“You have plenty of time to try to get pregnant!”
That statement still makes me shudder and quiver with anger and regret.
This time last year, I was in a very dark place when I penned my thoughts surrounding Infertility Awareness Week. I was six months out from my last failed donor IVF cycle- THE last cycle I would ever embark on.
I wondered if I could ever capture happiness again.
Looking back, I am still mired in regret. Let’s be honest here… when you are in the muck of infertility’s grip it’s very hard to see forward into the future or assess the past. It’s hard enough to live in the present. The difference for me between this year and last year is time. Time and space to think about the actions I’ve taken on my own infertility journey with a fresh perspective.
Did I do enough? Yes, I would say I did. I exhausted every medical procedure from IUI to IVF to IVF with donor eggs. I drained my savings. I had five miscarriages along the seven years, countless medical procedures to attempt to diagnose and “fix” what was wrong only to end with no success and a still “unexplained” diagnosis.
But I tried.
My biggest regret is that I did not educate myself early enough around the concept of fertility.
The biggest myth that still haunts me?
That I thought I had time.
…that I could put off having children to grow my career and invest in individual pursuits. That there was no expiration date on my fertility.
This myth sadly perpetuated by well-meaning (but unfounded) opinions from our own social circles that it was okay to wait to build a family.
…from the Media, that carried the same message that “older” moms are becoming the”new normal”.
…even our own doctors often failed us by not stressing the time clock was indeed limited. That female fertility starts a precipitous decline after age 27. That eggs have a “shelf-life”.
My body failed me… not on purpose but rather by nature.
I am the ugly side of infertility.
I am not the happy-ending to the fairytale.
But it’s not all bad.
Ironically, I now consider myself a self-taught expert on the subject of fertility, or lack of it. Because the journey did not end in the way I imagined, I share my knowledge with anyone that will listen. I bust the myths around fertility every day to at least save another from walking a similar path. There is no sugar-coating the truth.
This is the only positive way I’ve found to channel the emotions I still have, and always will carry with me.
Fertility is NOT forever.
But we can make a difference in understanding and acknowledging it.
Understand infertility: Visit Resolve.
National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is April 24th through April 30th: Take Charge.