We live in a world where babies are constantly around us (or so it seems). When I was younger, I always thought you got pregnant when you were ready. Yes I’d heard of endometriosis and cervical issues but they were never discussed in terms of how it affected your ability to get pregnant. It wasn’t until I tried to conceive that it hit me: not everyone gets pregnant when they want to (even if it seems that way to outsiders!)
People are quick to talk about their pregnancy, their cravings, the names they’ve chosen but few are willing to share the how. I don’t mean “I lifted my legs in the air for 5 minutes after sex to get the sperm up the canal” (this doesn’t actually work btw) but more “we tried for 4 years before we had a full term pregnancy and consulted ob/gyns, fertility specialists, etc”. If I had heard just one person tell the honest truth about how they had conceived or struggled to conceive, maybe I would have been prepared for what was to come on my journey to potential motherhood.
I had been married a little over a year (was 27 years old) when we decided to try to get pregnant. I bought the ovulation kits, the basal thermometer, made sure my husband didn’t masturbate at all during my ovulation time to maximize the amount of sperm I was getting (and don’t act like they don’t still do it after marriage!) After a few months and no positive pregnancy tests, I reached out to my GP. I was told I had to try to conceive for a year before I could be referred to an OB. A YEAR! At that moment, it felt like an eternity but realistically at 27, I still had plenty of time on my biological clock (or so I thought). 12 negative pregnancy tests and countless ovulation kits later, still nothing. I get referred to an OB who took one look at my chart and said “there’s nothing I can do for you. You’ll have to see a fertility specialist in Toronto”. A fucking year of waiting to be told in less than 2 minutes that I was going to need professional help if I wanted a biological baby of my own. I’d always wanted kids (I was definitely the mom in our friend group) so it was a complete shock to me that I wasn’t going to be able to conceive easily.
Fast forward 5 years later and I’m still childless. I’ve had months where I’ve had my blood drawn daily to measure luteinizing hormones, procedures done to make sure my uterus was functional using a catheter and circulating water, more trans vaginal ultrasounds than I can count and still no baby. I’m ok with the fact that it’s probably going to take IUI or IVF to conceive at this point but what really hurts is the assumptions and advice I get on the daily.
The litany of things that have been said to me range from supportive to maniacal. “You’re so good with kids, you should have one!” Thanks, I’m trying. “Just don’t think so much about it and it will happen.” Oh really? Positive thoughts can cure infertility! I had no idea. By far, the worst was “some people can’t get pregnant because they aren’t meant to be parents.” You’re telling me that every person you’ve met who has a child is a good parent? I highly doubt it.
No matter the journey you take, your path to motherhood is just like you: unique. Don’t let someone else’s expectation of you and your biological clock define you. I know that once I have the baby I’ve dreamed about, this journey will only make me appreciate it that much more.
xo Guest blogger Lindsay
(Photo courtesy of the CBC)