By Hannah Schenker
As someone with fertility struggles of my own and six years of trying (and failing) to conceive, I totally get this lady. Aussie mum and blogger Adele Barbaro, aka The Real Mumma, hit me straight in the feels when she posted about her infertility struggles and the probing questions of others, on Facebook recently.
When you’ve been trying to get pregnant and failing, being asked over and over again by well-meaning friends, family, even people you barely know, just when exactly you are planning to bring a tiny human into this world can be less than pleasant. Do you tell them the truth straight up? Do you make little fibs – ‘We’ve only been married five minutes!’, or ‘Oh, you know, we’re waiting until we’ve got a more settled home’, or ‘Oh, you know, we might go travelling first’?
Is it even any of their business?
Barbaro’s post highlights the struggles those of us with fertility issues go through in our everyday lives. When you ask about our babymaking abilities, know that we too assumed we would fall pregnant at the drop of a hat. Instead we have had to work our way through month after month that turns into year after year of a huge and growing pile of disappointments. Barbaro and her husband eventually turned to IVF in order to conceive their son, and even went on to happily have a daughter too. But she hasn’t forgotten what those prodding questions were like.
“One day I responded with ‘it’s not that fucking easy, you know’. I had just got my period that morning…. again.”
The post has struck a chord, being shared more than 23,000 times in two weeks, and the comments are full of women who have also felt the pain of keeping a brave face while hurting so much on the inside.
Conception Isn’t That Easy…
Barbaro discovered just how difficult getting pregnant can be for some women, something I had absolutely no idea about until I started trying to conceive. I assumed that once you stopped contraception, you’d be pregnant the next month. For some maybe. For others, like us, you learn how it all really works and wonder how on earth anyone ever manages to get pregnant at all:
“Trying to conceive isn’t easy unless you are a highly fertile 17 year old, that could fall pregnant just by talking about it. The odds of conception and retaining a pregnancy are actually pretty shit, topped off with the huge amount of people that are reproductively challenged with polycystic ovaries, endometriosis etc etc. And I was one of them….”
Choosing to go down the IVF route is not for the faint of heart. It’s a gruelling process that challenges you to the core.
“IVF sucks. It is the most time consuming, invasive, expensive and emotionally painful roller coaster I have been on. It actually broke me. You have so much invested in the process, financially and emotionally that it consumes your every thought.”
There are no guarantees with IVF, only trying, trying, trying.
“When you are having difficulty conceiving, it seems everyone around you is falling pregnant. It’s easy to be happy for them at first but that brave face wears thin after a while. I even started to decline going to certain get togethers and attending baby birthdays were just painful. I became quite bitter, desperate and depressed.”
Enough With the Probing Questions, Already…
Being asked by everyone you meet when you will be bringing forth your own little bundle of joy, when you are doing everything in your power to do so and still failing, can feel like one challenge too many. Having difficulty conceiving can turn even the strongest person into an emotional and physical mess – and it’s all done in so much silence. You can’t possibly know who is on this path unless they are very open about it – so tread carefully.
Take note, fellow humans:
“So, next time you go to say that ‘throw away’ comment to the newly weds or the couple that have been together for ten years, be sensitive. Don’t ask them when they are having kids. You never know what’s going on.”
I loved when Adele spoke about this and how it is so important to be mindful about how our comments can so deeply hurt others. There are many other conversation topics!!