Infertile. How I felt during those six and a half years of trying to become pregnant was infertile.
We've reclaimed the word fertility and I love that- taking back what's rightfully ours. Turning back to seeing ourselves as powerful, strong and vibrant is definitely the right idea, especially when we're feeling broken and damaged.
What do we see when we look into the mirror?
I saw myself as infertile much of those six and a half years. Less than. Incapable.
Luckily for my emotional health, I also saw myself as strong. As capable. As resilient.I looked into the mirror and saw a warrior, willing to go into battle for the family I wanted.
My shoulders were strong, my heart was resolute, my spirit was intact.
Overcoming Infertility Failures
My character was built on my infertility. I learned what I could do. And I believed my friends who said that they would be unable to go through and do what I was continuing to do. A lot of them were right, they couldn't have done the early morning monitoring, the endless blood draws, the injectable medications (gonadotropins), the surgeries, the egg retrievals, the side effects, the embryos not continuing to divide, the questions, the delayed and cancelled vacations, the embryo transfers, other people's baby showers, the disappointing "no" month after month.
Not everyone can do this. In Massachusetts, where there is the oldest and best state infertility mandate covering IVF, there is only a slightly higher rate of people seeking fertility treatment. When money is taken out of the equation, people are not seeking treatment or staying in treatment in any significant way more than they are when the financial pressures are high.
Because not everyone can do this. Infertility and fertility treatment is hard, beyond hard. It's exhausting and it's discouraging. We fail and fail and fail until we no longer believe we can succeed.
And still you're here.
Infertility is Hard, But You Are a Warrior
I was a warrior to stay in treatment for six and a half years. My character, my sense of self was partly built out of the realization that I had the staying power to keep going towards what I knew was my life's goal.
While infertility was never what any of us would have chosen, we are also lucky to have each other. We are part of a club that we didn't want to be part of- yes, and we also have each other. To listen, to ask questions, to laugh, to cry. Ladies Night In- Thursday night in Norwalk- it's where our tribe meets.
We fail until we succeed in fertility treatment. That is one of the biggest truths there is out there and sometimes it feels hidden. The failures, as they add up, trick us into believing that they are the only game in town, that success is a prize that will never be ours.
We know better. We know we are building our families. No matter how long it takes. No matter how many disappointments we are faced with enduring.
We are fertility warriors. We're going to kick infertility's ass.
We will have our families.