It’s been just over a week since I started documenting my IVF journey again, and it has been great to connect with some of the other women/IVF-ers on this platform (and other writers in general), reading their stories and poetry, looking at pictures of their children, husbands, their everyday lives…
It begs the question of why I am not terribly visible on my own blog. Heck, I didn’t even tell my sister (who I tell everything) about this blog until yesterday.
Do I have the right to complain about the lack of dialogue and support for women going through this torture, yet be unwilling to step up and be the “Face of (In)Fertility” discourse myself? Shouldn’t I be out there, rallying behind my tribe, telling my story, bringing to the fore how hospitals and doctors really don’t know what to do with us, speaking up for the husbands who find themselves in the war zone of hormones, plastic cups, and disappointment?
It’s especially important because I come from both a country and community that sorely lacks in (in)fertility support. My country favours the fertile – especially the young fertile – with options like egg freezing, surrogacy and even PGS-testing out of reach. IVF is frightfully expensive – and made even more so each time you fail, forcing serious contemplation over whether your hopefulness is delusional. My community, I suspect, blames the women who missed the boat.
We need more warriors, surely.
I think about that a lot in the many hours I spend in the waiting room of my IVF doctor. He shares it with other OBGYNs and it is filled with children’s toys and (aspirational?) pictures of happy mums and grinning babies. The women there know – by where one sits – exactly who is pregnant, and who is there to buy tickets for the pregnancy lottery. Could it be more discrete? More kind? Maybe.
When my ectopic pregnancy ruptured my tube at the start of last year, I had the good fortune (??) of already being at a hospital, a surgery planned for hours later when methotrexate had failed to stop my growing foetus in her tracks. It was a top maternity hospital. Yet, the nurses were painfully slow to react and had to be (loudly) reminded by my family that this was not only an emergency, but the fate of my fertility was delicately hanging in the balance. Post-surgery – and despite the fact that the hospital was not full – I was taken to the nursery floor for recovery. A few hours later, a mother and her newborn were brought into the same room. Bad training and a lack of sensitivity, perhaps.
As I grieved, I came up with elaborate ideas emails I would send my doctor, the hospital, the media, even the health authorities! I was hurt and angry, and I would be heard because this should not happen to anyone else! Truth – I have not sent them. Maybe I will one day…
Which brings me back to anonymity. Perhaps part of the problem stems from the fact that to most people out there, we’re the couple that does what we want when we want (how little they know). We can travel at the drop of a hat. We are both doing well in our chosen fields, and work hard. We don’t discuss our issues outside of our relationship, and only close family members are aware of the battles we fight. We have hard shells. Most conclude that we don’t want children.
No one actually knows our truths. And I’m pretty sure it will ruin the illusion.
Perhaps, in time, I will drop my cover. But I’m guessing that it won’t be before I have a winning pregnancy lottery ticket in hand. Then, I will probably also send off those letters.
Note to self: Stop being so contemplative and embrace the hopeful/sunny/funny thing soon… you’re getting predictable.