Thursday, 24 November 2016

Speaking plainly (of infertility and doubt).

I have just gotten back from a wonderful 9 days in Thailand, a couple of days in Bangkok and then a week in Kamalaya.

Kamalaya was eye-wateringly expensive but I did it as a "treat yoself" thing, and to embrace the childless situation in which I have found myself.

It was worth every penny. It was absolutely magnificent. There, I felt the best I had in about 18 months.

I have a tan, but the post-holiday blues have struck, because one cannot run away from one's problems.

I was trying to think of a nice, nuanced way to write this, with clever analogies, however I have had a day where I will just put it the hell out there.

I wrote a post alluding to all of this, and it was put back into draft mode. Somebody, in a very kind and well intentioned manner, said that they hoped I had a child, as I will love them. I have no doubt that I would love a child, however one is not forthcoming. It is not that simple.

So here it is, simply:

After 2 years of trying for a baby, including a miscarriage and monthly rollercoasters and a few tantalisingly late periods. I have had my hair thin and a thick smattering of acne. I have debilitating PMS which actually meets some criteria for premenstrual dysphoric disorder. I feel so bad a few days before my period that I just want to sleep for 5 days to let it all pass. I am not so alarmed by these feelings anymore, as I know they pass, but they are still bloody unpleasant.

I am tired of it. I realised this during my time in that magnificent place. It is little wonder that I don't feel ready to do IVF.

IVF gives many a lot of hope, but it seems like a war of attrition - stimulate the ovaries (without overstimulating them), get a good crop, then inject a sperm into them, then freeze them and then test them for abnormalities, then thaw them out and stick them up the wazoo and see if they stick. At each point there is a risk of failure. Success is by no means guaranteed. It just takes all the wonder and joy out of things, for me, anyway. It's another roller coaster that I am scared about getting on.

The only narrative that is out there is that the infertile woman goes automatically to IVF. There is no talk of stopping and having a think about things, because the time is a'tickin! There is the narrative about the woman who was desperate for a child and went through dozens of cycles of IVF and then JOY!

I have always had misgivings about doing IVF, and they have not disappeared now the prospect is increasingly real. Rather than push these misgivings to the side, I actually have had a think about them (and dropped a few dollars in the therapist's office).

Mostly, I have had to have a good hard think about why I wanted to have a child. To talk about this in a safe environment. It is hard to talk through things with others, as the response generally is "oh go through with it, you will love having children, or you don't want to regret not having a child". These are undoubtedly well-intentioned but not very helpful for me.

Had the pregnancy proceeded, I would have embraced it without too much thought and been buoyed by lots of lovely happy hormones. However, the requirement to mix up a little human in a test tube, for me, has forced me to consider things. It is not a comfortable process, and, without going into any detail about the thought processes, it is one I am still struggling with. It is hard. I have also started to think about a life without a child, and what that might look like.

Anyway, I just wanted to get that offa my chest.

I have learned from all this a way to respond to people who are having a tough time.

The only way is to say "that's shit. I am really sorry" +/- "want a wine/chocolate/cuddle/diamond ring"