I’ve been on the edge of my seat for months now thinking that any day now, I’m just nine months away from having a child. In fact, at one point I was pretty darn sure I’d be giving birth just seven months later.
Then I learned about this thing called a missed miscarriage. I lamented this pregnancy loss and with it lost my my sense of control of the future. The concept of “birth control” started to take on new meaning to me. I wanted some of that — some control over when I’d have a birth — and I wanted it ASAP.
The more time passed and I still wasn’t pregnant, the more I started to wonder if something was wrong with me. Despite a few complications, my doctor assured me that sometimes it takes time for a woman’s cycle to regulate after a miscarriage. That most miscarriages are simply bad luck. And that ovarian cysts (even ones with hair and teeth — image search dermoid cyst if you want to be grossed out) don’t interfere with fertility. I was fine, I just needed some patience and luck. (My reaction to hearing medical professionals wish me “good luck” with the seemingly straightforward biological process of reproduction is a story for another time).
I’d started off so optimistic… I was healthy and young, of course I’d get pregnant today or sometime soon. The longer it took, the less I believed that or my doctors reassurance. My mind became wrapped in a negativity I’d never known before.
I started to read blogs about infertility, pregnancy loss — all the fun topics. I dove in deep, and felt relieved to not be the only one whose mind was clouded with baby-craving grief. And yet, there was a disconnect because so many of these woman were years or multiple losses into their devastating situation.
If I were to get pregnant tomorrow, no one would bat an eye. I wouldn’t be clinically anything besides gravida. I would just have been unlucky the previous months — infertility isn’t officially diagnosed until 12 unsuccessful cycles of trying to conceive.
It is absolutely, positively, fantastic that there is a growing movement of woman making it more socially acceptable to talk about infertility. What we’re not talking about is what comes before that. The months of uncertainty, of wondering if you’re infertile.
Let’s talk about what it’s like to show up at a yoga for fertility class thinking it will be stress relieving and then have a surge of anxiety as women describe the YEARS they’ve been trying to conceive. Your current pain seems trivial compared to theirs and yet what you feel is so real, so raw. You can’t bear the thought of this continuing for years.
Let’s talk about what that first appointment with a fertility specialist is like, before you’ve started any three letter acronyms (IUI, IVF) with a glimmer of hope they might work.
Let’s talk about struggling with why you feel so upset when you haven’t even been trying THAT long. Feeling like you shouldn’t feel this way.
Let’s talk about feeling like you can’t relate to the infertile who are doing IVF nor can your relate to those who’ve never had trouble conceiving. Let’s talk about these isolating months before diagnosis.
Let’s continue to speak out about the struggles of infertility, but let’s not ignore those of us who are waiting to see if we’ll be drafted to that team that no one wants to play for.