There’s been a distinct lack of posts on here this past year (anyone noticed?!) with only six written to date. I’ve been feeling a bit indifferent and detached from writing, as much as I enjoy it, and I’ve felt less and less need to write on here. It filled a space for me before, I had lots of free time before Olivia started school, it gave me something to do while she was at nursery, napping during the day or if I just wanted to ignore her (!). It gave me some purpose and a chance to use my brain (tiny Homer Simpson brain that is). And also, with our fertility problems, it helped writing everything down, I found writing very cathartic. But now I work two days a week my time is taken up with lots of other things and the few times I’ve sat down to write, nothing has come. And also, if I’m completely honest, I’m a bit bloody bored of writing about my fertility nonsense. Quite frankly, I’ve had enough of it.
When we started trying for another baby and when we realised that things weren’t working as we’d hoped, for some reason I always had it in my mind that we would try IVF, but I’m not really sure where this thought materialised from or how it came about. Perhaps because I know a lot of people who have had it and it’s worked, perhaps because I follow lots of people on Social Media who have been through it. Maybe that’s the reason it was already implanted in my mind. Definitely one of the reasons I know for sure that made me consider it was my age – there is something akin to doom when you are a woman nudging 40 in the fertility world, think flashing klaxons going off, warning of your ovaries about to shut down. Ultimately however if I am honest, I think I thought IVF was the answer to our problems. I thought it was going to be the easy route to getting what we wanted.
Every now and then there are Social Media campaigns run in the world that is Instagram, that I like to join in with. I don’t tend to get involved or have the time for these things (too busy pretending to be busy) but two that were run before Christmas, miscarriage awareness week and fertility week, I felt I had something to contribute towards. The idea of campaigns like these is that you share a post talking about the fertility problems you are going through or have experienced and you use the relevant hashtag so people can look through all the linked posts. The overall outcome being that hopefully in sharing, it will join people together and make others feel less alone. After taking part I had a look through all the posts and read many honest and open stories. Stories from women who are desperate for a child, who have various problems that prevent them from having one naturally and whose only option is assisted help. After reading I had a bit of a lightbulb moment (well for me it’s more like someone slowly turning a switch on and off, repeatedly, for a long time) I realised that in hindsight we bowled headlong into IVF when we didn’t need to. There is nothing wrong with my husband or I per se – well, nothing that has flagged up on any kind of test. We easily conceived our first child we just frustratingly can’t conceive a second, we have unexplained secondary infertility. My point being that I realised we didn’t have to have IVF – we chose to have it. Now that I know what a stress and strain IVF is, I think (we both think) we should have waited before going down that route. There were perhaps other avenues we could have explored before IVF. Hindsight eh. Off the back of this lightbulb ping I was pondering about what I wish I could rewind the clock for and go back and tell myself. Here are six things that I wish had been on my radar four years ago.
Despite what I may think at times, I do have to remind myself that I have been and am incredibly lucky. Obviously I have Olivia and that is something that I am thankful for (even when she’s doing crazy windmill arms at me) I’m also lucky because when I had her I was able to give up work to look after her solely. This was something that was really important to me and that I will always be eternally grateful for. I’ve been at home and despite the odd dabble with work here and there I’ve just been a mum and that’s been wonderful. But, for a long time now and I mean a loooong time, my husband has been suggesting that I should go back to work. He’s not been saying that I must or that financially I need to (although he always adds ‘it would be nice’) he just tells me it would be good for me. Good for my brain – which bar tapping away on here or playing Sylvanian Families with Olivia hardly gets used these days, and it would be good for my mental health.
Infertility has frustratingly defined how I have felt over the last three years. It’s something you can’t really control and that’s quite hard to accept. You can eat well, exercise, take supplements or medication if you have something specifically wrong with you but you can’t physically control whether or not you get pregnant, it’s down to science, it’s out of your hands and at times I’ve felt incredibly helpless about it all. Couple this with IVF stress and a miscarriage and it’s all been a bit much, but recently there has been a shift, something has happened and I feel like I’ve turned a bit of a corner. I feel like some of the old me has returned. I feel like I’ve taken back some control and it’s like a small weight has been lifted.