We’ve just reached the 2-year mark of TTC. I sometimes have to sit back and think about this as it doesn’t feel real. I know it’s happening to us and I feel the grief every month but it’s almost like I can’t process that it’s our reality and I have to remind myself that this is our story and not just one I’m hearing about someone else.
I have to remind myself that this is our story and not just one I’m hearing about someone else.
Being naive, I never thought we would be in this situation. I’m 33, my boyfriend 39 and we’re both really healthy; exercising regularly, eating well; prioritising sleep; I hadn’t been on birth control for 10 years and my cycle was regular as clockwork. We talked about starting a family for years and waited until the time was “right” with jobs and life (a decision I now look back on with a bit of regret) but we knew we were going to stay trying in December 2018. After a holiday to South-East Asia in August, we were so excited and hopeful but still, we knew it could take some time. We told no one and loved the fact that it was our lovely little secret.
After the first few months of disappointment, I was the first to start getting anxious about the situation. I started having acupuncture which I still have today and love, changed up my beauty regime to make sure there were no toxins going into my body unnoticed and just paid attention to living a healthy lifestyle. This helps me feel like I have control over the situation as if I can ensure I’m eating well etc then I’m doing what I can to help. However, I did a little too much google searching on how to help to get pregnant. I started seeing warnings about workouts and as someone who has always been active, I started questioning my activity levels and reduced the intensity during the luteal phase. After a few months, this started to impact my weight. I’m still slim and healthy but it definitely knocked my confidence, especially during a holiday in the summer. I feel better when I’m active so I now listen to my body and exercise and eat when and what I want.
After around 6-8months I realised my whole life was on hold, waiting for that positive line on a pregnancy test. It was around this time that I told a couple of close friends and family. They were all incredibly supportive and hopeful for us that it would work out. It was also around this time that a lot of my friends were having babies or announcing pregnancies. I cannot express how happy I was and am for every single one of them but I feel such a sense of longing and sadness that it hasn’t happened for us yet. I feel left behind and the sense of longing is unbearable. I feel stuck in our situation.
After around 6-8months I realised my whole life was on hold, waiting for that positive line on a pregnancy test.
At this time I was working as a teacher. I was well-thought-of and given a promotion which involved a lot of change. Everything in my body was telling me this was not what I needed right now but my mind was conflicted. What if I was never lucky enough to get pregnant and I kept putting my life on hold? I considered explaining that I was TTC to those making the decisions but after trying for 6-8 months I didn’t feel like I could be honest about the situation. I’m quite a private person anyway and I realised at that point that fertility struggles are such a taboo subject and that makes it even worse. I have told a select few family members and friends about what we’re going through and although they’ve been incredibly supportive I don’t feel like there is anyone I know who understands. I get comments like “relax and it will happen”, “have you tried …” which suggests it’s something we’re doing wrong and believe me I have tried everything. or comments like “do you want kids?” from those who don’t know. It hurts. It feels so strange though to be going through something so big in your private life and on the outside, to the rest of the world, everything seems fine. It’s exhausting at times.
The end of 2019 was tough. I really struggled in my new role and stress was an issue. I had a strong feeling that I was supposed to be a mother by then and my job wasn’t helping. I made the conscious decision to get out of teaching after many years and worked hard on applying for other jobs. As we approached the one year mark, we also went to our GP to see what our options were for our fertility struggles. After initial blood tests we were told there could be issues with both of us and I will never forget sitting on my stairs sobbing as I spoke to a GP receptionist who told me my progesterone level was “abnormal”. I had a realisation that we might never have children and that broke my heart. It was around this time that I started seeing a counsellor who helped me talk through my thoughts and feelings and made me see that they were valid.
We got an appointment at our local fertility clinic in late January and tried to focus on being positive until then. We stopped putting our lives on hold. I got a new job to start a few months into 2020 and we got a puppy (a decision we did not take lightly and waited 6 months for) which helped us so much. Our little girl; our fur baby is by no means a baby replacement but she gives my life meaning and purpose. We love nothing more than walking her and spending time with her and she makes me smile so much. Every month when I find out it hasn’t worked, she’s there, tail wagging and so happy to see me and that fills my heart with so much love.
I made the decision to come off social media in the new year. I still haven’t gone back onto Facebook but I found a way to going the fertility group without seeing any other part of my profile. This has really helped and getting answers to questions from people going through the same thing has been very reassuring. I’ve also been attending some of the support groups via zoom. I’ve also recently come back to Instagram. Again, I felt like an awful person for being so sad seeing others with their perfect families or pregnancy announcements but It was just a lot to take in at once. January brought our appointment and with it came more tests. We were relieved to find that my results in no way were anything to worry about and scans and blood tests showed that everything was normal. My boyfriend’s sperm results were borderline but we were told there was nothing, in theory, stopping us from conceiving. We were told we would qualify for IVF treatment if we hadn’t conceived after 2 years. This gave us a renewed sense of hope if not slight frustration about why it hasn’t happened.
I get comments like “relax and it will happen”, “have you tried …” which suggests it’s something we’re doing wrong and believe me I have tried everything. or comments like “do you want kids?” from those who don’t know. It hurts.
At the start of March, we sat down and planned the year out. However, lockdown began and I am terrified that this has pushed everything back. I was supposed to start treatment this autumn and have been told it will be Easter at the earliest. We’re also saving hard as we’re so scared of a second peak of the virus stopping any new treatment and patients. We have picked out a private clinic in case this is the case but I still worry about private treatment not going ahead.
I feel lots of guilt in this process. I feel guilty at not getting pregnant and letting my boyfriend down, letting my family down who would love grandkids. Guilt that it hasn’t been as long as other people and I shouldn’t be struggling so much. Guilt that we’ve not been through losses and other people are grieving for babies that existed. It’s hard to explain it but the guilt, the hurt, the isolation, it’s a lot sometimes. This process has changed me as a person and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same. Every decision I make is related to getting pregnant and my emotions are so close to the surface.
So that’s where we are now. Being hopeful about treatment opening up, taking control of my own health and just waiting and wishing. If anything, the pandemic has made the yearning for a baby even worse as it has made everyone reevaluate the important things in life. I see families everywhere and want that so much. I would do anything to be a mum and it breaks my heart that my amazing boyfriend would be the most incredible dad in the world. I have a lot of sleepless nights where I wake up and it’s all I can think about and times when I get upset and anxious thinking of all the ‘what ifs’. I just try to think positively that there will be a happy ending to this for us and to so many others struggling right now.