Infertility ruins that perfect picture in our head of pregnancyOct 19, 2020
What happens when your future becomes uncertain? When that picture you had in your head is blown apart? Your lifelong dream of becoming a mum, feels like it's slipping out from underneath your feet? And panic sets in.
All my life, even from a young age, I wanted to have children of my own. It was never a question of if, it was always when.
When I was in my 20’s I went and saw a psychic. She told me that I would have 2 children from 3 pregnancies. That thought gave me comfort and that image stuck with me for over a decade. I could see it, and feel it. Just like you, I had this perfect picture in my head of how things would turn out.
It didn’t even cross my mind that things may not turn out that way. You see, I did all the right things growing up. I went to university, got a good job, worked my way up the corporate ladder, I was a good daughter, a good friend…...the lot.
AND I was a hard worker. I was raised by a single mum of 3, and saw how hard she worked to keep her head above water. She never sat down or took a holiday, and she could do anything a man could do. It was like she was superwoman.
Combine my upbringing with my personality and I fit squarely into the type A personality bucket - I thrive on achievement, am constantly on the go, I literally have a fight with my mind each time I’m not being productive, I like being in control because - well usually other people can’t live up to my perfect standards. Oh, and I’m stubborn - nightmare, right?!
When I turned 30, I felt something. It was my biological clock starting to tick.
I was single at the time and was ready to settle down and share my life with someone.
So I took matters into my own hands and did what all my friends were doing - I joined the online dating world. I filtered the crap out of my “applicants” and my husband was successful. He ticked all the right boxes.
We were married and bought our dream house with the white picket fence.
I worked hard to achieve everything I had ever wanted - and I prided myself on that fact. It wasn’t luck that got me to where I was. In fact, I don’t believe in luck.
Up until now, I was living the perfect life.
So when infertility came along, it kicked me on my ass. Everything in my personality told me to just work harder, just keep pushing, take on more, handle it myself. And up until that stage in my life I had achieved everything I wanted by just increasing the effort. Whether it was a promotion at work, a better grade at school, or losing weight. If you just tried harder, you got what you wanted.
Which completely contradicted the things I was reading and being told to do by well-meaning friends and family, and google - relax, take a holiday, stress less, take a step back.
And that was why infertility sucks so much. It's like we're being told that this is our fault. That in order to be a mum, we have to change everything about our personality.
Why should we have to change, when others don’t? We're good people!
I’ve written a book about my fertility struggles called the Injustice of Infertility. A true story about my 7 year struggle with infertility. I am now a mum of 2 sweet children, however they didn’t come into my life the way I had pictured.
In fact, I NEVER would have guessed in a million years, that this would be our story. I still can’t believe that at the age of 44, I have been able to write a whole book - fill 10 chapters and hundreds of pages with our fertility journey.
I’ll give you the condensed version -
My husband and I started trying for a baby on our honeymoon.
After 6 months of negative pregnancy tests, we sought help from the professionals. After our first fertility specialist gave up on us, we floated and tried all the natural remedies - from acupuncture to homeopaths to different diets.
Meanwhile we watched our friends falling pregnant and growing their families before us and struggled to be happy for them. We questioned why others were able to have what we longed for and became consumed with the injustice of it all.
We questioned everything. Were we being punished - perhaps we had done something to deserve this, perhaps we wouldn’t be good parents? After another 6 months of negative pregnancy tests, we tried modern medicine again.
I was poked and prodded and given high doses of hormones including Viagra pessaries, which resulted in the painful and frustrating diagnosis of unexplained infertility.
We were told that surrogacy was our only option and when my sister in law volunteered to have a baby for us we thought our struggles were over. For the next 2 years we dragged our family through IVF cycle after IVF cycle.
9 in total. We thought we were at the end when we finally fell pregnant, only to suffer a miscarriage shortly after.
But we kept getting up and pushing forward. And then it happened. Luca, our little miracle surrogacy rainbow baby was born - 5 years after we’d started on our fertility rollercoaster.
2 weeks later, I fell pregnant naturally. While definitely welcome news, it was proof that the fertility gods were truly fucking with us. Especially when we had a miscarriage 9 weeks later.
Grieving the loss of a baby, while nursing a newborn we had fought so hard to get was absolutely devastating. But 6 months later we fell pregnant again and 9 months later Sophie was born.
7 years. 2 babies. Heartbreak, hope and strength.
One of the things that inspired me to write this book was people's reactions to our story. They were visibly moved to tears and had goosebumps - not out of sadness, but in astonishment and awe of the lengths we had gone to, and the result that had come from it.
But it wasn’t until we told our little boy how he was conceived, that it unlocked the path for me writing my book. I hadn’t realised that I was still embarrassed by the lengths that we had gone to, to become parents.
There was still a lot of self doubt around whether we truly deserved this - if we did, surely we wouldn’t have had to struggle so much. Did the fact that we had to push so hard, mean that it wasn’t really meant to be?
It didn’t matter whether our friends thought our story was amazing or not. I had one little person I was worried about. Would he accept his story? Would he be ok with it?
Would he love me just the same, knowing that he hadn’t grown in my tummy. Would he feel just as loved as his sister who had a somewhat normal story?
I will never forget the day we told Luca that his Aunty Renee had carried him in her tummy……..
We had always intended on telling him, but I had always imagined that it would be when he was older. But at 5 years old he cornered me and asked me about when he was in my tummy. I couldn't avoid it (and I tried!).
So I took a deep breath and explained that my tummy was broken, so he was in his Aunty Renee’s tummy. And then my tummy healed itself, so Sophie was in mine. He thought about it for a moment, shrugged his shoulders and said - OK - and went on chattering about something else.
He was ok with it. And if it didn’t matter to him, then it shouldn’t matter to me either. I was inspired by my own 5 year old.
So here I am - an author. On a path I never imagined.
And that's the thing about that picture in our head. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes.......it works out better and you have an epic story to tell at the end.
p.s. if you don't want to miss out on all the launch action and celebration in the lead up to the release of my book, The Injustice of Infertility, make sure you register HERE.
Would you like to know more about how you can work with me, so you can get back control of your life and start moving forward? My 1:1 coaching program is packed with information, tools and support. Find out how you can get on the wait list now.
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