Infertility: I am one in six
I have debated many times whether to share this story. It is not something commonly talked about and yet one in six women/couples will be faced with this reality. Like depression (or other mental illnesses) there is shame and isolation. You feel no one will understand. You hide behind a smile, because what else can you do.
I process my feeling internally, and journaling has always been a source of reflection for me. My notes app is filled with daily thoughts. What follows are personal reflections of the last few months.
October 30, 2022
I waited as long as I could this morning before doing a pregnancy test. I set the timer and walked away. I walked back into the bathroom, examined the stick and put it in the garbage.
I went downstairs and fell asleep on the couch. I didn’t tell Kevin.
I have one more refill at the pharmacy, if we continue this would be our sixth round. I do not have the energy to do anymore.
After breakfast I decided to clean the spare room. Then I had another nap. Sleep has always been a coping method for me, a way to avoid feeling.
I woke up and started putting together the bike trainer I had bought a couple of weeks ago. Kevin came upstairs to help me and said “I’m sorry, baby.” I replied, “I don’t want to try anymore.” We sat on the floor and cried. And cried. And cried some more, knowing our dreams of having a baby are over after 10 months of trying, including five failed IUIs.
We decided a long time ago we would not do IVF or adoption. Those that do have much more strength than me.
I can finally grieve.
November 25, 2022
Psalm 113:9 has provided much comfort over the years. In a dark time in my life a women at the church I used to attend reminded me of the many children I have.
When I got my tattoo on my arm years later, it was the serve as a daily reminder that I have been blessed. At the time I don’t know if I truly believed I was barren. I was single and thought a family would be possible if/when I met someone (Kevin and I started dating a few months later). I’ve been told so many times I look young that I took my reproductive health for granted.
Although we may not have a family of our own. We have a full and happy life.
January 12, 2023
I’m in the anger stage of grief. I have Kevin and my therapist for support, but I feel so alone. Isolated and unsure how to express myself, I am a full of rage.
February 15, 2023
I think I have reached the acceptance stage. That, or I’m just apathetic.
March 15, 2023
... I'm constantly behind on podcasts and while listening to an episode of A Slight Change of Plans, called "Lessons From a Grief Therapist", it struck me that I may never really truly "get over this." You just learn to live with the love lost and the life you thought you would have. It makes me incredibly sad.
I can't truly tell you how I am doing. Sadness comes and goes in waves. It hits me when I least expect. But also in expected ways - when I hear of other couples who happily announce their pregnancies or the birth of their child or when someone I haven't seen in months, even years asks if I have kids. I'm hit with a wave of emotion in those moments and choose my words carefully, "No I do not have kids."
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I am a daughter, sister, auntie, wife and friend.