The inner demons of infertility

Anxiety, shame and guilt are feelings I have battled with on my fertility journey.

Anxiety overwhelms the infertile mild. It leads you racing to figure out what you can do better next month, or reviewing what you did last month over and over again. Anxiety makes you strive for control in a situation that is beyond your control. It’s the ultimate path to insanity.

Shame appears when you have to explain that you are doing fertility treatment because something is wrong with your inherited ability to pro-create. It’s even worse when there is no official diagnosis.

Shame comes into play when people ask “why”. The shame lies in the blame. Is it him or is it you? Do you even know how to conceive? Maybe you just need to relax! 

Guilt stems from both shame and anxiety. You feel guilty for being ashamed of something you would never choose and can’t change. You feel guilty for blaming him or yourself or your genes or even God.

You attempt to ease your anxiety by identifying your needs and setting boundaries. You take the first step towards progress and they all don’t understand why you are being so selfish. Guilt steps back in.

You take the supplements, eat the diet, practice yoga, and meditate. Once in a while, you take a break. You give into that bite of chocolate or that glass of wine. You take a few days off of exercise.

You let the anxiety creep back in. You feel ashamed that you didn’t stick to the program. You feel guilty that your actions may impact your outcome. The cycle begins again.

Add pregnancy loss for a significantly more complicated equation. Intensify those feelings x1000, then intensify them again by 1,000,000. Add sorrow and grief to the mix. A real recipe for disaster.

Then, take a step back. Toss those demons aside. Throw them in a fire. Stomp them with your feet. Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself that you are human.

You are doing the best you can do – for yourself, your husband and your future children.

Infertility is beyond your control. You are being pro-active in managing the aspects of your lifestyle that are under your control.

You can do this no matter how hard each day seems.

You are strong.

You are capable.

You are almost there.

You got this.

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The good, the bad and the blame

I woke up this morning with the song Skinny Love in my head. Hadn’t heard it in a while, so I wasn’t sure why it was there.

Today has been an array of emotion, but the strongest is blame.

hoped that our fertility appointment would show that something was off with me. That way I could stop blaming my husband. Stop blaming him for not being able to give me a baby right away. Stop blaming him for being ashamed of his body for so many years. Stop blaming him for being naive. Stop blaming him for believing that not asking questions is the best way to go through life. 

Unexplained infertility is what the specialist said.

After two years of tracking my cycle, one and a half years of Naturopathic treatment, 10 months of acupuncture, two rounds of blood work and 3 ultrasounds, I’m fine.

For now, at least.

And Hubby’s semen analysis – all 3 rounds of them – are fine too.

So then what’s to blame?

Phimosis.

I haven’t been able to find much online about it’s connection to fertility, so I’m hoping my story might offer some guidance for other couples.

My husband has Phimosis a.k.a. tight foreskin.

As of right now, this little bit of extra, stubborn skin is the only barrier to us having a baby – that we know of.

Next month, I’m in for an HSG test. The specialist also offered to start follicle monitoring, but she wants us to try a few natural cycles first. There’s no reason to take drugs yet.

Overall, lots of good news.

But I can’t get rid of the pain in my heart, the frustration with the surgical wait list, and the blame that keeps wanting to surface.

So for tonight, I’m going to put Skinny Love on repeat and remind myself:

 And I told you to be patient,

And I told you to be fine,

And I told you to be balanced,

And I told you to be kind…

It will all be fine.