Last week I received this video from a reader:

The subject really touched me, because I struggled with infertility for five years before conceiving my son … and a big part of the challenge was the fact that it was a secret. Keiko’s brave video inspired me, and so maybe it’s time to tell my story. You should know, this is a long, long story.

The babycrack (aka irrational, drug-like longing for a baby) began in 2000. My mother was born in 1950, had me in 1975, and some how I’d just always assumed that of course I would have a kid of my own in 2000. It made nice numeric sense in that weird OCD way. When in 2000, I looked around and found myself blissfully happy living in a rad hippie house with a partner I knew I’d be with for the long haul, I shrugged and assumed a happy accident would come along soon.

I’m an accident! My husband was an accident! Virtually all my friends are accidents! Virtually all my friend’s KIDS are accidents. I assumed at some point my husband and I would have our own happy accident and the cycle would continue.

We were still using birth control at that point, but were prone to slip-ups that I assumed would result in our own happy accident eventually. Years passed, but no happy accident. My husband and I got married in 2004, and few months later I had an oddly long cycle. This was weird for me — my cycle is like clockwork, which is part of why Fertility Awareness had worked so well for us. At the 10 days late point, I took a pregnancy test.

It was negative and I got my period a couple days later — but my husband and I realized we were both disappointed. We had lots of conversations and decided we would stop trying not to get pregnant and see what happened. We no longer were going to have an accident. We were going to plan to have a child. Novel! Early 2005 was lots of fun.

But, after several months of not-NOT trying, I started to wonder a little bit. After years of Fertility Awareness, I knew my body really well. It’s not like the whole ovulation thing was a big mystery to me. I shrugged and guessed it was time to start charting a bit more thoughtfully, just to see what I could learn.

This is, of course, about the time when the “you’re married, so it’s time for kids!” questions and statements started. Of course these questions came from friends and family, but the whole internet was clearly over-ready for kids. I mentioned getting dizzy once on my blog, so many people IMMEDIATELY assumed I was pregnant that I ultimately deleted the post. (Never mind that I was 2 days into my period: the internet insisted I was obviously pregnant.) When people would ask me directly, we’d just smile and say we were working on it and ha ha everyone thinks that’s funny coming from the newlyweds.

I started charting my cycle in more detail in mid-2005, and we started Officially Trying. Every month I would make contingency plans — ooh, if I got pregnant this month, then the baby would be born the month before the book was released! Oh, ok if we get pregnant THIS month it’ll be right after the book comes out. Ah: if I get pregnant THIS month I’ll be doing a pregnant book tour.

There were temperatures taken every morning at the exact same time. There were nice charts that looked just the way they should. I was the A+ student in my own science class! There was impeccably timed, incredibly boring procreative intercourse! And every month, there was my period!

Around this point, I mentioned to my OBGYN that we were trying, and she smiled and told me we needed to take a vacation together. Gosh, I WAS working an awful lot, what with the overtime at and writing my book evenings and weekends…

Coming from a midwifery family and having lots of friends who are body workers and healers of various kinds, I started getting a lot of thoughtful advice. I needed to relax. I needed a baby altar. I needed abdominal massage. I needed to stop stressing about it so much. This always happens to Type-As. It would happen when it was meant to happen.

Ok. I stopped making contingency plans and stopped avoiding alcohol two weeks out of the month. I needed to stop obsessing. I just needed to relax! My doctor and my friends and family all agree: If I could just relax things would be fine.

I switched jobs at that point to a boring but less stressful gig that paid better, because I needed to stop stressing and obviously I was going to get pregnant soon and I wanted to save money. All my friends who’d started trying around the same time we had were starting to have their babies. Obviously I’d have one soon too, right? My husband and I put off getting a dog because I’ll be pregnant next month and it’ll be easier to introduce a dog after the baby’s born. We’d wait.

So, now we’re in 2006. I’m charting like crazy, saving up money like crazy, not stressing and going to dance classes and hanging out with friends every Friday. La la la! I’m not obsessing about it! I’m not thinking about it! I’m relaxed!

At the advice of my mother and holistic medicine friends, I started doing fertility acupuncture and Maya abdominal massage. I tried focusing more energy (manifest manifest manifest) on getting pregnant. Then less energy (don’t think about it! let it just happen!). I tried hanging out with friend’s babies hoping their baby-ness would rub off on me. None of these things have resulted in me getting pregnant. All through 2006, the weight of the trying and failing got heavier and heavier. After a year of trying to conceive, it’s not so much fun. It’s depressing. It starts to mess with your head.

I started feeling like a core part of my body had become an untrustworthy stranger. A breech of trust with your own body is emotionally brutal. Right around this time, I fainted for the first time in my life for no explicable reason. I’m convinced it was just my body and my brain having a serious argument with shouts of trust and expectation and “how could yous!” and doors slamming.

It didn’t help that I kept my infertility to myself. It wasn’t a secret, I told myself. It was just PRIVATE. But as a married woman of child-bearing age, people wanted to talk to me non-stop about how we were probably having a baby any day, weren’t we? It got the point where hardly a week could go by without someone inadvertently saying something that would cut me to the bone.

All these comments were well-intentioned of course — part of the reason why I kept my pain to myself — but they starting to hurt like hell. Everyone seemed to assume I was always about pregnant, or if I wasn’t, that they knew the secret solution to my getting pregnant.

At the beginning of 2007, depressed as hell, I went back to the doctor and said, “Dude, it’s still not working.” Her “ha ha! you need a vacation!” comment from the year prior became “Oh, huh, you’re right. At 31, this shouldn’t take so long.”

If it was clear to me that holistic methods weren’t working for me, I was equally dubious of western fertility methods. Half the time doctors don’t even know what’s causing the infertility, and I’d glanced at enough infertility blogs to see how bat-shit insane fertility treatments can make some people. It’s a land of crazy abbreviations and people talking about their “embys” and using terms like “baby dancing.” People mortgage their homes trying to pay for just one more cycle, just one more chance. It made me sad and terrified. The worst case scenario was clear: sliding down the path to ever-more invasive, expensive, ineffective Western fertility treatment.

Despite my slippery slope fears that one test would suddenly lead me into a forest of abbreviations and neurotic horrors, we decided to start the process. The doctor ran the easy tests first: my husband was just fine. My blood work and hormone levels were all just fine. Everything seemed to be just fine. Then began the more invasive tests, which ultimately revealed things were NOT just fine.

I’ll spare you the gory details of the test and say that in Spring 2007 I learned that my right fallopian tube was basically broken. Thanks to some scar tissue from my 1986 appendectomy, I had what was known as a hydrosalpinx: a blocked and totally bloated fallopian tube.

There was much gnashing of teeth at this point. Lots of freaking the fuck out. I was officially broken. I was officially dealing with INFERTILITY. I felt like I’d exhausted a lot of the holistic women’s health care options I knew about … the massage, the acupuncture, the herbs, the dietary changes, the prayer and manifesting. These were the tools I’d grown up with and none of them were working. Ultimately, a chunk of my reproductive bits were broken.

This was around the time I burst into tears and told my husband I just needed a small warm therapy dog.

Sassafras worked. Her nickname the first few months was just “Sponge.”

This was also about the time I started outing myself to a larger (although still very very small) circle of friends. When people made joking references to me getting knocked up any day, I gave them a bleak response that actually things weren’t going as planned. Close friends stepped up to offer support, and anyone else got the idea to stop fucking prodding at me about it.

The doctor recommended removing the blocked fallopian tube, since hydrosalpinges are known for dripping nasty goo into the uterus, making it hard for implantation to occur. The theory was take the bad one out so the good one can do its job.

So in August of 2007, I went in for a salpingectomy to have the bad tube removed.

Then it was back to trying naturally. It sort of felt like we’d reset the clock a bit. Hope sprang a-new! There was optimism!

Six months later, the optimism was dried up. Friends who’d started trying to conceive when we first did were now giving birth to their second children. The advice sometimes felt more insistent, although most of that was just my own delicacy. Try this! Try that! Eat less this! Eat more that! Take more time for yourself! You’re thinking about it too much! It seems like no matter what I did, I wasn’t doing something quite right, and this was clearly my fault.

Early 2008, and I was working part-time at Microsoft. In passing, a coworker mentioned that the company offered infertility benefits. Infertility benefits?! Whaaa? Really? No one offers infertility benefits, and I’d spent a couple years feeling sad for people who mortgaged their homes trying to make babies via invasive western fertility treatments that don’t even work half the time. Remember? “Worst case scenario!”

…But with insurance paying, I wouldn’t have to deal with the guilt of feeling like the selfish yuppie who put tons of money into overpopulating the planet instead of adopting a child in need. (I don’t actually believe that’s true, but it’s the fear that lived in my head.) We could at least try?

And so, mid-2008, we headed to a local fertility clinic.

Our first doctor diagnosed us with “unexplained infertility,” which only confirmed my doubts about Western fertility methods. She suggested doing three rounds of Intra-uterine Insemination to see if that would work, and then going on to IVF — which was pretty much the worst worst case scenario.

And so last year we did three rounds of IUI aka “Medical Turkey Baster.” None of them worked, although one of the fertility drugs I was on was so intense that it gave me acid-like tracers when I woke up in the morning.

At that point, I decided to switch to one of the different doctors at the clinic. My first doc had been abrupt and never especially friendly. I liked this other doc the few times she’d been on-call when I’d had an appointment, and before we marched toward our worst worst case scenario treatment, I wanted to work with a doc I liked a bit better.

Within five minutes of meeting with my husband and I, this second doc said, “Oh, I wouldn’t say you’ve got unexplained infertility — this seems like a pretty clear case of tubal factor.” Her theory was that even though my left tube wasn’t totally broken, it may have been damaged enough by the inflammation of the other one that it could not be functioning very well or much at all.

“It’s no wonder the IUI hasn’t been working,” she said. “I don’t think that left tube is getting any eggs to anywhere. With your young age, this makes IVF a perfect solution. We’ll skip the tubes completely.”

Interesting. We took home a huge packet of information about IVF and figured we’d make an appointment at some point to start the process.

In January 2009, there were layoffs at Microsoft. My first thought was “Oh my god, if I lost my job I’d lose those infertility benefits — we need to use those benefits IMMEDIATELY. If I get laid off before I have the chance to use them, I am going to be so fucking pissed.” (Smart thinking: I was ultimately laid off during the third round of layoffs 10 months later.)

And so, in late January we made the call: we would begin our worst worst case scenario. My insurance would cover exactly ONE try at IVF. We would dive into one of the most invasive, expensive fertility treatments around … the one that led to Octomom. The one that led to many bankrupt infertility bloggers. The one that was pretty much diametrically opposed to everything I’d been raised with.

Remember, I’m the one who was the result of conception so spontaneous and magical and natural that it became my middle name. Conceived in a meadow! My parents couldn’t even get inside a tent it was so natural!

And yet, here I was: staring down the barrel of the quintessentially opposite conception experience. Where my own conception involved alpine lakes and wildflowers and summer breezes on naked hippies, my process of conceiving would involve four shots a day for months, several doctors, a lab full of embryologists, $4000 worth of medication, and lots and lots of needles.

Needless to say, this was not the conception I had envisioned for a child. My mother was a midwife for godsake! Dedicated to natural, non-invasive women’s healthcare! And here’s her broken daughter, pursuing something at the exact other end of the spectrum of medicine.

“It’s pretty much our last option, Mom.” I explained to her over the phone.

“Well, there’s always another option,” she said. “Which is allowing it to either happen or not happen on its own.”

This was when I decided I needed to ask my mother very explicitly for her support. We had a big long talk where I was basically like, “Look, I realize this is not your modality. I realize this is probably not what you would choose if you were me. But I need you fully on-board with me on this process. It’s going to be challenging and emotionally draining, and I really need your support through it.”

As these things often go with my mom, all I had to do was ask. She was there to sit with me and go through the insanely complex calendar of medications. She was there to make me food after the light surgery when they retrieved the eggs. She was fully on-board.

Although when it came to on-board, it was hard to compare to my husband. I made the decision early on in the process that I needed to go with the flow as much as possible. I would not document every day with crazy abbreviations. I would not obsess over my medications. I asked my husband to be in charge of everything involving medicine: procuring, understanding doses, and giving me all those bazillions of shots.

Shots in the belly. Shots in the ass. Shots from little needles. Shots from huge needles. Shots from medical “pens.” My husband gave me shots morning and night. He patted my head when the hormonal psychosis got to me. He rubbed my butt after giving me the intramuscular shots from the really huge needles. He went to every appointment and made every phone call. He drove me to and from the nearly-daily blood draws and ultrasounds. He made his humiliating “deposits” (yes, that’s what they call it) at the fertility clinic. All I had to do was be a patient patient and pin cushion. My husband did all the thinking and doing. For someone like me who spends so much of my time up in my brain, it was amazing to just step back and not think at all.

After two months of pin cushioning and crazy science/magic involving photos of embryos and decisions about whether to risk having twins … we found out it had worked. After almost five years of infertility, I was finally pregnant. The worst worst case scenario had worked. My pregnancy was relatively unremarkable, and my son was born the day before Thanksgiving 2009.

IVF was this terrible awful procedure that I’d invested a lot of fear in. It just didn’t fit with my identity — who’s heard of offbeat infertility? Offbeat IVF? Pshaw. It was the expensive invasive terror that desperate people indulged themselves in. It was like gambling: this thing that you keep tossing money at hoping that this time you’ll win but ultimately the house always wins and you always lose. Of course you lose. It makes you crazy, and worst part? It doesn’t even work most of the time.

Caveat: I recognize that we were beyond lucky to have insurance that covered the treatment. I have profound respect for people who fund fertility treatments out of pocket, but I’m not sure we could have done it. I also want to recognize that Assisted Reproductive Technology isn’t a good solution for everyone, and isn’t an option physically or financially for many of us who struggling with infertility. So, the moral of my story here is definitely not YAY IVF!

What I want to say is this: I was wrong. I invested years of my life living in fear, seeing something (in this case Western fertility treatments and especially IVF) as the awful boogey man in my hippie closet, the terrible admission of defeat that would forever turn me into a person I hated myself for being. Ultimately, I was wrong.

This makes me wonder … what other massive fears of mine are completely unfounded? What other things that I see as the worst WORST case scenario could actually lead me to a place of profound happiness? What other paralyzing grief and fear could I release?

To those of you who are wrestling with the grief of infertility, mourning the loss of a child who may never be: so much of my love to you. I know how hard it is, and you are not nearly as alone as you feel.

Comments on Coming out of the infertility closet

  1. Thank you, Ariel. Thank you for your presence in the Offbeat world and in our lives, and thank you for completely baring your soul here.

  2. Ariel and Keiko,

    Thank you for airing my feelings,and those it appears of many others too. My beloved and i currently in month 14 of trying, going through the UK NHS fertility procedures – They go something along the lines of:
    “do we have to do something really?” followed by all the it’s you who needs to do this, and this, and this…..
    followed by “okay, if you insist we’ll do something” followed by tests and waiting and tests and waiting and tests and more waiting….. but – for the moment at least – it does not cost us anything (the blessings of state health care – UK should be proud!).

    Keiko’s video managed to put how i feel in to words – thank you for that – and thank you for letting us know we are not alone, as it can often feel we are (self imposed i guess.)

    Ariel, Thank you for showing me that worse case isn’t always worst case…. and also showing me it’s not a battle we fight alone (that’s certainly how it can feel at times).

    So yeah – thanks – and thanks to everyone who has shared their experiences. It’s good to listen to people who understand! 🙂

  3. Ariel,
    one of my favorite things about you
    is your ability to be ambivalent–
    you’re the child of hippies,
    firmly grounded in natural living,
    but you’re also willing to give things outside of that a chance.

    i am so glad that IVF worked for you and Dre–
    thank you for the reminder to be thoughtful around women who may be struggling with infertility.

    you’re incredible, lady.

    ps (dre? you’re also incredible.)

  4. This piece completely touched me beyond words can say. I am just now beginning to hit the “babycrack” stage, and with no significant other I feel like life is on hold. I was diagnosed at 16 with PCOS and at 18 I ended up having a surgery that they told me I had severe endometriosis. I am 21 now, and was told by my doctor that by the time I hit 23 I would need another round of surgeries just to try to get pregnant, and with the scarring there would still be no guarantee. As an official mommy-in-training since I was 2 (have to love those little siblings) I felt like many lifelong dreams were being shattered.

    I dont know how anything will end up. I tend to see my starting a family with adoption and financially that scares my little LMT heart to death. Emotionally, I have no idea how I will ever explain to the man I want to marry that we most likely will never have our own children.

    I applaud you for taking on IVF! I have looked into it alot and it is the only reason I didnt take my OBGYN up on a hysterectomy last year. It’s scary but that little bit of hope is sometimes the best reward. I have a ton of respect for the everything you and Dre worked for. 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing this. My sister got married at 40 and had trouble conceiving. She got pregnant only to miscarry a week after sharing the news. It was heartbreaking. Luckily her insurance would pay for three rounds of infertility treatments, but they were pretty awful for her. After the second round they decided to take a break, and got pregnant. Their son was born March 1st, two months after my sister turned 43. I lived abroad during this entire process, so I didn’t see first-hand, but I don’t doubt that it was hell on both of them. I’m terrified that something like this will happen to me, but your story makes me feel that even if I do struggle to conceive, there’s hope.

  6. Ariel – Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us! Facing your boogey man to achieve what you really want … so frightening and amazing. My husband and I are also in the “perhaps a happy accident” stage even though I know I have PCOS and it probably won’t be that simple for us.
    Thank you.

  7. That really is a wonderful video.This is the third or fourth time I’ve watched it.

    The whole Project IF is something I’d recommend for people who are interested/going through it themselves. It’s over at Stirrup Queens.

    Pee Ess:
    I’d say that some of the blogs you can find over that way are good for offbeat IVF. Julie over at alittlepregnant is amazing, if you read her archives.

  8. Really inspiring story. A friend of mine sent me this post because I write custom songs and had recently written one for a couple who had infertility problems due to the wife’s cancer treatment which left her unable to bear children.

    She preserved the eggs and her sister stepped up and is having the baby for her. It was such an inspiring story that the song was no trouble to write. It’s over here, in case you’re interested:

  9. This post absolutely worked to raise my own awareness of fertility issues and the impact they have on people dealing with them. When we were in the NICU with our second baby, I realized there was this big world of sick babies and hurting families that I never really thought deeply about before I was in that particular situation, and this post gave me that same feeling. Thanks for offering your personal account as a vehicle for understanding!

  10. Thank you for sharing this story with us. I do think more people need to talk about it more openly.

    As a lesbian, I’ve had to accept early on that “infertility” treatments have to a part of any attempt at authentic conception for me, since I cannot ever make a baby by “magic” “naturally” with my partner. I will never have the “luxury” of a happy accident. I will have to pay a lot of money for sperm and nothing about it will really be natural.

    Everyone’s journey with infertility is a little different and I would argue that queer conception is pretty offbeat, which is something I was really surprised you didn’t mention, since you are usually pretty up with the gays. 🙂 (That’s not a criticism, just a statement, that I was surprised.)

    Anyway, I think more people need to talk about IVF etc and normalize it more. Because while it might not be “natural” it is the only opiton for lots of people for lots of different reasons.

    Love the happy ending photo with Tavi. He’s a doll!

    • Queer conception is absolutely offbeat — and had I been writing an article about offbeat conception, I absolutely would have included it. But this wasn’t that article. This is just my personal story — and as up with the gays as I may be, ultimately I’m partnered to a man. 🙂

  11. Thank you for sharing this, Ariel. My mother had a miscarriage and multiple foiled attempts before she conceived and had me. Growing up with the knowledge that I could have just as easily not been is sort of eye opening. I also fret now and then that I will have her same conception troubles. It’s much too early for me to be concerned about it, but whenever I hear stories like yours I think of my Mother and am so glad that she and my Father tried that one last time. Be well!

  12. Thank your both for sharing…and for making infertility REAL!

    My husband and I are both 40 and are currently awaiting the results of a second opinion regarding male factor infertility. But, as it stands now, our only option for conceiving will be through IVF. As much as I have tried to prepare my family and close friends for that reality, they seem to brush it off and continue with the well-meaning, yet annoying “Just keep practicing!” “Relax, and then it will happen!” “Don’t think about it!” responses. The world of babies is swirling all around me…hell, I’m even hosting a baby shower…and all I am reminded of is how that may not be my reality. So, I just suck it up, smile, and nod.

    My reality will now be in the hands of science. I’m horribly afraid of needles, yet I’m determined to give IVF a try, even when there are no guarantees that we’ll have a baby when it is all said and done.

    Your story and the video has helped me see that what I’m going through is REAL and helped bolster my faith and courage.

    Thanks again.

  13. I read this with tears in my eyes. One of my closest friends struggled with infertility, and after they were finally able to get pregnant, their baby died less than 24 hours after birth due to a doctor’s mistake.

    She would cry to me on the phone when people would ask her when they were going to make a baby or why wasn’t she pregnant yet. The whole thing was heart-wrenching.

    Her story has a wonderful ending, though: they were able to concieve again after 2 years of trying and now have a healthy, beautiful 4 month old daughter.

    • I gasped when I read that the baby died due to a doctor’s mistake. I would die if, after all that, a doctor’s error took my child away from me. Your friend must be a very strong, amazing person. Kudos to you for helping her through something like that. I can’t even IMAGINE. Jesus.

      • When it happened this rage came over me. It took a long time for me to even be able to cry about it. I just wanted to punch things, throw things, and break things. I still get shakey with rage thinking about it. My friend is an amazing woman and she was very involved in her therapy and healing. She’s currently trying to get pregnant again.

  14. I’m so sorry you went through that heartache and so happy that you now have a beautiful little boy.

    I wish the best of luck and medical assistance to all of those trying to conceive their own precious child.

  15. This post brought tears to my eyes! We are currently in about our 4th month of trying. I never really thought this could happen to me. My husband and I come from big families and I have always known I would be a mother. We got pregnant our first try! I have never been so happy in my life. I felt like everything was perfect. Unfortunately, we miscarried early on. Then, I felt that it would never get better. Now I am in a constant state of worry that I won’t get pregnant and if I do, something will happen. It helps to know that people out there are like me, as much as I wish that no one ever had to go through this. Thank you and all the posters for making me feel like I’m not alone in this. The video was outstanding!

  16. Your story sounds very similar to my own. I also watched family and friends have baby after baby. Cousins having multiple babies before being old enough to buy a beer, or even vote. One of my friends came to me in a panic at 2am in the morning because she thought she was pregnant since a condom broke, knowing I would love to be in her position, and asked me to help her get Plan B.

    For different reasons both of my tubes are completely blocked, and have been since I as 19 (I’m 29 now, and we started IVF when I was 28 and he was 26). My fiance’s insurance covered most of the IVF. He did all the shots and went to all the appointments and cuddled me when the hormones made me angry or upset. It took three cycles of trying. Our six-month-old daughter is sleeping next to me right now.

    Unlike you, I’ve never been private about this. I’ve believed, and still believe, that it’s not something someone should feel has to be kept hidden. There’s already enough of a sense of being broken without being made to feel that we should be ashamed of our “brokeness.”

    Unfortunately the comments are not always kind. We’re “selfish” if we resort to fertility treatments. We’re “overpopulating the world” by trying to have babies. Maybe we’re “meant to be foster parents.” (Um, no, not everyone has it in them to basically be “loaned” a child to love and then have to give back.) We should “just adopt.” Cruelly, these comments seem to come most from those who have biological children, and were able to conceive them naturally. That hurt.

    I won’t ever shut up about IVF. I won’t stop putting a face to it. It’s impossible to know me without knowing I had IVF. Strangers have come forward through my blogs to learn more. My fiance has been open at work, and as such, is the go-to guy about anything regarding reproductive organs. We, like you, are part of the estimated 12.5%+ of couples with reproductive issues, and we should NOT be made to feel alone or like we have to hide our issues. We should NOT be made to feel ashamed. Others who are infertile need support and compassion. The deep longing for a child and not having one is a profound sense of something wrong, heart-clenching, of aloneness. Those of us with the courage to speak out need to speak out to help others realize they’re not alone and to find their own courage to say, “This is who I am, I’m okay, and I’m not alone. My worth isn’t measured by my reproductive abilities. I’m infertile, but I’m not broken!”

  17. I’ve read and re-read this story I cannot tell you how many times, and it has been such a source of renewed hope.
    I glance through hoards of pictures of mamas and the ‘babycrack’ sets in. I got married alittle over a year ago, although we have been together for 7 years. I never considered why we never had a happy accident before I always just assumed we took the right precautions and it would be really easy once we started really trying. We made the decision to start a family and then 6 months passed, I was told that was the average for people our age to be successful. Then 6 more months passed. Every month it seems to get harder and every month another friend is announcing their ‘happy accident’ Its become very hard to feign happiness for my friends who I don’t feel like have worked hard enough to ‘earn it’ yet. Which is silly but I guess sometimes those kinds of emotions just get the best of us.
    I’ve been blessed with a wonderful man who is as supportive as anyone could wish for. And even with all that support knowing that my hay-wire innards are preventing us from starting a family is kind of a bummer (putting it lightly.) I think my biggest issue is that I’m only 23 and every time I attempt to talk to some one (ANYONE) about it all I get are the “It will happen when its time” or the “Your too young to be worrying about that” Its truly is like daggers. Its almost makes me feel like I really am too young. Too young and crazy to be attempting to bring a child into the world.
    I really just wanted to thank you for letting me have some hope back. This is my journey and no one can dictate it other than me and the man, and that there are others out there dealing with similar things.
    First dose of Clomid starts next month. *fingers crossed*

    • An additional twist to those daggers is that these comments almost always come from people who have the kids they want, or who don’t want kids. Annoying as all hell is hearing “You’re too young” from people who had kids younger and think they were old enough.

      About 10% of women in the US have trouble conceiving, and about the same number of men. Fertility needs to stop being something we’re expected to keep to ourselves like a shameful, lonely secret.

  18. Thank you for sharing your story so openly. I haven’t started trying to have kids yet & probably won’t for at least another year, but I’ve known people who have dealt with infertility & know there’s a possibility I may face it w/my fiance. I remember how my friends all had to deal with multiple people suggesting there was a simple fix & feeling that there was something wrong with them. It’s so helpful & encouraging to read your real story & all of the supportive messages here.

  19. As a childfree gal, I really appreciated this chance to see how it feels for women who really want to have kids, but have so many things blocking them. Thank you for sharing your story – I found myself tearing up as I read, simply moved by how powerful your emotions were and still are. We need mommies like you.

    • I second what you say Lilac. While I am not necessarily “child-free”, my husband and I have always said if we have infertility problems we will just not have kids. Neither of us have a huge emotional need to have kids. We want one, but I don’t have that thing where I was meant to be a mom.

      However, I was super lucky I read Ariel’s story and watched Keiko’s video when I did. The same month it was posted I had a friend call me up and ask me to donate eggs to her because she was told this would be the only way to get pregnant. I don’t know if I would have been as compassionate as I was not because I am a naturally rude person or anything lol, but because I just didn’t “get it” until I read this story. I think I would have said a lot of the wrong things in my attempt to be supportive. Because I read the story I was able to listen to her fertility problems and instead of offering her piece of advice after piece of advice, I was able to just say, “You know what, that absolutely sucks. You don’t deserve to have to be going through this and I am sorry that you are”

  20. Thank you for sharing this. Between your post and the video, I’m sitting on the sofa, in tears, with a very confused boy at the other end!
    My mum had seven miscarriages between my brother and myself due to a translocated chromosone in both her and my dad. I have the same translocation and since the genetic counselling at 16 (yes, seriously!), it’s sat like a black cloud over my head waiting for the first strike. (I am incredibly lucky to be covered by the NHS should I need it.)
    At the beginning of this year, I had my first miscarriage- it would have been a happy accident had it come to fruition. I couldn’t tell my mum as I dreaded how low it would make her- even now with two adult children, everytime she hears about a miscarriage, I can still see that hollow pain behind her eyes that I remember as a little girl. That was incredibly difficult as she is my closest confidante apart from P.
    It doesn’t help that the urge is starting to kick in (similar to yours, Ariel- my mum had me at 28, my nan had her at 28… I have four months til that birthday!) and that I’m getting that nag from friends and family- why put the inevitable off? We’re not trying at the moment and in fact, I’m terrified of starting to think about it as what if it carries on in the way it commenced?
    As one of the children in my class remarked today, “It’s all a bit pants, isn’t it?”
    ‘Spose I’ve always got them!
    Enjoy every minute of your families, everyone. In whatever shape they come in.

  21. Thank you for posting this Ariel. I had a bad miscarriage about three years ago (two months in)- It was bad enough to almost kill me…which has led to…well… we are trying every now and then but- it’s been about as successful as trying to hold onto a wet soap bar while being oiled up with flying monkeys attacking.
    But with this I feel…more informed. Maybe better better 🙂 but because now I know that there are more people who hurt a hurt that can’t be easily healed I feel… sadder?

    But also I feel horrible because I never wanted children until now, and now it seems more and more like I can’t. But hearing others stories, and successes against the odds- it puts a ray of hope in there.
    Thank you.

  22. i continually hope that as women, we grow in our awareness of the multitude of pregnancy-related issues we may have. so that we may be sensitive to the “baby nag” around one another. “why aren’t you guys having kids yet?!” is incredibly painful for someone to hear, if they’ve secretly had a recent miscarriage or are going through a period of infertility.

  23. Ariel, this post got me quite emotional. In the tradition of women in my family, I became pregnant accidentally at the ripe age of 20.

    At 27 however, after watching a relative follow a a path of trying to conveice- first natural, then herbal/chinese medicine, then assisted insemination and finally very reluctantly IVF, several times with no success, all with the clock ticking loudly, I offered my eggs up for use. Thankfully, after a couple of tries this was a success and she now has a 2 year old ‘apple of her eye’.

    I cannot relate personally to the babycrack you speak of- my experience was so opposite to yearning and trying and planning, more like freaking out and feeling completely unprepared, but I am glad that I was able to help someone at their worst case scenario, as it ended in their best case scenario eventually.

  24. Going to hug my son extra tight when he gets up from his nap. I took a different final route to motherhood(adoption instead of IVF) but the rest of my story runs close to yours Ariel. So glad our paths finally lead to babies, regardless of how we got there.

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