National Fertility Awareness Week – and why wouldn’t I talk about it 24/7?!
In the last couple of years we’ve started seeing some real breakthroughs with my other favourite topic – the taboo of discussing mental health – thank goodness! – but why is fertility the new taboo? Why wouldn’t we talk about it and share our experiences? It’s 2018 and while it’s still not guaranteed, science is amazing; there are some incredible clinics out there (with some even more incredible teams!) who will try their very best to get you pregnant if you’re struggling. We no longer live in an age where if 24/7 hanky panky isn’t getting you pregnant then your chance to reproduce is non existent – fertility clinics everywhere may be able to help.
In the U.K., 1 in 7 couples have problems conceiving. Before I started writing/opening up about our struggle, I didn’t know of a single other person having to go through such hell to conceive their much longed for family. Heartbreakingly, left right and centre, everyone seemed to just be able to conceive naturally.. normally, just like you’re told will happen in school. Every month I would wonder “why not us” and “when?”, “what did we need to do?”. It was so, so painful and meant I was unknowingly adding more pressure to my already overloaded mind. And all for what? I am proud to say we went through it all to conceive. I’m not ashamed at all – it’s part of our life, our story, our path. We wanted nothing more than our own family and we were prepared to do everything it took to get there. Whenever I am asked about the baby I proudly announce it is IVF conceived – we (I) needed that little bit of extra help, and unbelievably, it worked.
Now I know of 8 other couples – and only two of them have the same “reasons” for infertility.
I do, however, entirely appreciate why people keep scthum. If you aren’t feeling entirely emasculated because your little swimmers aren’t up to the task or like a failure of a woman because you can’t get pregnant, (and you should NOT feel like that by any means – infertility is no ones fault) then there is also a whole other world of not wanting to announce to everyone that you’re trying/struggling because we live in an age where [some] arsehole employers may well restrict your chances of promotion because you’ll just go off on maternity leave 🙄. We live in a world where people auto-judge. It’s a toughy – but I’d urge anyone to at least seek someone out for help/support/advice… I am so so pleased that since James and I have been through 3.5 years of infertility, I’ve had friends/old friends/colleagues/random strangers on Instagram/Twitter messaging me for advice. I love that I’ve been able to help or even just educate others. And, while I’m no expert, I love to help in any way I can, from my “been there, done that” years of being an “expert patient” 😉. And I’m not alone – there is a small army of infertile couples (largely women) out there on social media who are more than happy to answer questions where they can.
Infertility is much like mental health in that we need to just reach out for help in the same way as we would if we were to have other physical illnesses. There is often no rhyme or reason why some of us seem to struggle to conceive, whilst others seem to do so just by looking at their partners. Battling infertility is heartbreaking – don’t do it alone.