Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What it feels like to be infertile

I've written a lot about being infertile over the years, both when I was experiencing infertility for the first time, and now that we're going through it for a second time. For the first three years I battled infertility with my ex-husband I primarily kept quiet about it, except to a handful of friends who I knew were also going through it. Infertility was, and sometimes still is, seen as an extremely taboo subject to talk about openly with people. It's almost impossible for people to understand unless they've experienced it themselves, which I think leads lots of people to feel uncomfortable talking about it. Unfortunately that's never going to change unless more people talk about it.

Going through infertility is extremely isolating and emotionally arduous. Trying to deal with that behind closed doors while keeping a smile on your face in public is exhausting. Having to act like you're fine when you really want to break down in a corner and cry is challenging, but I did it for years. When T and I started fertility treatment back in 2012 I decided that I wasn't going to keep it hidden anymore. I didn't shout it from the rooftops, but I did start opening up about it here on the blog, and eventually in conversations with friends.

I think its important that we talk about our experiences with infertility. Yes people won't like it and people won't know how to react, but over time {probably a long period of time} people will become more educated and more accepting. Above all that, its important for those of us experiencing infertility to feel like we have a right to express our feelings. So with that in mind I thought I'd try to explain what it feels like to be infertile {for me at least}.
Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system.
It took me almost 4 years to conceive my daughter {I tried to conceive for 3yrs with my ex-husband and almost a year with T} and we've been trying to conceive again for just under a year now. Unfortunately it's not working again so I have sat with these emotions and feelings again on an almost daily basis for months now. Sometimes I hide them under a smile and other times I let it all out and break down {but only when I'm by myself}. This is what it feels like to be infertile.

WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE INFERTILE


I feel like a failure. I'm broken on the inside, but nobody can see it.

I hate my body. My body doesn't do what its supposed to be able to do, I feel like I'm not a real woman, even though I am. I want to love my body, but some days I just can't.

My body is no longer my own. It now also belongs to a team of doctors who are trying to reach the same end goal as me. Unfortunately being a female that means numerous people have had their hands, ultrasound wands and other medical instruments inside my who-ha. There's no time to be embarrassed, I had to get over that years ago.

Trying for a baby is not fun. Everyone thinks we just get to have sex a lot and on the surface I agree that does sound like fun, but its not. There are no spontaneous, romantic liaisons going on around here. There is systematic, meticulously timed and often medically aided baby making. Making a baby is no longer a case of do it and cross your fingers, it becomes a very scientific process. After a while its not fun.

It's like being stuck in a tunnel. I have tunnel vision and it's hard to see anything except the goal at the end of the tunnel. Yet it seems so far away. Infertility sometimes impedes my ability to see the good going on around me. Some days all I can see, feel and think about is what I don't have, but desperately want. It can be emotionally debilitating, but I am dealing with it a lot better the second time around.

Infertility causes jealousy and resentment. Yes it's true, when I see a pregnancy announcement I usually get upset {for a little while}. I'm not angry or annoyed at the person who is pregnant, it just reminds me that others are moving on and achieving the dream that I haven't yet, and that hurts my heart a little. I'm happy for them, but sad for me, but in time that feeling passes and I can celebrate and get excited with them.

I'm obsessed with babies. Despite the initial hurt a pregnancy announcement can cause, babies set my ovaries on fire and light up my world. I adore babies and could cuddle your baby all day long. In fact I would babysit your baby whenever you wanted me to. Seriously.

In the end infertility ruined my pregnancy. When I finally got pregnant the first time I was too scared to get excited and feel happy. I kept thinking something was going to go wrong and I would lose the baby. Infertility, and knowing all the things that could go wrong, robbed me of the joy of pregnancy. However, if we get pregnant again, I'm determined to try and enjoy and celebrate that pregnancy a lot more.

I wouldn't wish it on anybody.


It can be an extremely emotional rollercoaster, and occasionally we may lash out, withdraw or breakdown. Unfortunately that is par for the course with the journey we're on. If someone you know shares with you that they're experiencing infertility problems please don't dismiss it or tell them to relax, it's taken a lot of courage for them to let down their walls and let you in. Please just continue to love them and support them and appreciate the fact that they value your friendship enough to let you into their private world.

Toni x
Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.



Linking with Jess

32 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing such a brave post Toni. Sometimes life seems so unfair! All the best with your current attempts!

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  2. I can completely understand how you're feeling Toni. I started trying to get pregnant when I was 23. I didn't get pregnant until I was 28 ... and that was with the help with IVF. We were 'unexplained infertility'. After that pregnancy - it was like my body was reset and all worked like clockwork. I was able to fall easily with my daughter. Don't give up. xoxo

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    1. I started trying to conceive when I was 23 as well and funnily enough feel pregnant at 28 as well. I was hoping my body would reset itself after I had her, but it doesn't seem to be the case. I still feel like its going to happen though, eventually.

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  3. Toni, you are amazing. Your strength is so deep rooted and your want and love for another child is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your truth. I pray that your next comes along very soon xx

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  4. Toni be kind to yourself. I hope things change and your body works it out but if not, thanks for letting us in on those personal matter #teamIBOT

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  5. I totally understand some of these as in 2012 I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) which in a lot of cases renders a woman infertile and even though I have adopted my beautiful little nephew at 2 months old (long story) I still yearn to have a child of my own and feel the thrill of being pregnant thank you for writing all of these they may help a lot of my friends and family understand how I feel sometimes

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    1. I have PCOS too and was officially diagnosed in 2012 as well. It is definitely one of the main causes of our infertility. I hope this post lets other understand what we feel like because sometimes its so hard for others to relate.

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  6. I am sorry you have to go through this too Toni.
    Thank you for sharing.
    I have experienced infertility and stillbirth too.
    IVF gave us our boys. I'm forever grateful.
    I am feeling all the feels with you.

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    1. I have a feeling we may end up going through IVF this time around too.

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  7. Thank you for sharing this. As someone who has never had the urge I can't imagine how it must feel. I do know however that insensitive remarks like "why don't you have a baby yet" or "when will you have another one" must really hurt, as I get them a lot, and people do not know my circumstances. I do not know why so many other things are private, yet we comment on this freely without knowing the pain of what people might be experiencing behind closed doors. Best wishes for your next round. Visiting from #IBOT

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    1. Yes! So many people automatically ask when you're going to have another baby or originally why hadn't we had kids yet. At least now that I'm more open with people I get a little less of that. It would be a much less painful world if people were more concerned about themselves than everyone else's business, but unfortunately I don't think thats going to change any time soon.

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  8. Such an raw post Toni. I will never forget when I was told by my Drs that due to my cancer I would never have children and that I should re-think whether I even want to have children. I knew then that I wouldn't ever be able to go through IVF just because of my personality. I am one of the incredibly lucky ones who was able to prove the drs wrong. It was very hard and both pregnancies were very scary and I didn't allow myself to even bond with my babies until long after they were in my arms.

    Sending you lots of love and baby dust for when you try again. I am more than certain you have tried everything but just in case I have the most amazing naturopath who has a science degree as well as the naturopath with a sub-speciality in fertility. If you want her details let me know.

    Lots of love

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    1. I had the same issue with bub, I didn't really bond with her until she was a few weeks old because I think I still thought she wasn't really mine or that something would still go wrong. I'm hoping we wont have to get to IVF because I doubt I'll be able to handle it either.

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  9. Hugs. I hope these words you've shared reach those who need to hear it and know they're not alone.
    I just deleted three paragraphs worth of comment. Not because I'm embarrassed by it, but just know that I understand and am sending happy good luck vibes to you. CHOOKAS to you as you try, try and try again.

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  10. Thinking of you and hoping that you will be having another baby in your arms soon. Your story is a brave one and I agree that the more we share the better it can be to help ourselves & others. I had a journey of infertility where I was told I'd never have a second child after easily having my first. Fortunately a medical procedure helped & with a 7.5 year gap we became parents again. I feel for you and the pain that is seeing others easily have their children. I remember it well and it was 40 years ago! Denyse xx

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    1. I really hope that we have another child before she turns 7, but right now I'd be happy with any age gap as long as it means we get another baby.

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  11. Hang in there, Toni, and have faith. Please try to not be hard on yourself. I know that is easier said than done. Thanks for sharing your story and your innermost feelings.

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  12. I don't think anyone can say the right thing for someone going through infertility. It is something that we all think will never happen to us, hey as teens and young women it doesn't even hit the radar. It is such a hush, hush, issue but really shouldn't be. Women need to be aware. It affects so many, too many, for it to be a quiet thing. I hope that you get what you wish for soon, I really do. Thank you for putting your fertility issues out there. It is helping get the work out there. Good luck!

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    1. I don't think there's really a right thing to say either. And I was totally set up with false expectations thanks to sex ed at school lol IF YOU HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX YOU WILL GET PREGNANT... well I call bullshit on that!

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  13. Oh Toni... I wish this was easy for you. I'm sorry that you're going through this, and I wish you didn't have to. You're not broken though, and there's nothing wrong with you. I understand you feel like that, but you are a wonderful, amazing person whose worth is not dependent on your ability to procreate. Big hugs to you my friend. xxx

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  14. Thank you for sharing your story, Toni. I think it is so important that we break down taboo relating to infertility, pregnancy loss and reproductive struggles. I am awfully sorry to hear you are going through this. It doesn't seem fair, does it? It isn't fair. Hang in there. I wish you courage to face the hard days, and hope to carry you through the many uncertain days xx

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    1. Thanks Michaela x Its certainly not fair, nobody should have to go through this.

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  15. Thanks for sharing, it's an important message to get out as so many people do suffer in silence, trying to avoid the awkward comments, like when are you guys going to have a family? I love your honesty in your blog.

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    1. Thanks Sarah, sometimes I think I may be too honest, but I write it anyway :)

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  16. I feel your pain mama xx a biological child was not in my destiny, rather a beautiful bubba blessed to be my daughter via an open adoption. I was very open about our fertility journey at times, and then others I just went into lock down and some days I couldnt even leave the house. Its a difficult place for anyone to be. Since my journey nearly 5 years ago now, so many other women in my life have ahd to endure the same thing and my being open with them throughout mine, has meant that they have come to me for support. A big positive out of it all xoxx

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  17. I'm so sorry you're going through this. Wishing you the best.

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