When I was young, I dreamed about what I would be when I grew up. The possibilities were exciting. I felt that I would do something but I just didn’t know what. One thing I did know was that I wanted children – lots of them. Little did I know that life had other plans.
When I met my husband, we fell in love and like many couples, we were excited to start trying for a family. We believed it would happen – why would it not?
That belief kept us trying for 8 years – 8 long years.
Specialists told us that there was no reason for the infertility and that put us in the lonely ‘unexplained infertility’ camp.
They said that even though the reason was unknown, the problem was probably with me. I was obviously broken and at fault!
We tried everything to get pregnant. I thought if we just tried this treatment, or that approach, it could be the missing piece of the puzzle and the answer to our dreams. There were visits to doctors, specialists, and alternative health practitioners. Tests were undertaken. Scans were carried out. Blood tests done. Cycles were religiously recorded. Detoxes were done and diets changed. Fertility herbs were taken and fertility drugs administered. I listened to lots of advice. I tried focusing on other goals. I ‘tried to relax’ and just let it happen. I even took a couple of months off work to de-stress and increase my chances of conceiving.
Despite all the best intentions, the quest to start a family began to suck away every bit of spontaneity and joy out of my life. It was hard for it not to when every day was marked with recording this and that to pinpoint the optimal time to try for a baby, and each month was marked by the unmissable notification that I was not pregnant – again. With every month that came around, I felt more and more disappointed. That disappointment gradually became sadness. I felt like such a failure.
The harder we tried, the harder it became. I started feeling isolated and ashamed, and this made it hard for me to share. When I did, I felt people just didn’t get what I was going through.
I felt a lot of pressure to get pregnant (mostly from myself) and when it didn’t happen time after time, I felt utterly and totally hopeless. Infertility was not part of our plan!
For some reason I felt responsible for this “infertility”, that I was to blame somehow. What was I doing wrong?
As more and more friends became pregnant, I felt like an outsider from the mother’s club. I got pretty good at putting on a brave face when I heard the news that someone was having a baby. I was always happy for them, but just sad for us.
The emotional roller coaster of trying and failing was exhausting. I constantly moved from hope and optimism to disappointment and grief and then back to hope. Trying to contain all those emotions is equally exhausting. Being positive only works for so long.
When we lost a baby at seven weeks, the grief we felt was immense. I remember crying until I just couldn’t cry anymore. I felt completely empty. Was this all really worth it?