Saturday, 2 June 2012

Infertility is not ok

It’s not ok.

You can’t convince me otherwise.

 “A friend of my sisters hairdresser got pregnant after 8 years, isn’t that amazing? Don’t you think it’s amazing…?”

Gorging on my need to please, to not embarrass the other I agree, politely, “That IS amazing, how old is the child now? How lovely!”

 Later I count the day of the month, the day of her cycle, the days until we next try, the years we have been trying and wonder how many times we must have “tried”.

Its nearly 600.  Others are always so curious to know but daren’t ever ask, so there it is, nearly 600.

600 is not ok.   Infertility is not ok.


Living with and through(unexplained) infertility is not ok.  That isn’t to say that they aren’t worse things to suffer, because there are, and it isn’t to say that life becomes pointless, because it doesn’t.  But still, its not ok.

After 10 years I am not depressed as such, I do have a hope and an excitement for the future but just now things are a little harder.  My “normal” just isn’t antwhere as buoyant as it used to be.

For me where we are very much at the end of this journey to conceive (ttc) I am daily challenged by looking back at the last 10 years trying to work out what the heck it was all about (angry), to grieve in the now for the child we might never meet and the miscarriage we suffered (sad), whilst also adjusting to a potential future without children (insecure).  Dependant on the day, life is lived through one of these filters.

Going through life feeling either angry sad or insecure undoubtedly impacts my daily outlook.  It requires courage and commitment to choose to look ahead and not give up on yourself. 

Life carries on with or without you and there may come a point at which you look around and realise that in fact it moved on without you.  This moment came for me about 6-12 months ago.  I was shocked that we had only one or two friends who didn’t now have children or by how many people we had simply drifted out of contact with, I was shocked to realise my first nephew was going to Senior School.  Life had moved on. 

Somewhere in the fog I had been left behind sitting on the kerb, frankly unable, and perhaps unwilling, to keep moving on.

This moment brought home the reality that to pick myself up, and keep myself up, I would have to live a disciplined life.  Daily I would have to choose to be in touch with my feelings and the consequential impact they were having particularly on my relationships with others. 

Life with infertility has introduced a level of self-analysis and awareness that most don’t have to employ in order to function.  Infertility has slowed life down, I don’t have the capacity for other people that I used to and I now feel a pressure to appear positive and engaging when I do venture out in case my innate sense of vulnerability is sniffed out.

After 10 years I have concluded that infertility is not OK.  It does not feel in any way pleasant and I have not enjoyed any part of it.  Infertility is a silent thief, it is undermining and belittling.  It is not ok.

However, I have also learned after 10 years that I need not be afraid of eyeballing the lows and taking them head on, these are not the real enemy.  The real enemy comes in the form of a creeping sense of self pity.  This, whilst inevitable and entirely understandable, I find corrosive.  It is the rust that seizes up your joints, that quietly grinds you to a halt until you awake one day and realise that you can’t remember when you last laughed out loud.  My creeping shadow of self pity must be kept at bay through discipline and a keen sense of proportion - and a helpful dose of hugs from my DW and the occasional prod in the ribs!

It’s not ok but we will survive it and we will find our “new normal”.  In the early years I was determined not to be defined by our infertility.  Since, and with time I now appreciate that whilst it won’t define me (unless I let it) it will shape me, but maybe I have a choice as to the shape.

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