My son took us a year to conceive. And it was hard, there were a lot of ups and downs but out of the blue we naturally conceived. So when he was two we thought we would ‘try’ for number 2 and I never imagined that two and a half years later we would still be trying.
The difference with SI is that you are constantly surrounded by reminders. Unless you want your child to be a social outcast, then you go to the kids parties, the baby showers, the play dates – and there is always someone there expecting or with a new baby, always! On the school run there are pregnant mums and babies everywhere. And now because you have a child, all your friends have children; so it is extremely difficult when one announces a pregnancy – I found myself pulling away from them because it was just too difficult but ended up feeling worse out of guilt for not being able to be happy for them. It’s torture! But the worst is your own mental torture, I have moments when I look at my son and feel guilty that I have not given him a sibling or I look at my husband and feel like I’m failing him. I even have a habit of looking in parked cars to see how many car seats there are – why I do that to myself I don’t know because it always upsets me if there are 2 or more – because I only have one!
Dealing with other people is hard, as you are constantly asked about the next one – for some strange reason people don’t think this is or could be an insensitive question. I try to be honest and just say, we are trying and are hopeful. I have a friend who is great, she expresses the outrage that I can’t reach when another month goes by and another test result comes back fine – so finding just one person who gets it even if they are not in your shoes is a godsend. I have found that most people just do not know what to say and so say things like it will happen if you just stop thinking about it – it’s unhelpful. My mum is the worst because she is the most optimistic (she is great really) but sometimes optimism isn’t what I need – I need realism, and I need her and everyone around me to be open to the possibility that it might not happen because this is completely out of my control. It’s not like buying that pair of shoes you know you can’t afford – you can do everything right, eat right, sleep right, take vitamins, exercise, have all the tests, analyse every part of your sex life and still here you are with no baby – no control!
We are dealing with unexplained secondary infertility – no reason, nothing! I don’t know if it is worse than having a diagnosis but if there was a reason there would be purpose to rectify it. ‘It’s because of this… so we are going to do that’. It made me feel angry that I went through all those invasive tests for nothing but at the same time having to find the positive that hopefully it means it’s just a matter of time and timing for us. I think what really doesn’t help is there is so much focus on the medical and the science, the biology of it all and very little emotional support. Because there are so many feelings and then you throw in fertility drugs and there are even more emotions and feelings. Therapy has been extremely helpful to me and so has training to be a therapist; it has given me an understanding of my feelings mainly of grief and loss (of hopes, dreams, what could or could not be). It has made me realise that everything I feel is natural: the anger, the sadness, the hopelessness, even the isolation.
It’s an emotional rollercoaster, I try to be positive but that’s a monthly struggle too. But after all of it, I remain mostly hopeful.
If you would like to share your Real Story simply complete the boxes and submit your story below. Thank you in advance for supporting others by sharing your story.