child and the shame of the person it turned me into. I was in a dark place for a long time and was not a nice person to be around.
Prior to our fourth and final round of IVF we changed clinics, agreed a different protocol, new medication and had a completely different mindset. We had a six month break too, during which time I worked on changing the narrative in my head. I told myself it will work this time; I will be a mum and trusted the universe. Our son is our biggest blessing, but I naively believed he would heal us. And as I sit writing this, longing for a second child and sibling for our boy, the old feelings of shame and fear resurface.
Last night for example, whilst the whole street was out clapping for our carers, I was inside crying because my old friend had turned up for her monthly unwanted visit. I then felt very selfish, given we are in a global pandemic, which made me cry even more; then I laughed at how ridiculous I was being. Crazy lady indeed.
Every month I feel stupid to ever believe I can get pregnant naturally but then as the luteal phase comes around (yes, I have all the medical terms down to a tee) I have a glimmer of hope.
Moving forward, I’m not sure if I have the strength in me to triumph once more, knowing the IVF battle ahead.
Good old infertility eh, it never leaves my side.