i think one of the best things to come from my failed cycles is my ability to empathise with others that struggle similarly for whatever reason. It is difficult still to hear of people’s success, but I’m happy to report that I feel more happiness than grief these days.
Significantly more happiness than grief.
The pain is still intense but it is my pain and does not stop me from grinning broadly when given happy news. For those that know me, this has been a long time coming.
There have been friends I couldn’t see during the past seven or so years because they were pregnant or had young kids, and it was just too bloody hard. Even when my sister fell pregnant and called me with the news of impending twins, I congratulated her but then sobbed for hours. Tears escape now in memory.
If you know someone struggling with fertility, give them lots of hugs, and be willing to listen to and really hear them. It is a very lonely path. Even in a couple.
I was talking to a friend of mine during the week. She is a champion and has undergone many unsuccessful IVF cycles. One of the things that there isn’t much literature on is the impact on libido from constant unsuccessful cycles; the practice and art of baby making can become a scheduled chore or work practice. And failure in falling pregnant can impact on a woman’s sense of self as a woman.
I have often said that failing to fall pregnant, or falling pregnant and miscarrying, most certainly makes you feel like a failure. It doesn’t matter how many people tell you that you aren’t, you can’t escape that feeling.
And then it almost becomes a challenge to fall pregnant, a fight you must win at all costs, and the full life you once lead becomes eclipsed by schedules completely out of your control. The regimen of drug taking and injections is very restrictive; you sacrifice control of your life to this process. And when it is unsuccessful … Well, it hurts. And when people aren’t supportive, or are ignorant, well, that isolates you even more.
Having said that, I did fall pregnant once, and in the interests of sharing what worked for me, even though I’m not a doctor, I will. I went on a juice diet for two months prior so I lost weight and my body was nutrient and vitamin rich. I’m not a doctor. I went to acupuncture and took herbs. I also took a longer period of time off work prior to the cycle; I was not carrying more stress than the cycle already gives. I did nothing, kept my feet up as much as I could, and I also went away on a trip. A break from reality and routine was necessary for my brain; it offered a distraction. And do not fly. A friend of mine and I both miscarried after flying early in pregnancy. It may not have been the cause but I wouldn’t risk it. Again, I’m not a doctor.
And if you are the partner or a friend of a woman struggling with her fertility, listen and be there, even if you think it isn’t right, be there. Listen and hear. Celebrate and cry. Be present.
And ladies, trust that you will know for yourself when it is time to stop. My sister offered me her eggs after my last failed cycle and we started that process. But I knew it was my time to stop shortly after. All of the money I had spent, the debt that I was now in, well, that money could be spent on other things with a greater chance of return. So for me, it was time to stop.
That’s not to say that every month when i ovulate I don’t contemplate multiple trips to multiple pubs … 😉
Being a mum is still part of my psyche. Sometimes though, I wonder if I dodged a bullet, as one of my friends has eloquently stated. It’s not an easy path, but neither is motherhood. At least this way I still can pretend control over my life hehe. And two friends have told me that adult children are very ungrateful.
Meh … I will never know. My adopted child is not ungrateful, but I didn’t give birth to her so maybe my expectations are different.
The path to motherhood is never easy. And it is lonely. But if you feel the desire to nurture, you don’t have a choice but to try. And if nurturing your own birth child isn’t your ultimate path, trust that whatever is, will happen when you have the brain and emotional space for it to happen.