Anyone who follows my blog knows, that I think of myself as living on the edge of the infertile community. This is because the majority of people experiencing infertility have problems getting pregnant, but this is not our situation. We are really freaking good at getting pregnant and really freaking bad at staying pregnant. So, while I don’t really fit it, I still see the same RE doctors; I still am learning to speak the same language (or at least parts of it); and, I’m ever so grateful that so many people in the infertility community are accepting me even with these differences.
So, I thought I’d take some inspiration from you all, and share s summary of what you have all taught me since I started blogging:
- The infertility community loves acronyms! AF, IF, TTC, TWW, TTCAL, RPL, etc. Some bloggers have put together a list of acronyms, and for this I am grateful!
- Unsolicited advice to an infertile couple can be hurtful, regardless of how well intentioned. For example, do not tell infertile couples to adopt. Some couples, most actually, have a desire for a biological child. Furthermore, adoption is scary, and expensive.
- Many of us are scared to share our stories in our non-blogging lives, and almost all of us wish our real life support systems were better equipped to be more understanding of our unbelievably difficult situations. This is a bit of a catch 22, because most people don’t experience infertility, we don’t share our stories and therefore most people have no idea how to be supportive. (If you want to read more, I’ve written a few posts on that here and here).
- Infertility is incredibly isolating experience due to modern society emphasizing having children, at all costs. Everyone wants to know when you are having kids, how many kids, etc. But no-one is ready to handle the truth of we are trying, but it’s not working. In my experience, if I want to stop a conversation and see people squirm awkwardly, I just need to be honest about our recurrent miscarriages when you are asked.
- Anyone going through this greatly values the support of the infertility blogging community. We love the advice and the comments that others share based on there experience. We feel a sense of connectedness and understanding that we just don’t get from the fortunate fertile people.
- IUIs and IVF is unbelievably painful and expensive. I take the fact that couples are willing to go through these treatments as a testament to the desperate desire for children.
- There are potential medical options to having children – IUIs, IVF, IVF with genetic testing, donor sperm, donor egg, surrogacy, etc. There are many options out there, each couple chooses what is best for them given their specific circumstance and just because one option is best for one couple, it may not be best for another.
- People chose to live childfree. As someone seriously considering this option, I can assure you it is not an easy decision. For the bloggers who have made this decision, from what I can tell, it is the best of the worst options, and they must learn to live a very different life then what they imagined.
- Others do not have to agree with the decisions of an infertile couple, you just need to support them and let them know you love them.
- No-one loves scheduled procreation sex. We do what we have to do, but we pine for the days of random sex based purely out of desire.
- Our lives revolve around our infertility and our desire for children. Our schedules are literally dictated by medical appointments (RE appointments, blood work, exploratory procedures, ultrasounds, etc.). Our long term life plans all revolve around a simple thought of what if we’re pregnant? We avoid long term plans – like buying expensive last minute flights to friend’s weddings rather than booking months in advance like everyone else, because what if we are pregnant then we definitely don’t want to be travelling even if it is to a wonderful exotic place like Italy or Peru.
- Miscarriage is one of the hardest things anyone will ever experience. I can only imagine that after years of trying unsuccessfully to end up having a pregnancy end in miscarriage would be extra painful.
- Many of us bought the family house to fill with our future kids, and so many of us also have “the room.” The baby room, without a baby. Some are debating the house purchase, and are unsure of what to do because a house with space for children isn’t needed if there are never children. Some have bought important baby things for that room and for that elusive baby. Some have turned it into a storage room. Some of us shut the door and do our best to ignore its existence. Some re-paint the room in an attempt to re-purpose it. Some of eventually sell the house with the rooms and move on. The room is a literal place that illustrates what we do not have and may never have. The room sucks!
- We all have the utmost appreciation for our medical teams. Each women is different, but that may include family doctors, RE, psychologists/therapists, grief counselors, naturopathic doctors, acupuncture, etc. Most have us have become strong advocates for our own health, often questioning our doctors and possibly driving them slightly crazy. And, even though many of us have had some sort of negative experience within our medical system, for the most part, we are forever grateful for all the support we receive from our fertility treatment.
- The cost of fertility treatments can be crippling. This varies from couple to couple and may be exaggerated due to medical systems in different locations, but very few are able to undergo months of testing and months of medicated cycles, IUIs and IVF without having some sort of financial consequence.
- Every single infertile women, regardless of what they are experiencing, absolutely hate being told just relax!! This is the absolute worse advice anyone can ever give an infertile couple for 2 main reason. First, if it were that easy, we wouldn’t be in this predicament. Second, please provide constructive advice on “how to relax” if you are going to give such ridiculous advice.
- Regardless of our individual journey, we all have scars from this experience. But, we also all try to hold on to hope. Whether its hope for a future child, hope for this cycle to work, or even hope for a miscarriage to end quickly, we all hope.
I could keep going on this list, but for today I’ll end it with the thoughts of hope that every single infertility blogger, myself included, holds onto. Hope seems to drive us and helps us continue through our personal infertility struggles.
If you like this post, please feel free to share it and please return to myperfectbreakdown.com to follow my journey.
Today, I am doubting my decision not to be working. And so, I sit here questioning myself.
I know what we want (healthy pregnancy), and I know why we’ve made the decision for me to stop working in order to promote a healthy pregnancy by removing myself form a very unhealthy, high stress, long hour job).
But yet, doubt exists. Doubt is ever present. Doubt it at the forefront of my thoughts.
I stopped working on March 3, when we found out we’d be going through another miscarriage. For the first time in my life, I had to say “I cannot do it” and I will be unable to work (narcotic pain medication actually necessitated that I make this decision). The miscarriage was considered completed on 29 days later, and I actually tried resigning by my company refused to accept it and instead I went onto short term disability. And, once that was rejected, I formally resigned in late May. (Feel free to read more on my decision to leave work here and here). The decision was based on medical advice to take time to recover both physically and emotionally from 4 miscarriage. But, in my mind, I saw it purely as a means to an ends:
Leave work = reduce stress = get pregnant = healthy pregnancy (hopefully).
So, here I am now, nearly 4 months since I stopped working and just over a month into my self-imposed unemployment, with nothing other then a biochemical pregnancy to show for it.
My husband continues to support this decision, but I’m losing faith.
I’m losing faith in the no-work decision for a number of reason:
- This week we bought ourselves a fun summer project and are actually driving nearly 1000km to pick it up this weekend (more on that later, I’m sure). The very next day, we discovered a leak in one of our showers, so we now have to do a major bathroom renovation. My husband’s car needs some work done on it. And my Subaru does as well. So, while none of these things are incredibly expensive on their own, all the sudden we are aware of the costs adding up. When I was working, none of this would have mattered. We wouldn’t have thought too much about it. And while we know we can make it all work, I really miss not having to think about our income and what we are buying or doing. This might sound really pretentious, but honestly, we’ve worked hard to get where we are and me not working has a big impact on our income and our lifestyle. I want it back.
- I still have no word from the government regarding my illness related EI claim. So, this amplifies the money worry. And, my guilt about not contributing to our income.
- I did not win that project with my mentor. I’m not really upset about it, other than to say, I would have enjoyed having something relatively low-stress to work on part-time.
- We are not pregnant! I know my doctors wanted time for physical and emotional recovery, but I never saw it that way. I saw this as being all about getting pregnant one more time without stress. In my mind, its one thing to be not working to help with a pregnancy, but it’s now been 3 months and we aren’t pregnant. The biochemical pregnancy was just that, so if I count that, then it means not working hasn’t helped sustain a pregnancy. I know, anyone struggling with trying to get pregnant likely won’t understand this, but we have never waited more than 4 months to get pregnant. Ultimately, I have no desire to just be sitting at home without a purpose. And without a pregnancy, it feels like there isn’t a purpose.
- I need more in my daily life then waking up, walking the dog, writing and reading blog posts, mowing the lawn, making meals, doing laundry, etc. I never intended to be a stay-at-home mom, and somehow now I find myself being a stay-at-home wife doing the household chores. This is not my idea of fun.
- I’m not good with boredom, and here I am getting bored. Our summer project may fix that slightly, but it won’t solve it long term.
So, here I am, contemplating what I should do.
I know, I absolutely know, that I need to stay out of work to avoid stress because in 20 years if we don’t end up with biological child, I need to know we tried everything. This is our last straw. We need this, and this is just one of those things that I, as the women, have to do for the team. So, knowing this, I have my answer. But….
But, somehow, even so, this just doesn’t feel like enough for me right now. I want it all! I want a healthy pregnancy and a baby; I want my professional income; I want my stress free life; I want my career back. I want it all!
Ultimately, I actually think, more then anything my struggle right now, is that I want to feel like I’m succeeding. I’m used to being successful, I’m used to making an impact, and I’m used to doing great things. And right now, I don’t feel successful and I am definitely not doing great things! It’s not that I feel like a failure either (I actually don’t blame myself for our lost babies at all). And now that for 2 years the focus of our lives has been on each miscarriage and surviving each loss, I just feel average at best. And I’ve never been average, nor do I want to be just average. Nothing in the last 2 years has even acknowledged my personal successes like wining new clients at work and therefore securing new work; achieving another professional certificate that took 4 years to get at an out-of province university; being asked to guest lecture at a university undergraduate course; etc. Rather our life has focused solely on loss, tragedy and the continued struggle. And, by not working, I feel even further away from my career successes because well, without work, there can be no work successes! I thrive on being successful, so I think this is actually the crux of the doubt I’m feeling right now.
So, knowing that we are trying one more time, how do I balance my desire to feel like I’m contributing and succeeding with not being involved in my profession? How do I stop associating my personal success with my career after defining myself that way for years? How do I find success in the mundane, daily life of being at home?
If you like this post, please feel free to share it and please return to myperfectbreakdown.com to follow my journey.