I’ve been having a tough time.
2.5 years ago, Phil and I made the exciting decision to start a family. We’d moved back to New Zealand, bought a house and a dog, and were ready to begin the rest of our lives. I wasn’t always sure I wanted kids but I knew I did when I married Phil.
I was diagnosed with PCOS back in 2008 so we expected that it may take a while for us to conceive. What I didn’t expect was an emotional shit storm of depression, self-loathing and complete helplessness that would plague us for – well, I’ll let you know when it stops.
Infertility is not something we talk about much in New Zealand, and we should. There is a perception that modern science has virtually solved all infertility problems and if you’re struggling, you can just take an IVF magic pill and boom, Insta-baby. But it’s not like that.
The first few months are exciting. You feel kind of naughty being unprotected after years of being warned of the perils of unplanned parenthood. You start thinking about what you’ll do when the baby arrives. Maybe you even start a business that will give you greater flexibility when you’re a parent.
When you start approaching 12 months, you realize that the chances of things happening naturally are pretty slim, and it’s time to visit a doctor. Your options here in New Zealand vary greatly based on your wealth, age and medical situation. But regardless of what option you’re presented, you’re going to get pumped full of drugs.
We’ve passed the 2 year mark now and are no closer to having a family. I’ve had uncomfortable internal examinations, many blood tests and enough pills to fill an icecream container. I’ve had nausea, cramps, gastro problems, headaches, fatigue – in fact, I’ve had every single pregnancy symptom out there. Sans pregnancy.
This physical stuff sucks but it’s really a drop in the pond compared to the mental strain that TTC (that’s “Trying to Conceive”) puts on a person. Dosed up to the nines, you’re expected to go about your daily life earning a living, socializing with friends, cleaning and feeding yourself, attending other peoples baby celebrations, and listening to bad fertility advice. All the while thinking “what if it doesn’t happen?”. “Can I actually ever feel like I’m living a complete life”. “Will I ever actually be truly happy?”.
Now I know this all sounds a little melodramatic and emotional – but that’s what this does. Well that is what this has done to me. The medication doesn’t help – I worry that it’s “just my hormones” making me feel this way, and start to lose sight of what “feeling normal” actually is.
Things that are not working:
– Putting significance on certain dates. I had somewhat of a breakdown before I spoke at WDCNZ this year. Owen approached me well in advance and asked if I wanted to speak. I nervously agreed and began to fantasize what it would be like if I was pregnant and presenting on stage – particularly since it would be the biggest audience I have ever been in front of. I don’t know why I put so much significance on it but when the event rolled around and I wasn’t pregnant, I fell to pieces.
– Beating myself up about “doing all the right things”. When we started the journey I stopped drinking beer. I exercised more. I took folic acid every day. As each month passed, I told myself that while I knew it wasn’t my fault, surely I could be doing more. Beating myself up has not been constructive.
Things that are working for me:
– We’re heading on holiday in 3 weeks and I’m counting down every second. I’ve needed something to look forward to in my calendar and I honestly don’t know how I would have got through the last couple of months without knowing it’s there.
– I have very supportive friends and family and I am very grateful to them. I’ve found that being open and honest about my situation is much more therapeutic than keeping everything bottled up inside.
– I’ve joined a hidden support group on Facebook full of Kiwi women that are going through the same thing as I am.
Writing this post has been therapeutic and I hope it helps people understand where I’m at. If you know me, or you know someone going through some hell, it’s ok to let them know you care. It’s ok to agree that it sucks and it’s ok to have no words.
Thanks for reading x