The Silence Of Infertility

Article written by Shannon Clark about the silence of infertility provided by Babies After 35.

I’ve had to be strong my whole life. For the most part, it has served me well, but over the past several months my strength has been tested time and time again. Since April 2014, I have been through 2 hysteroscopies, five cycles of IVF, two attempted embryos transfers, and one failed embryo transfer of the only normal embryo that was achieved out of the multiple cycles of IVF—just typing these word puts a pit in the very bottom of my stomach. I’ve had my moments, mostly at home alone, but overall I’ve soldiered on with a smile on my face. Although I have never been shy about sharing my experiences, I have largely kept my true feelings to myself. I’ve decided that for myself and for other women who are in my shoes, I need to break the silence of infertility. This is how I really feel…

I feel GUILTY…

I remember during the years of my training and career driven madness telling people that I would be OK if I didn’t have children. I was a career woman with lofty goals and a Type A, obsessive-compulsive personality who had convinced herself that a successful career in medicine would be fulfilling. I had even thought about freezing my eggs when I was 37, but never pursued it because I was too busy with my studies and wasn’t “there yet.” I realized I was totally bullshitting myself the moment I met my husband. Marrying at age 39, I knew time wasn’t on my side, but for some reason, I felt I had time. I was so wrong. I should have frozen my eggs. I should have tried to get pregnant before we married as my husband suggested instead of insisting we wait until after. I should have looked at the bigger picture instead of foolishly thinking I would never change my mind about having children. I should have…

I feel TRAPPED…

I made the decision the first year of my OB/GYN residency to become a high-risk obstetrician. I absolutely love it. To this day, I get excited every time I deliver a baby. However, being an obstetrician with infertility is not a good combination. I am around pregnancy and babies every day. I have friends and friends of friends contacting me nearly daily with questions and announcements. I am surrounded by all things pregnancy. I am constantly reminded of my situation with appointments, telephone calls, emails, injections, pills and ultrasounds that I have to somehow fit into my work schedule. I just can’t get a break. There is literally not one moment of any day when I am not thinking about it. I sometimes have to block my own situation out of my mind, which allows me to get through the day and do my job, but really doesn’t allow me to address my feelings about my own situation. No matter how hard I try, there is no escape. I feel trapped…

I feel like a FAILURE…

My sister and I were the first to graduate from high school in my family and the first to go to college. I just kept going. Over the next several years, I finished medical school, residency, and fellowship. Whatever I put my mind to I achieved. I have never really been disappointed in all my years of pursuing my dream career. I have been able to step over any road blocks along the way. Trying to have a child has been the one thing I have not been able to achieve. For the first time in my life, I have not accomplished something I wanted to do. It’s humbling. It’s sobering. It’s ego-shattering. It’s hard to stomach. After years of finding a way to reach my goals, why is this the one goal that must elude me? I have failed. I am a failure…

I feel LONELY…

When I first started my IVF journey, several of my friends were involved, interested and supportive. Sixteen months later that is no longer the case. It’s not because I don’t want to talk about it; I am very open about it. I think it’s that they don’t want to talk about it. It’s uncomfortable. They probably feel guilty for all of the “You’ll be pregnant in no time!” and “You guys are going to have beautiful babies!” comments. They probably assume I am devastated and heartbroken and just can’t talk about it. I am devastated. I am heartbroken. However, I am not crumbling into small pieces. What people don’t realize is how isolating infertility can be. I find myself trying not to bring it up because I hate seeing the uncomfortable looks on their faces. So I am contributing to the silence for the benefit of others. I have realized that no matter how much I am willing and want to talk about it, infertility is still taboo. It is literally the big childless elephant in the room. Although there are a few people who do ask and know where I am in my journey, I still feel like I am on my own. I am lonely…

I feel HOPEFUL…

Five cycles of IVF yielded one chromosomally normal embryo that did not survive the transfer this past May. I have a picture of my “could’ve been” on my nightstand. I have accepted the fact that I cannot have my own biological children, but I will never ever get over it. However, I know there is still hope. I am grateful that there are other options still available to me and a door is still open. I haven’t given up yet. I will continue to pursue my dream of becoming a mother just as I pursued my dream of becoming a doctor. My strength and Type A, obsessive-compulsive personality are serving me well through these months of tribulations. I know that in my darkest hours, I still have the guts and grit to pull myself towards that one ray of light. Hope is the one thing that can get me to where I want to be.

I feel guilty. I feel trapped. I feel like a failure. I feel lonely. But I am HOPEFUL…

#ivf #infertility #infertilitysucks #infertilityawareness #infertilitysupport 

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