My heart grieves so deeply for couples plagued by infertility for whatever reason. I am acquainted with way too many people who have tried for years on end only to end up with disappointment after disappointment. Yes, some of these stories ultimately end in IVF success or beautiful adoptions. But some are still ongoing with no end in sight. If this is you, please know how fervently I pray for you and your heart. I can’t image this pain…
Except, I can. Kind of. This is weird for me to say. I never wanted to be someone who “struggled with infertility.” I told my husband that I would never be one of those women. First sign of difficulties, and we were walking right into an adoption agency. I just never wanted to go through that, and the reason why might not be what you expect.
I struggled with an eating disorder for several years in my late teen years and into early 20s. I could never bring myself to accept the fact that I was doing all the “right things”—dieting, exercising, obsessing—and my body just wouldn’t respond like I thought it should. I didn’t shed pounds as quickly as I wanted, or I had to be extra careful or work extra hard when others did not. I felt like my body had failed me, and I struggled for years to reconcile that perceived betrayal.
Fast forward about 10 years. My husband and I purposely waited about 6 years after we got married to have children. And sadly, it didn’t happen right away. We tried for about 9 months with no success. I read all the advice, used all the tracking apps, and did what I thought was all the things. And here my body was, once again, betraying me. Not working like it’s supposed to.
I finally got in to see my OB/GYN who provided some fertility counseling and training on ovulation tracking using some natural methods. 7 or 8 months later, and still not pregnant. Betrayal. I was analyzing my cervical mucus (so gross!) like a mad scientist and taking my temperature with such accuracy. Still nothing. It was maddening! This only continued to fuel the hate I had for my body. And this time, not for the way it looked, but for the way it worked (or in this case, didn’t work). I again couldn’t come to a place of acceptance of the body that I live in. I continued to rally against the injustice of it all and to stay stuck in that self-pity.
My doctor then ran some tests and discovered that I have PCOS. Medication was prescribed, and literally one month later, I got pregnant! We were elated that this 18 month journey had come to an end! I started to think more positively about my body. “Hey, we just had to figure out how my body worked. And once we did, things went like clockwork! It’s ok body. I love you again!” We were blessed with a healthy baby boy, and we continued to make plans to further grow our family.
In late 2019, we wanted to start trying for a second baby, and I began to take my magic medicine again fully expecting to get pregnant lickety split. Well, here we are, 9 months in again and still nothing. Those old thoughts are creeping back in. Why me? Why this? I thought these pills were the ticket! I’m so sad about it all, but I hesitate to even claim the title “struggles with infertility” because I don’t want to denigrate anyone else who is fighting a much harder battle. (But you know what they say about comparison.) But more than anything, I just don’t want to admit out loud that my body is still betraying me.
So here I sit, with an appointment on the calendar to go back to my doctor and see if we can’t figure this out…again. (I actually deliberately put off making my annual Well Woman exam because I wanted the next appointment I make to be to confirm a pregnancy. Oh, how life has a funny way of humbling you in these situations.)
I am finally standing up to say, “I struggle with infertility.” And I’m currently struggling. It’s time I become a strong advocate for my life and my health and do what I have to do to be my best and healthiest self. And hey, admitting it is the first step to recovery, right?