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Infertility sucks, doesn’t it?
I don’t really think that covers it, but there aren’t enough words for how awful infertility is. Anyone who’s been through it (or is currently going through it) will agree with me, I’m sure. It’s like your whole world is turned upside down and something that the everyone around you thinks is easy, suddenly becomes impossible and completely out of your reach.
If I’m honest, my fertility wasn’t something I really thought about very much when I was younger. Does anyone?? I always assumed that I would have children, but I wasn’t in a rush. I first met Mr Becca when I was 18, but we didn’t get together until 3 years later. And then we were just too busy being young and in love and all that jazz. Then Mr Becca went back to Uni and, before we knew it, we were in our late 20s and only just talking about getting married. Yes. He made me wait 6.5 years before popping the question!!
Once we got to that point, my biological clock was ticking like Big Ben.
Suddenly, “one day” became “right now, please!” Poor Mr Becca… he didn’t know what hit him. I “broke the news” over dinner at The Harvester. Can you imagine? He’s tucking into his free salad, completely unaware of the bomb that’s about to go off. “I want to have a baby”. It’s not like we hadn’t talked about it before. We’d actually agreed that we would start a family after I turned 30. I was not 30 when I suggested we go out for dinner, so that he would have to stay calm when I told him I didn’t want to wait anymore.
I won’t tell you how that conversation went, but it basically lasted for about 3 months. And then I came off the pill.
Fast forward a year and still no pregnancy. If you don’t already know what happened after that, you can read about my journey here.
So let’s talk about infertility and mental health.
I’ve talked a lot about mental health and I’ve even talked about some of the mental health difficulties I experienced during our IVF journey. But I don’t think infertility and mental health is talked about enough. Both infertility and mental health have this huge stigma attached to them. They’re both things that people often feel like they can’t talk openly about. So, when you’re going through both, it can be incredibly isolating.
When we were referred to our IVF clinic, we were told that there was a counsellor on site and that we would be entitled to 3 sessions per cycle. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t need to use those sessions. Despite my history of depression and anxiety, I thought I’d be OK. I thought I’d be able to handle it. I was so very wrong.
Even though I had lots of support and plenty of people around me, I felt completely alone.
I felt like I couldn’t fully open up about how hard it was for me, because I was worried that they’d say I wasn’t well enough to go through treatment. In hindsight, that sounds stupid. But, at the time, I was convinced (especially after our second failed cycle) that they would say I had to stop having treatment to start taking medication. (Not true).
I should have just taken advantage of the counselling sessions from the beginning, because they were so helpful when I finally admitted that I needed them.
There are just so many emotions involved with infertility and IVF. It’s really hard to process them all, especially when there’s so much going on. Trying to deal with it all on your own is just crazy.
And yet, some people have no choice
I was very lucky. When I was bottling everything up, it wasn’t because I didn’t have anyone to support me. I was surrounded by people who cared about me and would have been there for me, if I’d let them.
I can’t imagine how hard it must be for people who aren’t that lucky, who really are doing it all on their own.
That’s why I’m so open about what I went through to get my twins now. If reading my story makes just one person feel less alone or more able to get the support they need, it will be worth it.
I don’t know anyone who has breezed through infertility and/or IVF without struggling at least a little bit
Infertility and mental health problems seem to go hand in hand. So, please, if you’re struggling, talk to someone. Anyone. If not family or friends, find out what support is available through your GP or fertility clinic. Know that you are not alone. And admitting that you need extra help and support will not make anyone think any less of you. No one that matters, anyway!
It’s OK to admit that you can’t do it on your own. Infertility is the hardest thing I’ve ever lived through. It became much easier when I finally opened up and asked for help.