While going through my journey to start a family in spite of my PCOS and bicornuate uterus, I have made, and stuck with, the decision to share my experience with the world. I don’t just blog about it, I also talk about it. I know that fertility is a subject that is still somewhat taboo, but I have found that sharing my experiences has helped me to feel not nearly so alone because it opens the door for other women to share their stories with me and it’s really nice to have people to ask “did you go through this? is this normal?”
When I talk to people about my fertility and about going to see specialists, often people want to tell me stories to relate. and I really do appreciate that. There are two types of stories though that I find less than helpful. They are the stories about someone you know who went to see the fertility specialist and they were already pregnant when they got in there, and the stories about someone you know who went through years of fertility treatments and only got pregnant once they finally gave up and stopped trying.
It’s like when I was single and people would tell me I’d meet my soul mate when I least expected it. Sure, that ended up being the case, but it still wasn’t helpful or easy to hear.
Only, these stories are harder to take and I’ll explain why. But please understand that I know they are told without malice and in an attempt to be supportive and optimistic.
I didn’t realize how much the stories about someone you know who was pregnant when she went to see the fertility specialist, could hurt until it didn’t happen to me. Sure, for an amazingly lucky few, the miraculous surprise that their road to parenthood through fertility treatment is amazingly short actually happens. That is why one of the first tests you get when you see the specialist is a pregnancy test. But the vast majority of couples who go to see a fertility specialist have severe enough reproductive issues that they can’t get pregnant on their own. That is why fertility clinics exist. Is not like they have a magical doorway that you just walk through and BOOM! PREGNANT! And telling these stories, kind of makes that silly notion seem more plausible. When I got the call that my pregnancy test at the fertility clinic came back negative that’s when I realized how tough these stories are too hear. They set a false precedence that reality can’t uphold and it can make a woman or a couple who already feel abnormal and frustrated feel even more so. We hold on to the rope of hope and every time the pregnancy test cone back negative it can cut one of the threads that make up that rope.
Stories of someone you know who finally got pregnant only after they gave up are hard to hear for different reasons. It seems to belittle the struggle couples go through when dealing with fertility issues by making it seem like it’s all in our heads and if we’d only just give up, our bodies would do what they are supposed to do. It’s also just a weird piece of advice: “give up on what you want most in life and it will just fall into your lap. ”
The road to parenthood when one or both partners have fertility issues can be long and hard and expensive and painful, and it can also be abundantly successful. That’s why there are fertility specialists and fertility clinics. I have already given up on one course of treatment because I wasn’t prepared for how it would affect me physically and emotionally. Now four months later I’m seeing a different doctor and I feel more prepared for the journey ahead even though I know the near future will be filled with painful tests and probably a few disappointments add we try and find the right course of treatment for my body. I want to be a mother. It is something I have wanted for as long as I can remember. I long to watch my belly swell with life and feel the movements of my child growing inside me. Every day my husband and I grieve that another day was not shared with our child. How can I give up on that? If I didn’t at least try, how could I reconcile myself to a future without kids? My husband and I have a timeline and I feel like, given the health issues I know about, I don’t necessarily want to have babies past that point.
Knowing how hard the journey may be, I know the temptation of giving up and I also know that my husband and I are more likely to successfully have children with the help of a doctor.
So, what stories can you tell me that are helpful? Tell me about that couple you know who saw a fertility specialist for six months, a year, two years, seven years, and got pregnant using whatever drug, doing injections, going through IVF, whatever the treatment that worked for them was. Tell me about the parents you know who have one beautiful child through the help of fertility treatment. Tell me about the parents you know who have multiple children (either in one pregnancy or many) through the help of modern medicine.
And if you don’t know any body who has successfully started a family by working with a fertility specialist, tell me that it is great that so many options exist for people with fertility issues. Tell me that it will all be worth it in the end. Tell me you will keep me and my hubby in your thoughts and/or prayers.