Hoping To Make A Difference
I was recently asked to participate in a Canadian study on mental health during and after infertility treatments.
I was intrigued by the study. But, honestly, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to participate.
- I never underwent IVF treatment. Heck, I never even had an IUI.
- I feel like a bit of an impostor in the infertility world, because we are fertile. Getting pregnant is the part of pregnancy that we are good at. It’s staying pregnant that we suck at.
- I’ve started to put that part of my life behind me, do I really want to re-hash it? Do I really want to bring up all those horrific memories? Do I really want to relive our doctor appointments that can still bring anger rushing through my veins, our trip to an abortion clinic, etc.?
- We never ended up with a successful pregnancy. So in the perspective of many, we never beat infertility.
But, after lots of thought and research, I decided to participate. In my humble opinion the university is one of the top in our country (one of my post-secondary degrees is from the same institution) and the principal investigator has an incredibly impressive CV. I have now completed the initial survey and even decided to volunteer for a one-on-one interview.
I decided to participate for one simple reason:
I have a formal opportunity to add my voice to a collective of individuals who have experienced infertility and the potential life long mental health consequences. Maybe together we can advocate for higher quality complete health care.
Dredging up my struggles and my emotional response to all of it, is worth it if my voice will help encourage change.
I decided that in order for me to make a difference in the infertility struggle, I have to add my voice whenever I can. And, this study is a perfect opportunity to add my voice and hopefully make a difference.
I hope that my voice will make it clear that:
- Mental health and infertility struggles are intimately linked and go hand in hand. I cannot speak about the mental health struggle of IVF, but I can speak to mental health struggle of constant medical procedures, unknown diagnosis, tww struggles, and negative pregnancy tests, miscarriage/loss.
- Some of us will never be successful at making a living baby and our voices matter! Our experiences of constant pressure to keep trying at all costs are important!
- I speculate that constant loss is detrimental to anyone’s mental health. I know it was for me and I’m still battling the repercussions of it. Simply, constantly experiencing death of babies and death of hopes and dreams, for years upon years, is bound to cause both short and long term problems.
- My local clinic provided me with such poor medical care at times that I had to seek out my own mental health counsellor. I sought our my counsellor not just to deal with mental health consequences directly from RPL but also to deal with the damage the actual clinic was doing to my mental health. Heck, in one appointment with my counsellor we discovered that just a phone call from my clinic resulted in my inability to breath normally. This type of reaction to the stress your own fertility causes simply isn’t okay and should never be the case for any women / man / couple struggling with infertility. Basic mental health care should be encouraged and provided at every single appointment at a fertility clinic.
- Infertility and loss impact everyone differently and we all need to be treated as individuals in our care.
And so, I’ll participate. And I hope that this experience isn’t damaging to me. I hope the questions are decent and the conversations occur in a supportive and compassionate environment. And more then anything I hope that together the participants voices make a difference for future women experience infertility, miscarriage and loss.
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