If it doesn’t kill you, it can only make you stronger. Good old Nietzsche coming up trumps again although this well known moto can be a very difficult pill to swallow (and we know all about swallowing difficult pills!)
Struggling with fertility has been the single most traumatic life experience for me to date, which I guess in a warped way, I should be thankful for. Thankful that up until 4 years ago, the most angst I had suffered was a job rejection or a broken heart, however painful they were to deal with at the time!
It’s unsurprising then, that the impact of going through 4 years of trying and trying and trying for a baby has changed me as a person in some respects, and has carved an indelible memory on my soul that continues to have both positive and negative implications.
The positive being; a great deal of appreciation for my life as it is, for the loving people around me, for all the support I have received and continue to receive month after month and year after year and for a greater sense of perspective. By overcoming the things I’ve faced during my fertility journey, I’ve learnt what reallymatters and what really doesn’t and that’s made it easier not to sweat the small stuff and appreciate the little things instead.
On the other side of the coin, I’m not sure I’ve necessarily come to terms emotionally with what I’ve suffered and how raw it still is. Trying for babies, losing babies, going through treatment are all incredibly emotionally draining events that will stay with you for life and change the way you see the world and how you adapt to different situations.
For me, this became apparent this week when due to pregnancy complications I had to give up any dreams of a natural non intervention birth and go back to the endless hospital appointments, scans, threats of more drugs that now loom over me and that feel oh so familiar.
Needless to say I had a bit of a breakdown in the hospital. Well perhaps not a bit; an epic breakdown! The poor doctors didn’t have a clue what was going on until I saw them trawling frantically through my notes to try and find something that might have triggered such a crisis.
“Oh, ok” said the consultant when she fell upon my reems of history notes. “You really thought it was all over didn’t you”. And that’s exactly it. I thought we’d finished with the needles, the stressful appointments, the panicky unknowns about what’s going to happen next, what’s going to go wrong next etc.
But it seems we’re back in the thick of it and all the emotions of the past 4 years came flooding back in that consultation room. How much do we need to keep putting ourselves through?
Once I’d calmed down, I had to reflect on what happened and what I could learn from my experience to make the last few weeks of pregnancy and the birth as enjoyable as possible and less frantic. These are the things I came up with:
- I’m so incredibly lucky to still be in the position of being pregnant
- I’ve dealt with and not really suffered from pretty much all the fertility drugs going so what’s another little daily injection added to the mix??
- There’s not really been anything natural about this pregnancy so far, so why the stress about continuing intervention?
- Needing additional intervention is not a failure by my body – it doesn’t make me less capable to grow a healthy baby
- Once the baby arrives I won’t care about any of it!!
I think this situation is often replayed in other aspects of our lives too – when we’re faced with the overwhelming journey we’re on and life falls apart in another area too it can all be too much but we need to keep that perspective going, find the learnings, find the positives and strength to keep going.
Your fertility journey shapes you forever and I hope motherhood will do the same.