Today a decade has passed since hope of having a baby was whisked away. It is something I deal with on a day to day basis, second nature like breathing. I curse my body for not doing what it is suppose to. As each year passes, I guess I have more acceptance but it still hurts. Typing this now I have to pause, collect myself as tears roll down my cheek. Life is so unfair, how dare everyone else’s life carry on. I clearly remember the day as if it was yesterday, thinking is this the day the eggs will be ready to be implanted. Only for later that morning to get the news I was dreading, all the eggs had died. My heart felt as if it had been ripped out.
I am grateful for a realist consultant at the fertility clinic. As we had to pay for treatment, it would had been easy for him to fill us full of false hope whilst extracting another £5000. We could give you the most drugs we can but there isn’t much more likelihood of harvesting any more eggs. Plus I don’t think my mental health would’ve coped with the crushing disappointment. It has been seriously affected as I’ve come to terms with it.
Of course over the last decade, I’ve had countless questions of “do you have children” when I reply no, the usual reply of “oh you’re a career girl” to which for years I just silently nodded and smiled. In later years I just reply “I can’t have children”.
Now I’m peri pausal, It makes me think of my body going into the next stage of life, I feel sad that my body didn’t allow me to have children. Now my body going into menopause makes that final. Infertility is an invisible grief. Take a moment to think about the grief that occurred for you after the death of a loved one. The relationship you had with your loved one was probably clearly defined, and you have memories of that person to look back on. The loss is easily identified and articulated, not only by you but by others who were aware of the death. You most likely had many people express sympathy and give you their condolences, perhaps verbally or by sending flowers. You may have taken time off work for bereavement and attended a funeral that helps the grief process. Your loss was likely recognised, acknowledged, validated and supported in a multitude of ways.
Now think about the losses associated with infertility. One of the major losses is that of the imagined or expected family. I am lucky that I haven’t missed out on the of the entire life stage of parenting, as I have my wonderful stepsons Dean and Jake. They are testament that you don’t have to be blood to have a maternal bond. Whilst I have missed out on pregnancy and passing on my genetic legacy, I have passed on family and holiday traditions and no pressure boys hope that I get to be a grandparent one day. With infertility, the loss comes from an absence of something that has never been rather than the absence of something that used to be.
There are still times, I feel sad and I’ve learnt to allow myself to feel sad. It’s ok. I do worry about my place in history and whether I’ll be remembered. No one has to remember me as I’m not their mum or inventor or person of note. Not sure supplying the world with great coffee suffices?? So to those who have said over the years “oh it’s ok for you” sometimes it’s far from ok.