To help spread awareness of the prevalence of infertility and offer hope to those currently struggling, I interviewed women who overcame the odds and persevered through many challenges to start a family. These are their stories...
A turning point in my infertility journey for me came when I finally became pregnant but lost my baby. When I first found out I was pregnant after many cycles of treatment, I decided to fully embrace it, although I knew there was a possibility of miscarriage. I bought the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy and went online to research swaddles. And for a brief period of time, between the positive pregnancy test and the second ultrasound when things began to look grim, I had my vacation from infertility. Gone was the stabbing jealousy that I felt when I saw other pregnant women – ha! I’m one of you now! I thought to myself. And gone were the self-incrimination, tension, and anger. I felt joy.
What I realized during this hiatus was that infertility is really, really hard. This is obvious to anyone going through it, but it made me realize that this was unlike any other problem I’ve faced.
I’ve been so lucky – I’ve faced very few true tragedies in my life. Most of the so-called tragedies I’ve faced in my life have been solidly First World Problems. Not getting into my first choice college. Being laid off. Failing a critical exam. All of these prior turning points in my life were things that – with varying combinations of time, therapy, and hard work – I could put behind me.
Not infertility. The awful, frightening thing about infertility is that it may never be resolved. No amount of therapy or “positive attitude” can put that fear to rest. Like any other health crisis, the outcome can’t be controlled.
After my miscarriage, I realized I had to change my attitude. I had to be kinder to myself. I tried to do more things that I enjoyed – going to bookstores, talking to friends. I fled – without self-reproach – people and situations and even TV shows that called to mind babies. I left work early when I needed to mope. I stayed at work late when it gave me a sense of purpose.
I also had to play a longer game. I calculated how many more IVF cycles I would be able to afford, and set my mind to completing all of those cycles. Focusing my mind on what I could control (the number of cycles) rather than what I couldn’t (the outcomes) reduced the pain of each failed cycle. I wasn’t a shining example of humanity during that time, but for the first time I realized that just persevering through this long slog was enough. And then it happened. I became - and stayed - pregnant. We are excited to welcome our baby July 31.