I was only 26
years old when that word was first used to describe me: infertile. I was
basically still a child, at least in my mind, one who was supposed to have all
the time in the world to figure out the big stuff.
Every doctor I
spoke to pointed to my age as a positive. “You’re young,” they all said. “All
it will take is one good egg. Your age will be in your side. We’ll get you
I was 27 years
old when I first embarked upon IVF, told that pregnancy had become a now-or-never proposition for me. I was single. None of this was ideal. But I had known
all my life that I wanted to be a mother. If this was my only chance, I
couldn’t lose it.
Only, I did.
consultations with social workers, tens of thousands of dollars down the drain
and self-administered shots directly into my backside … none of it worked. By 28
years old, I had two failed IVF cycles under my belt, and I knew that I would
never carry a child beneath my heart.
A lot of women
will give it more attempts than that. I have heard of those who will go through eight, nine, 10 and even more failed cycles before walking away. I wasn’t one of them.
I knew I couldn’t go any further down that path. My heart was broken into 1,000
different pieces, my funds were completely tapped and my body couldn’t take
I was done.
because I didn’t want it enough, but because I honestly couldn’t endure any
more. The strongest thing for me, the healthiest option, was to accept defeat
and walk away.
I have never
been a quitter. My entire life, I have been someone who fights. But in this
situation, because of the sequence of events and the gut feeling I now had that
none of it would ever work, I knew that I had to be done.
there was peace to be found in making that decision, there was also a soul-crushing reality to face.
The future I
had once pictured for myself would now be drastically and forever altered.
It is estimated that 1 in 8 people will struggle with infertility at some point in their lives.
later and with my beautiful daughter now by my side through the miracle of
adoption, I have more clarity surrounding my infertility than I ever did before.
I understand why I had to endure all that I did, and I get where it was all
leading me to.
I can even
honestly say that I would do it all again 100 times over, so long as the end
result would always be finding my way back to her.
little girl; the beam of light that brightened up even the darkest corners of
But as happy
and as at peace as I am today, infertility is always lingering in the
background. It is a piece of me that I cannot escape. The conversation I always
fear having with the new men who may enter my life, the emptiness I forever
feel in the space where I wish I had been able to carry and nurture my daughter
from the start, and the tears that have never fully been wiped away. It was
this isolation and pain, this loss and sense of being so alone that marred
those years of my life I will never get back.
the space on my closet floor where I collapsed after my first failed IVF cycle,
unsure of how I would ever survive the searing pain I was sure must be visible
to the world.
the jealousy I try to push down whenever a close friend announces a pregnancy,
or complains about the morning sickness and stretch marks that I will never
the picture of my embryos, pictures that I have never been able to get rid of; the
embryos created during those IVF cycles that never amounted to anything beyond the
babies that would never be.
even the PTSD I still experience when someone I care for opens up to me about
her own struggles to conceive, looking for an understanding ear and the voice
of someone who has “been there.” What she doesn't see is the way I cower, even
as I attempt to support, like a car backfiring, sending me right back to the place I
never wanted to be.
The dark place
I worked so hard to dig myself out of.
Infertility Awareness week is April 20 to 26. I speak
out about my experiences, even though it sometimes feels like picking at a scab
I just wish would heal, because I realize there are so many others who feel as
though they haven’t yet found their voices.
I am forever
astounded by the people who come out of their shells and begin telling me about
their own struggles when I open up about mine, like friends, neighbors, family
members—people I never realized had fought so hard to conceive or failed
every step of the way. It is estimated that 1 in 8 people will struggle with
infertility at some point in their lives.
I will never
carry a child. This is a truth I have come to terms with. And, most days, I am
in a pretty healthy place with that. I look at my daughter, and I know that I
don’t have to carry a child to love one with my whole heart.
I am a mother.
As real and whole a mother as there ever was.
infertility is still there, forever hanging on to a tiny piece of me that will
probably never be the same.