You Don’t Know Me: The Silence of Secondary Infertility {Anonymous Stories in Motherhood}

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You don’t know me, but I am your friend, your coworker, a fellow room mom, or the woman taking a walk one night in my neighborhood. I look happy. I have a partner, a career, and a child. My life seems full–even successful. Yet, my Instagram and Facebook posts allude to nothing being “wrong.”

You don’t know that I’ve been tracking my periods for over two years now. Meticulously. When did it start? How much flow occurs each day? What symptoms am I experiencing?  I have seen my general OB/GYN and been told, “I’m fine.” After all, I had a child 1.5 years earlier. I’ve taken Letrozole, Clomid, and progesterone. 

When none of that worked, I saw a reproductive endocrinologist. No answers for me except “unexplained infertility” and possibly “age-related infertility.” I moved forward with intrauterine insemination (IUI). I quickly learned how to give myself shots in the abdomen. I grew used to vaginal ultrasounds and nurses talking about my egg follicle sizes—three IUIs with no success even though everything looked good. Adults frequently say that “looks don’t matter,”  and in my case, they are right.  

You don’t know that I saw a holistic practitioner and nutritionist. I drastically reduced my consumption of sugar, dairy, grains, and gluten. I kept a food journal for months. I began higher-quality supplements. I tracked my basal body temperature every morning. I met weekly with my practitioner and nutritionist. I tried. I really did. But still no pregnancy.

You don’t know (but maybe you’re getting the idea) that I would do practically anything to get pregnant, to have another baby, to give my child a sibling. That while I am content with my life, I feel a void. While I love my family, it still feels incomplete. When I hear pregnancy news or see a pregnant woman, I cringe on the inside. I steel myself, so I don’t give away my pain, and I force a smile.

You don’t know that my husband and I are about to incur a large amount of debt to begin IVF. That we’ll commit to shots, more relationship stress, more doctor’s appointments, and the potential of more heartbreak.

You don’t know all of this information, but sometimes I wish you did. Sometimes I want everyone to know that I am hurting. I want to shout from the rooftops, “We are trying, but it is just not happening!” 

By now, you do know me. I am your friend, your coworker, a fellow room mom, or the woman taking a walk one night in our neighborhood. I look happy. I have a partner, a career, and a child. And I have secondary infertility

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