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August 03, 2016

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Don't Count Your Eggs

Thanks for all the comments and support of each other. Jojo-- I'm so glad you are feeling proud, because you should. But I also get feeling pretty frustrated. 8 cycles? You are a true warrior my friend. I'm so sorry for your losses and that the process is seemingly never ending and send so much love and hope that things will start falling into place soon. Pamela. Ugh. I don't even know what to say. You have a right to your pity party and it sucks. It all just sucks. I'm so sorry and send you lots of love. Yvonne-- 8 years? Double ugh. People really do say the dumbest things sometimes, it can be really hard to just be in the world with other people. Thats' why we feel like we're on an Island, huh? C, you're super insightful about all this. Thanks for you comment. Jen, you too! The shame that our bodies aren't working can be really strong, but it's interested people don't often feel shame if they are ill... the fertility stuff is so specific...and Heather-- I'm sorry to hear your news. That moment waiting for the ultrasound... waiting to hear, it's so paralyzing. I wish you lots of healing.

Heather

I love the post and all of the comments in response - I have felt all of these things before and now during this process...I have widened the circle a little more, but generally I keep it close to the vest. How do I tell a co-worker, yes I look tired because I found out this morning that our hopeful fetal pole didn't have a heartbeat? It's exhausting already without then feeling I have to deal with other people's emotions or discomfort. I tell myself I will share more once a healthy baby is in our arms, but I really won't know until I get there.

Yvonne

Yeah this a great post Maya & cuts to the heart of the issue for me - we're almost 8 years on this road now & i think its very obvious to friends&family that we are having difficulties. Although i know i want to be a mother for lots of reasons & have been aware of that desire since i was a little girl i am also very aware of the cultural & societal elements to it also. It brings up the teenage stuff for me of wanting to fit in & not standing on the outside feeling different, feeling not good enough etc.Also i have been thinking lately about the evolutionary part of it all& what being a woman & a man means & when you boil it all down we are here to reproduce& keep the human race going so no wonder it leads to feelings of shame when there are difficulties. I have shared information about our story with a good few people & unfortunately the reaction is often judgemental & full of advice like 'just relax' or 'why dont you just adopt'!!!!ahhhhhhh!!!i think people who havent been through it tend to overlook the emotional process involved in coming to terms with infertility so that you can learn to relax or grieve fully for your genetics so that adoption becomes an option you are ready to talk about etc. people often make jokes about it too, my husband doesnt tell anyone& gets it much more than me,stuff like 'no kids yet...you must be firing blanks' & although his sperm are great&its an egg issue for us this really upsets him (although the most recent guy to say this was reprimanded by his wife&he later mumbled an apology!!lol!!). It is lovely to talk to people who empathise & support & i think the risk of maybe getting a judgemental comment is worth it when you connect with that fantastically supportive person. Also i talk about it because i want people to be more aware of it as an issue because it is so often hidden&hopefully lessen the stigma somewhat. Also last year in Ireland a law was passed that all egg & sperm donor babies concieved from then had to be told about their origins so im sure that in 20/30 years it will be much differentthan it is now.

C

This is a great post. I was on the "other side" first, getting pregnant with our daughter on first try. If someone had infertility I would have acted sympathetic enough but I think inside I would have been judging, or at least thinking, that won't happen to me, I'm healthy. Which is not nice to say the least. And would I even have bothered to Google ivf to try to understand what it involves? Maybe not. I'm ashamed to think of how unsympathetic I might have been. So I try not to expect much of others. But when you are in the thick of it, like poor Pamela, if you have a certain personality type, you just have to share. It's such misery, it takes over your thoughts all day, of course you share. Then you try not to be touchy about people's responses but of course you're touchy...you're hurting...only thing similar is mental health disorders, they also are poorly received by others...

Pamela

There's also just how incredibly naive I used to be. "Oh, that'll never happen to me. I'm going to start trying in my early thirties, what could possibly go wrong? Sucks for other people, but we're young and healthy and everything'll surely come up rainbows."

Well, for most people, that's true. Things work out just fine. And they get to keep their beautiful naivete. But suddenly I'm as alien to them as other couples with these issues used to be to me. And I'm abashed at my earlier arrogance and resentful of people who never had to deal with the crash-down and just look at us out of the corner of their eye and cringe about how much it must suck to be us.

That's not who I ever expected to be. And yet I am. And most people have been pretty cool about it, but you know a lot of them are just kinda hoping you don't bring the subject up, because no one really knows what to say about it. (They'd much rather talk about how cool parenthood is!)

Instead of joining their life of cutesie Facebook posts and first steps and first words and first days of school, I'm perpetually left behind, like the universe picked its teams and not only did it pick us last, it may never pick us at all. (I was picked on a lot in middle school -- I hoped those years were over.)

We just came off a really tough failure. I was stuck in Turkey six weeks instead of two due to polyps, and so many things went wrong, and the doctor was an ass and my roommates drove me crazy and there was no air conditioning and we spent maybe $5000 all told (after spending $10,000 last summer), and it's all for absolutely nothing. That could have been almost a down payment on a house, and it was just for nothing.

And I've always been an overachiever, so the sting of failure, over and over and over, cuts pretty deep. I feel trapped in a body that won't cooperate and stuck in amber, spinning my wheels, because it's hard to make plans when you don't know when or if you'll ever have kids or how the hell much more you'll have to think about spending to get them. (Nearly half our savings has already gone up in smoke.) We're three years in, and we have no idea how deep this rabbit hole goes.

And worst of all it's not just me going through this, but also my sweet husband feeling just as crushed as I do.

Put it all together, stir it around, and it's a pretty heady brew of just feeling like crap and not wanting to be alone but also not wanting to bother anyone else about it.

(Sorry -- having a bit of a pity party this week.)

Jojo

I felt that terrible shame for a long time. Although it felt more like personal failure than anything else. But now- here I am 8+ failed IVF cycles and 3 early miscarriages but that sense of failure has miraculously turned to pride and self worth. Pride because I have endured all of it and still have hope and my relentless joy. Self worth because I have been tested over and over but will not break. Thank you for such a thoughtful post.

Jen Noonan

This topic is one that needs to be discussed more often. I personally feel that many, MANY people feel ashamed not only that their bodies aren't "working properly," but that they cannot achieve "society's expectations." They don't feel worthy. Not good enough. Failures. And this is why we don't initially (or ever) speak out. Shame. Embarrassment. "What will people think of me if I can't procreate in a normal, short amount of time? If I can't have a biological child?" Better stay hush about it because of what people might think. It's awful. I'm so passionate about this subject, and have been wanting to blog about it (and I will), so thank you for going there!

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