Infertility can’t be cured by “just relaxing” (which seems to be the go-to response when you tell someone you’re having trouble getting pregnant). On the contrary, it’s often a long road to success. Here are some of the hardest aspects of having fertility treatments based on my experience.
It’s so unfair. You feel like you’ve been handed the worst hand in life and you can’t make sense of it. You wonder what you’ve done to deserve it; maybe it’s bad karma or something. It seems like almost everyone you know gets pregnant while you’re trying, even people like your neighbor’s daughter with drug issues that can’t possibly care for a child. It was frustrating to me because I knew that my child would have the most loving and caring parents.
Not many people understand. About 10% of women ages 15-44 have trouble getting or staying pregnant. You can find others in the same boat you’re in, but 90% of women have no idea what it’s like. Also, most parents and people from older generations have no clue what fertility treatments entail and definitely don’t understand the struggles. You don’t know unless you’ve been through it, which is understandable, but it makes us infertile ones feel alone because no one gets what we’re going through.
Your body goes through extreme physical changes. To increase my chances of getting pregnant, my doctor had me gain weight because more body fat can help (to a certain point, of course). Once I started injections for treatments, I packed on even more weight. It’s normal for this to happen, but it wasn’t easy. I’ve always taken good care of my body, so it was really hard feeling unhealthy. Also, the injections I had to do in my butt left pockets of fluid and painful numb spots that took forever to diminish. My body didn’t feel like my own anymore.
Fertility treatments make you sick too. Not only does your body change physically, you feel ill as well from the drugs. For example, the injections for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments are meant to force your body to produce as many eggs as possible. My ovaries were put into overdrive, and it caused me to feel nauseous, dizzy and bloated. My body felt destroyed already, and I wasn’t even pregnant yet.
You feel like the biggest failure as a woman and wife. Your body is meant to reproduce, and when it can’t, you feel worthless and like you’re a failure of a woman. My husband was so supportive and never made me feel bad, but I couldn’t help but think these things. I knew it was my fault we couldn’t have children and I felt like he deserved someone who could be a real wife.
The financial toll is a huge burden and makes you feel so guilty. Our insurance didn’t cover any of my treatments because according to them, it’s not a medical necessity. Maybe it isn’t, but it should be. Every couple deserves to have children if they want them and can take care of them. Having to pay for tens of thousands of dollars in treatments put a big financial strain on us. I felt like I robbed my family of money that we didn’t have. If I were a normal woman, we would’ve been so much better off.
It makes you a miserable person. Every day that goes by that you’re not pregnant is torture, so it’s pretty much all that you can think about. You become depressed and a shell of the person you used to be. People want to be around you less. Life didn’t seem as good as it once was. This put a strain on my friendships and on my relationship.
It can affect your career. Your boss might not be as understanding as you want. Because of constant doctor’s appointments, procedures, and surgeries, you may have to miss work quite a bit. Your boss may think you’re slacking and not making work a priority, and you might be penalized for it. What you’re going through is difficult enough already, so you feel even worse when it affects other aspects of your life too.
The pain doesn’t end when it’s over. I had two children via IVF. I feel so lucky because not every woman has a positive outcome. Some try for many years without any luck. Even though I’m happy, the pain is always fresh in my mind. I still feel a stab when someone gets pregnant by accident or after trying for five seconds. I can’t imagine what women who are never successful must deal with. I have a friend who went through fertility treatments 20 years ago and still feels the pain of what she went through, so I don’t think my wounds will ever heal completely.
It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I haven’t had it that rough, but I’ve been through some hard things in my life. My parents divorced when I was young, and we were poor. My mother was an alcoholic too, which wasn’t easy. Going through fertility treatments was harder than all of it. However, I’d go through it all again because it gave me two amazing children. All the suffering was worth it, and I’ll forever be grateful.
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