The Fuckery That is Fertility…
Yesterday, myself and my husband went to a fertility clinic to get “inseminated” and hopefully become pregnant. This has been a long time in the making and although my anxiety and stress about the whole experience is the lowest than it has even been, I was still feeling frustrated. As we passed a pregnant lady walking down the street on our way back home, all I could consider was how come she can get pregnant and I cannot. Now, I understand that is not fair as I do not know this woman. I do not know her story or how hard it was for her to get pregnant. I do not know if this pregnancy is a good thing for her, or whether she is spending her days trying to figure out how she is going to do it all or get the father of the baby to help. Pregnancy and having kids in general are always a controversial topic. The second a couple, usually heterosexual, gets married or has been together the requisite amount of time, the questions of “when are you having kids?” starts being thrown their way. No one considers that maybe that couple cannot have kids. Maybe they do not want kids. Maybe they are going to adopt when they are older. Maybe you shouldn’t ask individuals how often they are having unprotected sex. And yet, even when those questions, typically laced with judgement, frustrate the hell out of me, I still found myself judging that pregnant woman. In my head, and unfairly, her life seemed easier than mine.
Your judgement and assumptions about her were and are not fair. Husband and I have been trying to have children for five years at this point. We had tried the typical form of making babies. We tried the tracking my ovulation for months on end and we tried the lying on the bed with your legs in the air hoping something would take. None of it worked. As more and more people in our lives began to have kids, I continued to be bitter and resentful that their lives seemed so easy and so lucky that they could just have sex and away they go. I found myself crying every time I saw someone having a baby on television, or every May as people thanked their mothers for all they have do for them. I found myself spending every monthly period depressed that not only was I bleeding and crampy and feeling like crap, but I was also yet again not pregnant. This went on for way too long. Conversations with the Ob-Gyn that I was sent to left me feeling alone and frustrated. “Maybe you should try to lose some weight” is what I was told for part of the reason I was not getting pregnant. I weighed 175 pounds. That was not the problem bitch.
The problem, which still has not been fully determined, was both timing and life. After getting to sent to an actual fertility clinic. One that treated me with most respect and dignity, the investigation into our lack of children began in earnest. Husband’s time in the army has left him with a cocktail of medications limiting his sex drive and ability to perform in a scheduled setting. My prolactin hormones were found to be high leading to irregular ovulation and ongoing breast cysts. Timing is everything when it comes to fertility, and we could just not line up the time. As this information was being shared with me, I continued to be bitter towards those women whose one-night stands ended up in a baby. I became angry to those people who said, “it will happen if it’s meant to be” or “just keep trying.” Really? You don’t think we are already doing that! I became an irritated and gloomy woman and Husband looked at me one day crying on the couch and stated “we need to stop.”
So, stop is what we did. I stopped tracking my ovulation. I stopped reading articles on ways to improve fertility. I deleted my social media and stopped looking at everyone posting pictures of their new babies and their children’s exciting lives. I just stopped and breathed for a minute. I got into counselling again and talked about the anger I was fostering. And then I discovered, it wasn’t really about babies at all. Husband and I had been struggling in our lives for years at this point with his ongoing PTSD, addiction recovery and fighting with Veteran’s Affairs. I had been struggling with my ongoing depression and residual trauma from being a caregiver for the last ten years. It was about control. It was another part of our life that was challenging and hard and I was pissed. It felt unfair. It felt like life was constantly throwing things our way that others did not seem to have to deal with. And really, it was.
So, by taking that break, breathing and allowing my self the chance to be okay with being bitter for a little while, things changed. Husband and I talked. We talked about what it would mean if we did not have children. Could we be okay with our life as it is now? Do we want to bring children into the world, that at this moment is filled with a global pandemic? Do we want to travel, do what we want and decide to adopt when we are older or wiser? We have faced numerous obstacles together by this point, can we face this too? These questions were unanswerable, but what they did do, is give us the space to consider other options. To look at our life, and our happiness and consider it may be different than we anticipated. Pregnancy and children may not be an event in our lives and would that really be okay?
I do not know. It may or may not be okay as is usual in every large life decision. But it is okay not to know. That was the takeaway from all of this. IT IS OKAY THAT I DO NOT KNOW. I do not know whether we will get pregnant from the steps we took yesterday. I do not know whether I will be a good mother, or whether I will just continue to be a great aunt. I do not know where life will lead and as much as I will continue to struggle with my need for control, I am willing to admit that I am at the point where either way things will be okay.
Now, in the fuckery that is fertility, I also know that going for that blood test to see if I am pregnant will be an anxiety provoking day. I know that the outcome will both make me sad or anxious and that I have no control over any of it. I know that if I start bleeding in the next few weeks, I will be disappointed and sad it didn’t work. Yet, I also know that my only option at this point is to be excited. Excited that we are at least taking steps to try and conceive a child, even if it must be done with the help of doctors. All we can do right now is have some hope. Hope that life will throw us things that are meant to be and that finding out whether we were successful on my late grandmother’s birthday is a positive sign. A sign that just maybe, for once, the universe is saying that Husband and I deserve a break. A break that may end up with a new baby!
“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. “– Christopher Reeve