Anna (UK): It's all about love
I love my husband and want to leave a legacy of that love behind. My heart breaks a little more each time I think of the future and the nest that was never filled. We both work hard and have lots to give. Between us, we have four nephews and many Godchildren, so we are very aware of the work involved.
From a young age, I have been a carer and adulted more days than not. In work and amongst friends, I’ve often been referred to as a ‘mother hen’ and, with people who didn’t know better, it has, on occasion, been assumed that I was in fact a mum.
Every day, countless times a day, the lack of a child in our lives impacts me in some way. Even when I’m watching television, almost every advert is geared to a perfect family or grandparents with their families .... you can’t escape that hurt and you carry it with you every minute of the day.
What if I don’t ever have that family or if I’m never a parent? I won’t be a grandparent. How will I ever cope?
I’ve always wanted nothing more than to get married and have a family. Through my recent counselling, I’ve come to realise that I truly believe, because of my own upbringing, my desire for a family of my own means more to me than it would have otherwise. It is the desire to have that ideal scenario, which to me would be Mum, Dad and 2.4 children (is that still a thing?).
It’s the most natural thing in the world for women to want to have children and for men to provide. I met my husband later in life at 31, but I was not really concerned that I would have any issues conceiving. As I’m sure like most encountering fertility issues, I just assumed I’d fall pregnant straight away; maybe on my honeymoon, as my mother had.
We had a lovely honeymoon and I contented myself with my fur babies upon our return home. After a year of trying, and because I was over 30, we sought out a referral to the specialists. All clear and all present and correct was the verdict and just try to relax and keep trying.
Well life isn’t meant to be easy and we had some personal stresses along the way as most do. I put my faith in time and trying to relax and enjoy life. Over the years though the pressure mounted and the anxiety started to build. I distanced myself from people who I didn’t need in my life anymore and started to withdraw from baby showers and lunches with mums who moaned about their kids, even some that had struggled to conceive themselves and knew what I was going through.
The anxiety that I’ve endured has been overwhelming and, although I’m told everyone understands, they simply can’t. I have tried to cope by withdrawing, but the world is moving and progressing around us, and here we are in our limbo. How can people understand? I don’t want them to. I have friends who have sadly miscarried or had still births and my heart breaks and I feel an overwhelming sadness for them. Can it be as bad to fall pregnant and lose a child as to try and try and try (for five years), not even having the opportunity to carry one? I have grieved for a child(ren) who never was.
I am now facing a second round of ICSI (we had our first in late 2017 - two eggs fertilised but were of low quality and they didn’t succeed) after the NHS sent me away with unexplained infertility. Last year, at the juncture of another almost breaking point, my Doctor suggested a review at a private clinic. I would say it was worth every penny, as we found out that at the age of 38, young some might say, I have the eggs of a 44-year-old and counting .... and they suggested a simple supplement to help make the wee swimmers a bit more able (remember the NHS told us there was nothing wrong). I am pleased that we now have an explanation and some hope (although wonder if we would have had more had we known of these issues sooner). I still can’t help feeling cheated with the cards we have been dealt (to quote the words of the fertility doctor).
I can advise of the best two things I’ve done to help myself, because you need to look after yourself through all of this. The first was to find an amazing acupuncturist who helped me in more ways than I can explain; she genuinely cares and understands, she wanted to ease my anxiety and did. The other was finding the TTC/IVF/ICSI community on Instagram, who welcomed me and allowed me to speak about what I’m feeling to people that understand and can empathise. It feels good to not be locking those thoughts and feelings away. Maybe it can help others and allow them to feel positive about what they are going through - it’s what we all need to help us keep going.
I’m going to end on the thought that we all know but can lose focus of all too easily: it takes only one egg and sperm .... and at the end of our journey that’s all I desire .... a child to love x
I hope in my heart I can leave this world fulfilled and loved x Please, I hope by having a child x
Sharing my best wishes and hope for all who pass by my journey xx