Just relax they said, and you'll be able to have a baby
You know when you are of a certain age, you are partnered up or married and that one question on everyone's lips is "when are you going to have a baby?"
That question, or the thought of coming across it used to send me into a whirl of anxiety.
We were trying, we were struggling, it wasn't working and slowly I was becoming more and more desperate and reclusive.
I am pretty open about things (and cannot tell a lie to save myself) so mostly I just told people what was going on for us. However doing that put me at risk of a slippery slope of receiving well-meaning but sometimes hurtful advice like "just relax and it will happen" or "I bet if you start the adoption process, you will get pregnant naturally." I found this hurtful because it felt loaded in the direction of all of this being my fault. I was at fault, it was all in my head and if I could just sort myself out it would happen.
Nevermind that there were strong medical reasons why things were so difficult. I really do feel for those couples that have what is referred to as 'unexplained infertility' which is where they can't find anything physical/medical to explain it, but it is real.
Infertility messed with my head. I started telling myself that I didn't deserve a baby, that I was not good enough to have what other people seemed to find so easy, and I started to question the IVF process wondering if I was messing with a higher power's agenda.
I found myself avoiding people with babies, baby showers were an absolute no-go zone and general socialising was hard. I withdrew, kept to myself more, took time off work and hoped for a miracle.
My miracle came four years after starting our journey. Four years, one surgery, two IUI cycles, 3 IVF cycles, one miscarriage, countless hormone injections, many bloodtests, lots of scans, and a broken spirit. To say I am grateful for my child is an understatment.
Finally I was able to join the club. I had a baby in my arms and could call myself a mum.
What a privilege to finally have that label.
Infertility - you changed the course of my life and you will be forever woven into the fabric of me.
If you are struggling with a journey like this - you are in my heart. It is heartbreaking and gruelling. If you need a listening ear from someone who promises never to tell you to relax, I am here. I mean it - please reach out if you need to xxx