I feel like infertility is a unique situation in a lot of ways. Medically there are no other procedures, that I know of, where you can spend so much money and end up with nothing. It’s something that a lot of people can’t relate to, and it’s hard to talk about. Even when you have a close network of family or friends that know, it doesn’t protect you from the vast majority, or make it any easier to tell them about it. But so far the thing that I’m find the hardest, is the time.
I was speaking to my aunt a while ago, and she was saying that we were lucky to have gotten to this stage so quickly. We were investigated a year after beginning to try and had answers a year and a half after starting this journey to try and conceive. I can understand why she feels this way. She and my uncle experienced unexplained fertility when they were trying to conceive their first child, and were told repeatedly to just keep trying and not worry about it because they were so young. It took them four years to conceive my cousin. They then had two more children naturally.
At the same time, this was 25 years ago, and I think our understanding of infertility has come a long way since then. Most people are told they should see their GP after 1 year of trying, and I think even younger people are more willing to insist than be told just to keep trying.
But the thing that I find hardest about this, is that for me, it’s not just the time we’ve been trying. I started trying to convince my husband that we should try for children approximately two years before we officially started trying. I was worried. I knew I had PCOS (Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome) and that it could make things harder for us. I also knew because of my aunty that even healthy people with no obvious problems could have trouble conceiving. I didn’t want to wait until we were ready and then not be able to conceive. Getting pregnant early felt like much less of a risk to me.
Unfortunately, he didn’t agree. He had seen how easily his parents had conceived and couldn’t really comprehend it not happening the same. It’s almost ironic that he has a low sperm count and 3% morphology and that’s why we need to go straight to IVF. I don’t blame him for worrying about what he saw as the more likely situation. Really I’m lucky to have such a responsible man who wants to do what’s best for us. Most of the time when I think of all this I just wish I had pushed harder, that I had trusted my instincts more and at least got us tested. Mostly I’m disappointed in myself.
Because it’s not just the time trying to conceive that wears me down now. It’s all that lost time when I wanted to but wasn’t. Even then I felt the cold heartbreaking disappointment when my period came, because it was a reminder that we weren’t even trying for what I already wanted so badly.
I think infertility is so unique because it is grief. It’s the type of grief that people can’t really understand because each month you’re not mourning something that actually existed. You’re mourning something that hasn’t happened. You feel the loss of your hopes and dreams, you wonder if you’ll ever get to experience a pregnancy, a child, a family. You silently curse the people that got pregnant easily, or naturally, because it’s so unfair that you have to experience this. And for me, I think of all this time that we wasted worrying about contraception, all this time not knowing, all this time I wish we had been preparing instead of bothering with all the things that don’t even matter to me now.
I’m sure that when we finally get there, and we have our baby, none of this will matter anymore. But right now, that baby feels so far away, so impossible to reach…
all I have is time. Wearing me down.