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The Loneliness of Infertility

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Two years ago, I didn’t know much about infertility. The extent of my knowledge came from Charlotte York in “Sex and the City” and the first five minutes of the film “Up.” I certainly never thought it would apply to me. I’d spent most of my 20s trying to prevent pregnancy and thought when I wanted a child, when we were ready, it would just happen. Two years later, it still hasn’t.

I never expected the impact that trying to conceive would have on my life. Without a doubt, it affects every single part of it. It has changed me as a person, and sadly, not necessarily for the better. When you desperately want something, it’s natural to get jealous sometimes. I have lusted after handbags and holidays, of course. But I had never experienced the bitter body snatcher of resentment that was about to invade me.

For the first year or so, we kept our baby-making plans to ourselves. Fueled by hope, there didn’t seem any point in telling people we were struggling — it would just happen next month, right? But at some point down the road, I reached a place where I knew something wasn’t right and began confiding in friends. They were sympathetic, of course, but didn’t fully understand. People don’t realize what it’s like to grieve for a family that has never existed.

It is lonely. I feel like I can’t grieve in public. Sometimes at work, I’d have a little cry in the toilet when my period arrived that month, but I’d never have admitted what was really wrong had anyone caught me (luckily they never did.) It feels like most people might not want to know. It’s personal, and it might be “icky” to some, and people generally don’t know what to say. And when you do talk about it, sometimes people say the most insensitive things. “Relax and it’ll happen” was a particular bugbear of mine. Sadly, relaxing does not make you ovulate or unblock your tubes. So I feel stuck – I don’t want to talk about it, and yet I do. I need to.

In the time we’ve been trying to conceive, I’ve seen four different close friends give birth to four healthy babies. As much as I am delighted for them, and I truly am, it’s hard to be around them, because they have what I desperately want and may never have. I find myself looking at random pregnant women in the street and wondering if they “deserve” it more than I do. No one told me I would feel this way. It was never supposed to be like this.

It feels like doing a jigsaw backwards. I had a complete picture of what my life would look like. And now, bit by bit, piece by piece, it’s being taken away. The fractured picture doesn’t really make sense anymore, and the future looks quite different to how I’d planned it to be. We’ve reached the point of medical intervention now and can’t see the puzzle being completed anytime soon. And yes, my life is still very nice. I have an amazing husband and a beautiful home. Perhaps people even look at my Facebook page and wish they could have what I have. But what they can’t see is the loneliness that hides behind my made-up face. The sadness that creeps in to my every day. I am broken. Incomplete. The final puzzle piece existing only in my mind. For now.

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Thinkstock image by StockPhotosArt

Originally published: October 31, 2017
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